If you're going to Brussels, you should be already quite aware that beer is the
Cimitiere d'Ixelles is known around Brussels for being one of the most lively parts of the city. Its surroundings include the three biggest university campuses in town: the vast Vub complex, the ULB la plaine and Solbosch campuses are all within 20 minutes walk from each other.
You can figure by yourself that a huge concentration of students, Asian restaurants and many necessary Belgian brasseries, make Cimitiere d’Ixelles a lively, young and appealing neighbourhood to stick around for a classical mid-week night out or for some interesting food&beer picks during the weekend.
However, I haven’t started this post to tell you about the beauties of the area, but to talk about one of its most peculiar bars: L’Atelier.
Where do I find L'Atelier?
In Brussels, you can find a plethora of activities with the same name, but here we are talking about Brussels bar at its best, in both extremes of the good and bad scale. L’Atelier is in Rue Elise, close to place de la Petite Suisse. In daylight, it is almost impossible to notice, if not for an almost invisible vertical banner coming directly from the eighties. The thing is, if you are not able to see the all-year-long Christmas lights on, you could not distinguish the garage-looking entrance from a normal garage or door. However, lately the owners have gone for a technically advanced wooden blackboard to ingeniously drag more customers to the interiors, life is easier now!
Once you overcome the obvious obstacle of knowing where this place is - and to find it - , the interior is definitely something that will stick to your mind. Dark, wooden-retro, full of beer ad boards from another era, L'Atelier is a wonderful example of how to make beer drinkers feel at ease with their main product. A war-aged piano at the entrance, an unused bar stall on the left, a not-so-good-looking door to the toilet staircase and you’re in: your eyes can wonder at the amount of bric-brac available, but will undoubtedly stick to the black boards rich of hand-written drinks available and the indefinite Christmas-like balls hanging from the ceiling. Anyways, once you choose your place, you must - and you will - see the beer list.
A special attention to beer selection
A huge wood panel covers one of the walls - almost end to end - on the right side of the bar. It lists an impressive amount of beers, divided by type of taste they boost - bitter, bittersweet, acid, etc. In addition, the bar will have rotating beers available on tap, and an impressive list of expensive and special beers specifically for connoisseurs .
If you’re in doubt ask the bartender - he will help you tasting and having a look at the 3 of 4 fridges full of bottles, precious containers of liquids difficult to find anywhere else.
No time to risk your taste buds? here’s the suggestions of what we’ve tried:
- As always, see the draught list: usually there will be triple and blond, often is the case that some IPA or Brune will be there too.
- Bottles, ask for Troubadour - we love the Magma edition, and if you look at the label you'll quickly find out why: it reads "Belgian triple - India Pale Ale". Also consider Troubadour Obscura.
- Actually, just look around the fridges, point one and ask about it - or risk it and take it, there's almost no chance that you'll be disappointed.
Take your time in this bar - sometimes it could get crowdy, but most of the times we've visited it is half-full, which translates to "no queue at the bar", which translates to "we like this bar!".
Opening times: Mon - Sat 18:00-3:00