zondag 17 mei 2009

the ABC of Belgian pubs and cafés

Belgium's café (pub/bar) scene is one of its idiosyncratic delights. All cafés serve alcohol and are open from around 10 am. thre is no official closing - these linger-as-long-as-you-like pubs stay open until the last person leaves. On sunny days the populace emerges to soak up the sun and a drink at pavement cafés, or as the Flemish put it, "een terrasje doen" (doing a terrace).

A few local terms include:

- Bar: mostly associated with jenever (gin) and other strong drinks; no food.

- Brasserie: spacious modern eateries, often with a terrace, and staying open from lunch till late. Great for casual dining or a drink at any time.

- Bruin café - 'brown café': a small, old-fashioned pub noted for its décor: wood panelling, mirrored walls and globe lights. Mostly drinking only. Also called a bruine kroeg.

- Eetcafé - literally 'eating café'. Flemish name for a pub serving a decent range of beers plus a limited number of meals. Also called eetkroeg or estaminet.

- Grand Café - old-world establishments adored by elderly mesdames but attracting an eclectic clientele. Good for a drink or meal at any time.

- Herberg - old flemish title for a tavern. These places tend to be larger than ordinary cafés, and dish up drinks and sometimes meals.

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