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Enjoy live music like a local: Our pick of some of Brussels' best small concert venues
Melting pot Brussels is buzzing with live music all week long. While the big venues attract the big global names, the joy of live music often best comes across in intimate bars and clubs. Many local venues have a passion for community and invite musicians from a variety of backgrounds and genres to perform to a neighbourhood.
So if you’ve lost count how of many times you’ve set foot inside the Ancienne Belgique – and you know you’ll also find good music at Bonnefooi and L’Archiduc, here are just some of our favourite small gig venues in the city. You may even catch some new stars in the making as well some of the hottest bars and clubs in the city.
Sounds Jazz Club
Jazz cats are spoilt for choice in the capital. This no-frills bar nestled between Saint-Boniface and Place Fernand Cocq in Ixelles is arguably the best haunt in Brussels, with live jazz from local and international artists. Don’t just take our word for it – Brussels singer-songwriter Typh Barrow tells us: “You feel like you’re not in Belgium any more, you’re in some hidden place in New York.” 28 Rue de la Tulipe
Created by two friends with a passion for jazz, this 100-seater venue close to the Grand Place hosts music almost every night. It’s one of the top places to enjoy jazz in Brussels, attracting top Belgian and international musicians. 50 Rue des Pierres.
Much more than a jazz club, this former train station in Saint-Josse is a lively arts hub hosting a variety of projects. As well as a quality programme attracting jazz musicians from around the world, it runs music events, aperitif concerts, art exhibitions and regular artist residences. The original decor naturally scores highly for originality. 193A-195 Chaussée de Louvain
Situated right behind the Saint-Gery market halls, this cosy spot generally has music on every night, including Argentinian tango, soul and funk parties and weekend DJ sets. 19 Rue des Riches-Claires
La Porte Noire
Just down the hill from Sablon, La Porte Noire is the perfect place to go if you’re a folk fan. This underground bar has concerts every Thursday night offering folk music in all its forms. 67 Rue des Alexiens.
When it comes to Latin and world music, La Tentation has been filling your agenda with musical fun nearly every night of the week for the past 20 years - from jazz and blues to workshops in Mexican dance. 28 Rue de Laeken
This popular expat hangout in the very centre of town welcomes many of the city’s gigging musicians on its roster, with rock and pop on Saturday nights. 51 Rue Montagne aux Herbes Potagères .
Bar du Matin
A trendy bar on the border of Saint-Gilles and Forest, Bar du Matin provides an eclectic range of music in its free Thursday night concerts, followed by a DJ set. 172 Chaussée d'Alsemberg
A l’Imaige Nostre Dame
Tucked away down a tiny passageway in the heart of the old town, this small bar is great for acoustic music in a cosy, friendly atmosphere. 3 Impasse des Cadeaux
This multimedia art and performance space has an eclectic line-up from gypsy jazz to Latino and Greek music. It’s a small space, with chairs crammed together into tight rows right up against the stage, so it ends up feeling more like a private living-room performance than a venue. 29 Rue des Sables
A stranger’s living room
With Sofar Sounds, music fans sign up via email and receive information about the private location on the day of the performance. The cosy gigs in random living rooms across the city have become so sought-after that entrance can’t always be guaranteed.