With the new year approaching fast, Brussels prepares to ring in 2018 with Gatsby-themed soirées, fireworks above its famous Atomium and thumping electronic beats that last until sunrise. Choose your poison or copy and paste some of these ten options together to create a countdown to 2018 you won’t soon forget.
Marvel at the fireworks firing off above the Atomium
Ongoing construction works in the heart of the city might be the best thing that could have happened to Brussels’ traditional New Year’s Eve celebration. Because of reconstructions of the Place de Brouckère square, normally fireworks and countdown central, the explosive event is being moved to the Atomium. The city’s foremost symbol, built for the 1958 World Fair, also gets to blow out 60 candles in 2018, making the occasion doubly worthy of a colourful extravaganza with accompanying music. The end-of-year festivities will also continue to include a large screen that projects onlookers’ different wishes and resolutions.
Dine mightily fine, then dance at Belga Queen
For 15 years, Antoine Pinto’s Belga Queen has stood for Belgian cuisine at its finest, and the chic restaurant in a gorgeously renovated 19th-century bank building has a mouth-watering end to 2017 in mind. A particularly delicious menu – think roasted langoust, Jerusalem artichoke cream, blackcurrant sorbet and a deer rib in red Bouzy sauce – has been composed to bid adieu to the past year. All are, as always, prepared with Belgian produce, but this time the food will be accompanied by live musical entertainment. After dinner the bon vivant life continues downstairs, in the former bank vaults that have been transformed into the rather exclusive Belga Queen Club.
Menus range from €145 / $171,9 to €230 / $272,6
Get wild at the alternative FCKNYE
At the massive Palais 12, a mere ten-minute walk from the Atomium, 10,000 revellers are expected to show up and go wild to the tunes of 40 different acts, spread out across five different stages. Belgium’s young flock here for a sample of everything from techno and house, to soul and reggae. The capital’s most famed alternative music NYE is up to its eighth edition, and manning the stage for this year’s fever dream are DJs Sam Paganini, Dr. Peacock and fast emerging rap talent Roméo Elvis, whose lyrics paint a bittersweet picture of hometown Brussels.
€42 / $48,8
Palais 12, L’Esplanade, 1020 Brussels, from 8pm to 6am
Flash back to the roaring 20s at a Gatsby-themed casino party
Intent on kicking off 2018 in style, Brussels’ Viage casino will be channeling the Great Gatsby on December 31st. Besides feasting on a five-course gourmet meal, gentlemen in dapper suits and ladies in sequined dresses can listen to live jazz, win big at the roulette table and enjoy cabaret as if the Roaring Twenties never came to and end. A ‘Champagne Girl’ has been appointed to keep the glasses full, and only 21-and-over are admitted to this night of dapper debauchery.
Optional five-course dinner: €99 / $117,8 + €23,8 entrance for non-members
Grand Casino Brussels Viage, Boulevard Anspach 30, from 7:30pm to 4am
Float the party on down to a mid-lake chalet
After-work party experts Les belges jeunesses are calling on all the young Belgians and internationals out there to make this NYE an extraordinary one by choosing a particularly enchanting location: the Chalet Robinson, smack-dab in the middle of park Bois de la Cambre’s lake. Transportation to this magical cabin all decked out in twinkle lights happens in cute dinghies, followed by a three-course meal and a party that lasts well into 2018’s first night.
Entrance: €11,7 / $13,8 + three-course dinner: €55 / $65
Soak up the last day of Brussels’ enchanting Christmas market
A romantic ride on a lit-up ferris wheel, sips of toasty glühwein, bites of steaming Brussels’ waffles and knitted hats everywhere – Brussels’ Winter Wonders has the goods to deliver a heartwarming ending to 2017. The 200-chalet-rich Christmas market is spread out over the city’s nicest squares, from the historic Grand Place, where an inimitable light show is triggered every 15 minutes, to the atmospheric Place Sainte-Catherine, where a choir of carollers will be doling out musical joy between 2 and 5pm.
Go for a genius black and white comedy
To close out the year with a dose of guaranteed merriment, head to Brussels’ Flagey for an hour and a half in the merciful black-and-white presence of Jack Benny and Carole Lombard. The 1942 screwball To Be or Not to Be is considered one of comedy’s enduring masterpieces for a reason – rich in slapstick flounderings but also in the blackest of humorous jabs, German-hailing director Ernst Lubitsch turned the Hollywood machine at his disposal into a satiric weapon aimed squarely at the Nazis swarming over Europe during World War II.
€7 / $8,3
Studio 5, Flagey, Rue du Belvédère 27, 1050 Brussels, from 7:30pm to 9pm
Hop from club to club with Happy Brussels
For the indecisive reveller, the Happy Brussels pass is the safest bet out there. At 59 euros (or 71 dollars), this handy card gives access to the tunes of over 50 DJs in 10 different clubs and venues throughout town. Spend the day getting excited about this promising night in the bowels of the Atomium, free access to which is another perk of the Happy Brussels formula.
€59,8 / $71
Fuse: New Year’s Eve with Kölsch
The most dedicated of partygoers don’t just talk of New Year’s Eve, oh no. With the big night in question falling on a Sunday this year, you’ll find them at Fuse from the evening of December 29th till the dawn of January 1st for an unequalled New Year’s weekender. While Danish producer/DJ Kölsch will man the decks at NYE, Berlin’s Rødhåd and Fjaad, Belgium’s own Charlotte de Witte and others will be covering the iconic nightclub’s three floors the rest of the weekend.
Second wave of tickets for NYE: €29,50 / $35
Fuse, Rue Blaes 208, 1000 Brussels, from Friday 11pm to Monday 9am
Flash through the musical decades at Time Machine
Culture hub Atelier210 believes in looking back to where we came from in order to better prepare for the future. Hence, Time Machine: a journey across the musical decades. From 10pm onwards, house DJs Mr X and Funky Bompa (or ‘Funky Grandpop’) will be guiding revellers from ’60s soul all the way to ’90s dance, and finally, when the clock strikes three, a mix of both the golden oldies and the best current tunes out there.
€12 / $14,2
Chaussée Saint-Pierre 210, 1040 Brussels, from 10pm