- Daily & Weekly newsletters
- Buy & download The Bulletin
- Comment on our articles
It's a date: The Bulletin’s top venues for a first date in Brussels
Who hasn’t taken a romantic stroll through Brussels’ most famous square with their sweetheart at some point? Start the evening by admiring the architecture, then pop in to one of its bars or restaurants for a bite to eat. Or gaze up at the stars after a late-night drink, when you might just have the place all to yourselves.
Want to go for dinner but feeling indecisive? Head to Rue Lesbroussart in Ixelles, where you can find any type of fare in chic and trendy surroundings – perfect for a dressing-up date. From Italian restaurant CŎCĪNA to Vietnamese food at Indochine and tapas and wine bars galore, you can start with a drink and move on to food later on. Flanked by an Irish bar at either end, you can choose a raucous nightcap or a gentle stroll around the Ixelles ponds afterwards for maximum romance.
Out to lunch
Not sure if this one’s a keeper yet or not? Then try a weekday lunch date – an easy way to test the waters without the pressure of a night out. Try Karsmakers just off Place du Luxembourg – its cakes and coffees are fancy enough to make it date-like, plus it’s always packed, so no awkward silences. If it all goes well, you can up the romance for the second date.
Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert
One for architecture and history lovers: go back in time and take a walk through one of Europe’s first shopping arcades. There’s an art bookshop and a regular bookshop for browsing, and high-end fashion for window shopping. Treat yourselves to some chocolates, marvel at the ornate design, and have a drink or dinner after. With Arcadi for informal bites at one end and Haagen Dazs at the other, you can’t go wrong.
A walk in the park
The outdoorsy type? Take advantage of the city’s nicest parks, especially those around the Schuman area – green and airy and better than meeting a stranger in the secluded Bois de la Cambre. We recommend a stroll at Cinquantenaire or Leopold parks, finishing up with a drink at the rowdy but relaxed Greek bar Kosmos on Place Jourdan – with coffee and cake also on offer.
Place du Châtelain
Browse the Wednesday evening market stalls together for fresh produce and finish up with an apéro on the square, then if it’s going well, slip off into one of the area’s numerous restaurants for a meal. And if it’s not going great, well, at least you’ve got your groceries for the week.
Filled with quirky mementos ranging from photos of the Belgian royal family to taxidermy, this Brussels institution ensures you won’t be stuck for conversation. Dark and cosy with candles and stained-glass lamps, it’s the perfect place for a first date, with comfy sofas tucked away in snug nooks and crannies and old French songs playing in the background.
After dinner or a drink at Sablon, wander towards Avenue Louise to appreciate the view. Culture fiends can go early and browse Taschen bookstore – and don’t forget to try the chocolate-covered strawberries at Neuhaus.
This article first appeared in The Bulletin spring 2018