Brussels is not a destination for partying and craziness, but there are plenty of places to go for a fun night. Naturally a lot depends on the people you go out with: Brussels is very international so you just have to be a little open and outgoing to find someone who can join you for some nightlife.
Let’s start with some ‘quiet’, normal places. L’Archiduc (Antoine Dansaertstraat 6 – website) is the perfect place for a quiet intellectual happy hour or early evening entertainment. They specialise in jazz jams and the cosy, private atmosphere of the place is worth a visit. Beware that the door seems always closed and sometimes you actually have to ring a bell to be let inside!
The Rock Classic bar (rue du Marché au Charbon 55 – website) is behind Bourse and offers free live concerts by emerging bands every Saturday. The atmosphere is very chilled and concerts rarely start before half nine, regardless of the official time on the website (usually 20:00). If you’re up for some free music and braving an unknown band and a few weird people this is the place to be early on a Saturday night.
Madame Moustache (Brandhoutkaai 5 – website) is central, well known and more like a big pub than a small club. A bit stinky and sticky, it can be a lot of fun or quite lame depending on the soiree. The dance floor is tiny and becomes very crowded with a bunch of happy drunk people very quickly.
Havana (rue de l’Epée 4 – website) is in the Saint Gilles area, which I like in itself. Honestly I don’t really remember the place too well! The one time I went I arrived already drunk from Cabraliego (rue Haute 171 – website), another good place you should make sure to know: it’s a Spanish social-club that serves very cheap cocktails and drinks. Don’t expect too much in terms of quality, but it’s the perfect place to get drunk while keeping your wallet full. Back to Havana, it must have been a cool place at least to dance because my neck hurt like hell the following morning.