This is how Antwerpen bars must have looked when the only visitors were seamen and traders, back in ’the good old days’.
I walked in at 11.56 on a Monday lunchtime and left again at exactly the same time. The huge clock hanging from the ceiling told me so. Time has stood still in this place for a reason, they like it that way, so do I.
As you walk in the bar is on your right, the only room is long and full of old mirrors (on the lefthand wall), the toilets are at the rear of the fairly large bar-room.
A little old lady comes across to take your order, no menu/beer card or noticeboard are visible to my wife and I, as we sit at the far end of the room watching the other customers. I noticed a ’Winter Konick’ badge on a beer font as we entered so I order a ’Bolleke’ for the wife and the winter brew for myself. Both are poured by a younger lady, the cliental are mostly elderly locals with shopping.
Outside the skating rink and Christmas Market stalls are all noisey and busy, in here not even the clock ticks, just a bunch of people enjoying the peace and quiet.
I ask for a Westmalle Double next, to my surprise it is on tap so I am doubley pleased!
A lovely old place and one I will use again when in Antwerp. The beer selection may not be huge and It obviously hasn’t tried to become fashionable or chic, it is just a throw back to old times and a joy to drink in.
The classic cafe on the Grote markt with fantastic atmosphere and good service. Smallish but adequate beer list . The perfect place for a Bolleke.
I assume it was the owner of the Ben Bengel next door who changed the name of this entry to Den Bengel. That café is of little interest and not worth visiting and interfering with the ratings of rival establishments is plain wrong. So make sure to visit DEN ENGEL and avoid BEN BENGEL.
You won’t find a more beautiful city setting for a bar. Set upon a large square, this pub sits across from a majestic cathedral with a large and lovely fountain standing in between. That said, the beer range here is very uninspiring. I ordered the "gueuze" from the menu (it wasn’t branded on the menu), which turned out to be a Belle-Vue, which in turn turned out to be a rather vulgar example of the gueuze style. There were plenty of other classic if very basic beers on offer. So, bottom line, this bar is in a fantastic location and it’s a great place to sit and have a beer. Unfortunately, the beers to be had are lousy. Good prices, incidentally. Anyway, it’s worth it to stop here for one drink, just to sit on the square and observe your surroundings.
Strebs (221) St. Louis, Missouri | August 8, 2012| Updated May 26, 2013
This was probably the most authentic bar that I’ve visited in Belgium. Packed full of locals and certainly not the typical overly twee confection invented for tourists. This would be a perfect place for a bolleek of de Konninck, except for one thing. Be prepared for an aggressively anti-tourist
attitude from customers and staff. When out the blue I was insulted by a fellow customer, I looked to the bartender for assistance, and he didn’t do a thing.