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10 of the best Brussels cocktail bars

09:24 09/07/2018

They exist in all the colours of the rainbow, have the craziest names and are mixed with myriad ingredients. Here are 10 of the best bars to enjoy a cocktail in the city.

Life is Beautiful
This tiny bar near the canal offers a varied and interesting list of cocktails using top-quality spirits, fruit juice and fresh herbs – fancy a blend of chartreuse, coriander, lemon, grapefruit and lychee, or tequila, Campari, rum, lavender, ginger and lime? They also offer creative cocktail classes so you can learn how to whip up your own concoctions at home, and you can book the whole bar for special occasions. 161 Rue Antoine Dansaert

Humus x Hortense
The cocktail menu at this elegant spot near Flagey is short, simple and sweet. It’s a place that prides itself on local produce in its meals and its drinks, and the chef has an impressive pedigree. The cocktails are inspired by the food produced in the kitchen, using organic and natural spirits, homemade syrups and homegrown herbs. 2 Rue des Vergnies

La Pharmacie Anglaise
This place between Bozar and the Musical Instruments Museum was once, as the name suggests, a chemist’s shop. These days it’s a cocktail bar, with a beautiful, quirky interior. It’s on the expensive side, and the jury’s out on the quality of the service, but the atmosphere is something else. Reservations very much advised. 66 Coudenberg

Smoods is the restaurant/bar of the Hotel Bloom near Botanique, though they like to call it their living room. The interior architects tried to give the place its own identity by creating a variety of moods: passion, safari, bling-bling, library, bazaar, spring and flower power. Pick a cocktail from the list featuring classics, reinvented classics, champagne creations, non-alcoholic cocktails and many more. Should you get peckish, the menu offers a range of meals as well as some smaller nibbles. 250 Rue Royale

Green Lab
A short stroll from the entrance to Bois de la Cambre, Green Lab offers cocktails with a focus squarely on absinthe and gin. It puts on regular events including Thursday jazz nights in its punky industrial surroundings. 520 Avenue Louise

There’s always something going on at Floreo in the Riches Claires area of the city centre. Tucked away just off the busy Saint-Géry square, it’s the perfect spot for coffee, brunch or lunch. As the day progresses, funky Floreo gets ready for its daily dose of musical activities (ranging from tango to DJ sets), and the bartenders prepare for another round of cocktail-shaking. Pink Lady, Femme Fatale, Legend Sandy, Dry Martini or Whisky Sour: you can try them every day, and if you come during happy hour (18.00 to 21.00) you’ll get them for €5 each. 19 Rue des Riches Claires

At the city centre end of Rue Dansaert, the most fashionable part of the city, you’ll find Art Deco jazz bar L’Archiduc. It opened in 1937, and you can still see some of its original features such as the benches along the wall. L’Archiduc started putting on jazz gigs in 1953 and still has weekly concerts: blues on Mondays and after-shopping jazz on Saturdays, for instance. What better to sip to some jazzy tunes than a perfectly blended cocktail? Rum-based, champagne-based, with gin or tequila, the list is long and comprehensive. 6 Rue Dansaert

Behind the Grand’Place in the city centre, this place is another option if you love cocktails. The choice is overwhelming, with a menu featuring cold and hot cocktails, shooters and jugs. Sphinx has a terrace on the street side, and puts on music and parties every night. 20 Rue du Marché aux Fromages

The area around the Ixelles cemetery is paved with restaurants and bars, and much frequented by the many students of the neighbouring universities, VUB (Flemish) and ULB (francophone). One of the popular places to visit is Waff, best known for its mojitos and its terrace. If you come early, you can catch the happy hour, between 18.00 and 20.00. 455 Chaussée de Boondael

Madame Moustache
This is not a cocktail bar, but then it’s hard to describe what Madame Moustache exactly is. In short, if you’re up for a good time and a stiff drink, it’s the place to be. With an eclectic interior and a diverse music range (anything from Balkan beats to western and DJ sets), it’s a nightclub like no other. 5-7 Quai au Bois à Brûler

Written by Katrien Lindemans, Sally Tipper