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5 Brussels bars that are serious about music

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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.

1. La Tentation

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 on Rue de Laeken in the city centre can fill your agenda with musical fun nearly every night of the week. From Thursday’s jazz and blues bar to workshops in Mexican dance, the space has plenty to delight the ear and move the body.

The venue also regularly hosts events, like the International Day of Peace coming up on 20 September and the popular monthly party Groovalicious. It also offers an array of courses, including tango, salsa and flamenco, but also guitar, photography and writing.

28 Rue de Laeken, 1000 Brussels

2. Recyclart

Built into the abandoned Bruxelles-Chapelle train station near the Marolles and Midi neighbourhoods, Recyclart is a publically funded bar, restaurant and performance and art space that puts on regular shows and parties. From summer cook-outs to all night dance fests, this (literally) underground venue offers great music and beats. It also regularly provides a stage for Sysmo, the popular Brussels-based improv percussion ensemble with guest DJs that always serve up a good party.

25 Rue des Ursulines, 1000 Brussels

3. Café Floreo

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 going 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, 1000 Brussels

4. Art Base

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, 1000 Brussels

5. Sounds Jazz Club

Sounds Jazz Club is all about the music. This no-frills bar nestled between Boniface and Place Fernand Cocq is arguably the best jazz haunt in Brussels. The new season starts again on 25 September after the regular summer hiatus, so now is a good time to check out their line-up. Along with live jazz music from local and international artists six nights a week, the bar also serves up made-to-order 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, 1050 Brussels

Photo courtesy Sysmo.be

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