Didn’t realise I’d never reviewed this place despite having visited several times over the years. You only really need to (want to?) visit once but, if you’re in Gent with people who have never visited Velootje it’s your duty to take them along. It’s not really a bar in the conventional sense - more of an experience. And a very weird one at that. On one occasion, when word on the street was that he had two beers - Pater Lieven Blonde & Rochefort 10 - we had the temerity to ask for Rocheforts. Remarkably, we actually got what we asked for and glasses to go with it. Of course, the glass wasn’t exactly clean. On another occasion we evidently arrived outside the erratic opening hours. Hearing the noise in the street, the owner appeared at an upstairs windows and said he’d come down and open up for us. When he did he was wearing a "wee willie winkie" night cap and an old fashioned nightshirt with (the ouline was clearly visible) a brassiere underneath. I believe it was unidentfied beer in a plastic cup for us on that visit. Probably with a late night surcharge to the already exorbitant price as well.
No need to provide a detailed description as there’s plenty of that In other reviews. Suffice to say the overwhelming vibe is of a filthy, crepuscular, over-stuffed junk shop. In a country that isn’t short of slightly bizarre bars this is probably at the top of the bizarreness tree. Very difficult to assign a score by any semblance of objective measure. Rumour has it that this place is permanently closed. Something I’d imagine the environmental health officer has been trying to accomplish for decades.
My visit wasn’t quite as eccentric as some of these reviews. As is usual when we walked up he offered us a beer or ’something special’. The beers were from gruut which we had just visited so opted for something special which turned out to be Omer. Unfortunately, we couldn’t go inside as he was cleaning the windows... Chatted a little with him and his wife and were encouraged to sign the guestbook. Difficult to comment on the selection with no menu but looked like he had a few bottles in the fridge.
This is not a bar. You do not come here for a drink. The only reason you come here, is to go back home and tell the rest of your life stories about the weirdest place where you ever had a beer. I’ve seen the place getting worse of the years, from an original bar with an eccentric owner, where we went as students and thought it funny as hell that the menu read "flute juice" instead of "fruit juice" (joke works in Dutch as well as in English) to the dump it is today. That’s all that needs to be said, I guess. :p
There isn’t a whole lot I can add to what has already been written about this place. This isn’t a pub, this is the house of a hoarder who just happens to sell beer. He’s a friendly guy though and became a personal friend throughout the years. I do not approve of the ridiculous price of 4 euros for a shamelessly dirty and re-used plastic cup with ’any’ beer he just happens to have on tap, but with some negotiation it is possible to ask for something else, as he still has several crates of other beers lurking somewhere (from a bygone time when he actually had a selection worth mentioning); expect dirty glasses, old beer and way too high prices, though. This utterly bizarre place doesn’t attract many locals anymore nowadays: if any, the customers are usually tourists from all parts of the world, though the odd - and sometimes drunk, or deranged, or both - local may still pop in from time to time. Interestingly (and unbeknownst to most), it has attracted several American brewers throughout the years (Russian River for example, leaving a bottle of Pliny the Elder here as a gift to the owner...). Officials have tried to close this place down several times, but to no avail... This old glory, being one of the first pubs ever to open in the Patershol quarter, seems to be effectively ’un-closable’... Go there for the experience but only if you are capable of a (very) strong dosis of irony.
we came in, the guy was sitting in the dark .
the interior was PACKED with mess .
costumes & secondhand clothings
the guy asked us if we wanted ’ a beer’ . wich we replied with yes . he gave us each a plastic cub with ’ A ’ beer in it . we than split one of our own bottles, for wich he took himself a glass. we had to ask for some glass for us, we got 1 plastic cup ...
so yeah ..
all this is nice and .. diffrent ... untill we asked the bill .. 9 € for 2 plastic cups filled with beer we didnt ask for ? damn ...
This is a place that needs to be visited in order to be fully believed. I had heard & read the weird stories about this place I needed to know. It was easy enough to locate. It appeared to be located in a garage with wooden picnic benches to sit. There was only two tables available. The place looked like the house of a hoarder which is possibly what this is. There was so much stuff inside that it was hard to even tell what was what. The ceiling is covered with hanging bicycles, statues, stuff everywhere,… I couldn’t make out what was what. The place was only dimly lit with some lanterns, it is questionable that this place has electricity or running water or electing heating or… Upon entering the establishment we were asked if we wanted a beer. Just beer with no specification as to what. We agreed & got indeed two beers in plastic cups. Interestingly we both got different beers & were told what they were, both were Huyghe products & I assume that these are the only beers he has. I assume that they were draft offerings but who can really tell what goes on here. Everyone else who entered also were offered just “beer”. We offered to share an To Øl Southern Frontier with the owner. He joined us & we struck up a brief conversation. He got himself a glass but we had to specifically ask for a plastic cup… We were quickly joined by an acquaintance of the owner at our table. We overheard the owner talking about severe financial difficulties, a quick google search revealed stories about him getting arrested, sued, the place closed several times etc. I suspect that for a long time & possibly still this place either was or is an unlicensed bar. I question the availability of food here or it being a good idea to eat here. The cost is ridiculous, 4.5 € for a beer which is just crazy. A bad way of him dealing with his financial difficulties I assume. I will take the ridiculous cost as a museum admittance fee which is more or less what this place was. An interesting experience other than the ridiculously high price I liked it & might even repeat the experience. It is indeed a notably bizarre bar experience but not in a harmful way. I find it very hard to rate this place because it appears to be located in a real very far away from numerical scores.
Strangest bar experience ever. Garbage and dust all over the place, Just 2 seats available. Unfriendly extravagant owner with beard, pink legging and golden necklaces. He had only one beer available, served in plastic cup. It was his own beer he told me, didn’t know what it was. The price was 4 euro for a warm bad beer.
Oh well, what to say about this crazy bar.... . When it’s open (and that is not very often) you really need to visit it.
Inside it’s sO messy ... the cat is laying on the table and when it wakes up it mostly tries to catch a mouse because there are plenty ... . The owner is even more crazy but okay this bar has so many stories. btw, if you are over 1.80m it’s pretty hard to get in ... .
The weird bicycle bar. There was no place to sit. Just one seat available. One beer on tap. Owner is slightly crazy but very funny and pleasurable to speak with. Charged me nothing for the beer but I gave him 5 Euro anyway. It was just me in there on a Friday night at 10PM. It’s a very dirty place but technically a bar. Make sure you sign his guest book while you’re there.