Bier Central, Antwerp, Belgium

This is a very interesting place for beer lovers. It’s on the food and drink street of De Keyserlei directly west of Antwerp Central station just north of the Diamant area.

The first thing that will hit you is the HUGE selection of beers that you can choose from. Tap beer, bottled beer… you name it it’s probably available.

When you sit down you will find a copy of The Beer Encyclopedia – their beer list! It’s bigger than some magazines you buy at a newsagent.

I’d originally popped in early afternoon (around 1:45 I think) after having Chinese food for lunch to have ‘a couple’ before heading back to my hotel but the day didn’t work out that way. I got back to my hotel around 8:30 whoops).

From what I can work out from my receipts I partook in

  • La Ramee Amber
  • Ramee Blond
  • Boerinneke
  • Hercule Stout
  • Divers Bar

They also have food (thank God!) so I chose a pizza before closing out the tab to make sure I’d buy no more beer!

Surprisingly, no hangover the next morning which was good as I needed to pack and take the train to Amsterdam.

 This is a place NOT to be missed when you are in Antwerp.

Le Brosella, Brussels, Belgium

What’s the one thing you need to do if you go to Belgium? Yep – Real Belgian Waffles!

In my walks around Brussels I’d walked past many shops / cafes offering waffles but hadn’t dropped into one yet. One afternoon I decided I’d better go out and give them a try or I’d never be allowed back into the country.

Quite near my hotel is the Place des Martyrs where around 400 heroes from the 1830 Belgian Revolution are buried. The square is surrounded by the Flemish Government cabinet office, theatres and restaurants.

Overlooking the square’s main monument is La Brosella, a Belgian cafe / bar with both inside and outside seating.

I’d already made sure that Belgian Waffles were on the menu before I sat down outside.

After a short wait and I had my waffles and a Rochefort 10.

I must say that this place is very reasonably priced given it’s in a touristy area.

If you’re in the area drop in for the waffles… and a couple of beers 🙂

Danish Tavern, Brussels, Belgium

On Sunday morning, my first full day in Belgium, I’d wandered into the centre of Brussels which was about a 10 minute walk from my hotel.

The centre of Brussels is a compact and historical area of meandering roads and lanes with history, restaurants and bars at every turn.

I’m not known for keeping my bearings in cities, and often end up going in completely the wrong direction. After walking around in circles for a while with my thirst growing I saw the Danish Tavern near the Church of Saint Nicolas and the Brussels Stock Exchange.

The Danish Tavern had a well frequented outside area overlooking the passing throngs. As it was full I adjourned inside to the almost empty bar.

The drinks menu had a decent number of beers including Chimay, Kwak, Leffe and Orval. You could make yourself at home here!

After a beer to cool down it was lunchtime and I had their Gigot D’Agneau Grille (Grilled rack of lamb) which was cooked well and certainly filled me up.

Several more beers and the waitress pointed me back towards my hotel for an afternoon snooze.

Crowne Plaza Antwerpen, Antwerp, Belgium

Antwerp is about 70 minutes north of Brussels by intercity train and was the next stop on my European tour and I’d chosen to stay at the Crowne Plaza.

The hotel is in Antwerp South next to Antwerp Expo, so it’s a little out of the city but there’s both buses and trams close by for the ~15 minute ride into Central Antwerp and a taxi to Central Station is all of €12.

Crowne Plaza’s are generally a notch down the pecking order when compared to either InterContinentals or Hiltons, but I was pleasantly surprised with this property. The lobby was spacious, light and clean, and the hotel bar / restaurant seemed to be the local meeting place as it was always buzzing.

In contrast to the tardy check-in at the Brussels Hilton, the check-in here was super fast and efficient and I was on my way to my room within 5 minutes of walking in the front door.

My room was smaller that what I’d had at the Hiltons in Brussels and Paris but as I was only sleeping here for a couple of nights it was more than large enough. I’d hazard a guess that it’s been recently renovated.

I had huge ceiling to floor windows with a view of Nachtegalen Park which was the location for the archery competition in the 1920 summer Olympics.

The bar / restaurant had a great menu and I had a couple of good feeds, and the beer list was superb as well.

All round a good hotel but a little far out of the city for my liking. If I go back to Antwerp I’d probably stay much closer to Central Station.


Hilton Brussels City, Brussels, Belgium

After the train trip from Lyon to Brussels Central station I was in a taxi for a short ride to my next hotel The Hilton Brussels City in Rogier.

If I’d done my homework a bit better I’d have gotten a train to either the Rogier Metro station or to Brussels Nord station which are both a ~5 minute walk from the hotel… but alas I’m not known for planning so spent ~€15 on the taxi.

The hotel is in a great location next to the botanic garden about a 10 minute leisurely walk from the centre of the city.

The room itself was nice – I was in a converted loft like room with a living room and seperate bedroom but you can tell this is an old hotel that’s had a cheapish makeover.

One of the powerpoints was falling out of the wall. One of the windows you could open, but the other one was screwed shut.

Also, cleanliness left a little to be desired. There was a swatted mosquito on the wall when I first went into my room, and it was still there when I left. And there was a nice hair from the room’s previous inhabitant waiting for me in the shower – yuck!

On the plus side the air conditioning worked great, there was a Nespresso machine and free Wifi throughout the property.

I had breakfast in my room rate which was a self service buffet in the breakfast room which had the standard scrambled eggs, bacon, potato croquets, pancakes, pasties and cheeses plus juices and hot drinks… and the waffle maker 🙂 A good enough spread that I’d head out exploring filled with energy.

There’s also a nice bar off the hotel lobby that opens late afternoon for drinks, and doubles as the dinner restaurant. The beer menu was pretty good and the bar staff were able to help me try most of the good beers throughout my stay. The food choices were quite good as well for hotel food, not Michelin quality, but robust with decent serving sizes.

Check in and check out were a little tardy as the front desk staff seem to retreat to the office and have to check through the office window every now and then to see if a customer is waiting – this really needs to be improved. But once they were on the case the process went smoothly.

Its a good hotel and with some improvements would be really top notch.