From breakfast bar to evening cocktail lounge, many of Saint-Gilles' bars tend to transform themselves over the course of the day | Courtesy of Maison du Peuple
The counterpart to Ixelles with its abundance of hip cafés, multicultural Saint-Gilles has a few charming bars of its own. Its cobbled alleyways and lively Parvis Square are dotted with all sorts of cozy venues, ranging from a beer-loving Art Nouveau mansion and a grandpa-style hipster hangout to the ultimate wine connoisseur’s establishment.
Café Maison du Peuple
Sunny days in Brussels are for lounging on Café Maison du Peuple’s sunlit terrace, with hot weekend nights for dancing to their DJ sets or live concerts. Situated conveniently on Saint-Gilles’ lively Parvis Square and whipping up a mean healthy dish, this café has become the Sunday brunch headquarters for many locals.
Whether it’s breakfast, lunch, drinks or music you’re looking for, Maison du Peuple does it all | Courtesy of Maison du Peuple
Chez Moeder Lambic
Bar, Beer, $$$
‘Beer is the answer,’ according to Chez Moeder Lambic, and looking at their 40 taps, six hand pumps, and knowledgeable staff, they sure do mean it. While its sister bar has opened up at the Place Fontainas, smack dab in the city center, the original Chez Moeder Lambic has been standing tall in Saint-Gilles since the 80s. Besides the Cantillon Cuvée Moeder, a lambic beer served solely at its two bars, the mother hen of Brussels beer cafés is known for serving lesser-known Belgian and international draught and bottled specialties. Mon, Tue, Wed, Thu, Sun: 11am-1pm and 4pm-3am andFri-Sat: 11am-2pm and 4pm-3am
Set inside a gorgeous Art Deco townhouse and with an interior swimming in wood and copper, La Belladone has managed to create a timeless feel for anyone stepping into their grade-A tavern. Add to that a menu filled with Eastern-European spirits such as herb-perfumed vodkas and Romanian wines and you’ll soon find your imagination transporting you to old-world Russia.
Since Le Dillens – carrying the name of artist Julien Dillens, whose regal sculptures decorate many a Brussels monument – was completely renovated about three years ago, the bar has become a new hub for the young and creative. Black-and-white checkered floor tiles, exposed brick, simple rye sandwiches, and homemade lemonades – the Saint-Gilles hipster doesn’t need to look long to find a place to call his second home. Mon-Thu: 8am-1am, Fri: 8am-2am, Sat: 9am-2am, and Sun: 9am-12pm
A neighbor to the church that lends Parvis Square its name, Brasserie Verschueren is a Saint-Gilles hallmark and a favored watering hole of many locals. The quaint café has a habit of attracting people from all walks of life and has consciously kept wifi-free, making it a perfect place to find some real conversation and perhaps even befriend a stranger. Mon-Sun: 9am-12pm
La Trinquette, Brussels | Courtesy of La Trinquette
Ask around and you’ll find that La Trinquette is the top pick of many a local wine connoisseur. Owned by four childhood friends and specializing in French wines from the Languedoc region, the wine bar is home to the very finest whites, reds, and rosés you can think of. The authentic setting and mouthwatering tapas should make for a delightful evening with friends South of France-style. Tue: 6pm-11pm, Wed-Thu: 6pm-12pm, Fri: 6pm-1pm, and Sat: 6pm-12pm
Whether it’s reading your morning paper with a strong cappuccino in front of you, sipping cocktails with friends while sampling tiny delicacies or grooving to the occasional DJ set, Cipiace has got you covered. Giorgia and Elisabetta have kept their cozy Italian-style bar simple except for some amazing abstract murals which work perfectly to liven up the space. Look for the charming venue with the giant window and the old-school green façade. Tue-Sun: 8:30am-11:30pm
Cute decorations in the family-friendly milk bar (In courtesy of Le Balmoral Milk Bar)
Anyone who thought the cat bar concept was a fad reserved for enormous Asian cities, think again. Le Chat Touille welcomes cats from the World Animal Handicap Foundation to stroll around its bar/eatery while looking for a feline-loving new owner or simply a sweet pat on the head. What better way to drink your cocoa or tea than in the company of current furry friends Chips, Fripouille, Noël, and Walter the Magnificent. Wed–Sun: 1pm-9pm
La Porteuse d’Eau, Brussels | Courtesy of La Porteuse d'Eau
Its Art Nouveau splendor is enough reason to pay a visit to La Porteuse d’Eau. A brewery, café, and restaurant where you can try beer-fueled dishes such as carbonnade flamande, its monumental stained-glass windows and cast-iron spiral staircase provoke feelings of old-world grandeur. Top that off with the owner’s encyclopedic knowledge of craft beers, and you’ve hit the motherload. Sun-Thu 11am-11pm and Fri-Sat 11am-12pm