5 Brussels bars that are serious about music
When it comes to music cafes in Brussels, everyone knows the old standbys Bonnefooi and L’Archiduc have reliably good line-ups. But where do you go when you’re looking for a change of scene? These five bars and venues offer up enough music to keep you moving all week long.
When it comes to Latin and world music, La Tentation does it all. Officially a cultural centre for Galician heritage, this cafe and event space in the city centre has been filling your agenda with musical fun nearly every night of the week for the past 20 years. From Thursday’s jazz and blues bar to workshops in Mexican dance, the space has plenty to delight the ear and get you on your feet. The venue also regularly hosts events and offers an array of courses, including tango, salsa and flamenco, guitar, photography and writing. 28 Rue de Laeken
Built into the abandoned Bruxelles-Chapelle train station near the Marolles and Midi neighbourhoods, Recyclart is a publicly funded bar, restaurant and performance and art space that puts on regular shows and parties. From summer cookouts to all night dance fests, this (literally) underground venue offers great music and beats. 25 Rue des Ursulines
Situated right behind the Saint-Gery market halls, Café Floreo has long been a cosy spot to a take in a drink and some tunes. From Tuesday to Saturday they generally have music on every night, including milonga nights of Argentinian tango, Wednesday night jam sessions, soul and funk parties and weekend DJ sets. Nothing highbrow, the atmosphere is low-key, no fuss, with everyone showing up just to have a good time. 19 Rue des Riches-Claires
In the city centre, Art Base is a multimedia art and performance space that has an eclectic line-up of musical acts several nights a week, specialising mostly in gypsy jazz and 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. This intimacy invites you to stick around a while and chat with the musicians and fellow listeners. A buffet dinner appropriately themed to the music is often offered along with concerts. 29 Rue des Sables
Sounds Jazz Club
Sounds is all about the music. This no-frills bar nestled between Boniface and Place Fernand Cocq in Ixelles is arguably the best jazz haunt in Brussels. Along with live jazz from local and international artists six nights a week, the bar also serves up cocktails and some tasty Italian grub. It’s more low-key (and low-cost) than some of the city’s other main jazz venues, such as The Music Village and Jazz Station. 28 Rue de la Tulipe