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Brussels’ highlights

Brussels parks index:
Warande Park

The Jewish Museum of Belgium collects art, textiles, religious objects, photographs, and historical documents to depict Jewish life in the country beginning in the 18th century. The story focuses on the Jews of the Diaspora and later immigration to Belgium. I think the best of the collection are the 1,250 paintings and artworks from such modern masters as Marc Chagall, Max Liebermann, Mané-Katz, and Jacques Wiener. Also interesting are the 20,000 photographs capturing Jewish life in Belgium, the Israel-Palestinian conflict, and Moroccan Judaism. Open Sun-Fri, 10am-5pm, €5 (reduced €3). Rue des Minimes 21.

Brussels’ Royal Museum of the Army has more than 100,000 pieces in its collection, form ancient weapons and armor dating to the 8th to 20th century experimental models. Truly fascinating are all the images from the time of photography’s first use, including a collection depicting the two World Wars. The airplane section has 130 planes from (mostly) WWII, including the Luftwaffe and Allied Forces. Open Thurs-Sun, 9am-Noon and 1pm-6:45pm. Free admission. Jubelpark 3.

brussels_2Brussels Restaurants
For traditional beer cafés and pubs, try these places I found just by wandering through the Lower Town:
A Mort Subite (The Sudden Death) is no statement of the ambience than, and less so its beer list: fruit beer! Good stuff, actually. Warmoesberg / Montagne aux Herbes Potageres.
In the 1920s, Belgium’s Surrealist artists met at La Fleur a Papier Dore. This café retains its Art Deco features, and for historic purposes it’s worth a stop for a snort. Cellebroersstraat / Rue des Alexiens, 53.
For a grand Art Deco experience, visit The Falstaff, which has a good restaurant serving Belgian cuisine. Henri Mausstraat, Rue Henri Maus.
And the weirdest pub I’ve been to in years goes to Le Cercueil (The Coffin). This café is decorated like a morgue, draped in black velvet, with coffins and skulls for adornments. Haringstraat / Rue des Harengs 10.

The more trendy bars & cafés are in the area just around Place St. Géry:
I learned that Le Coq has been the “it” bar for some time. I found it filled with trendy types having a fun time in modern atmosphere. Rue Auguste Orts.
Americans still love a traditional Irish Pub, so check out O’Reilly’s to get a Guinness or some bitters. Voulevard Anspach (just in front of the Stock Exchange).
Le Plattesteen is a popular Gay Brussels hangout. Plattesteen.

Brussels has quite a few Jazz music bars and clubs worth checking out, with a selection of other genres:
New York Café Jazz Club looks and sounds exactly as the name suggests. Chaussée de Charleroi 5.
Sounds Jazz Club draws a Belgian crowd enthusiastic about their music. Tulpstraat 28.
Canne a Sucre serves Antillian music (Caribbean flavor). Duivenstraat 12.
Chez LaGaffe is another Jazz club close to Grand’Place. Rue de l’Epée 4.

brussels_5Brussels Nightlife
Cabarets in Brussels bring out the elegant and odd from around town:
Exito 13, Hoogstraat 13.
Au Fou Chantant, Avenue De Fré 176.
Le Pre Sale, Vlaamsesteenweg 20.

Dance clubs can be found in both Lower and Upper Town:
Fuse – La Demence hosts techno DJs and has a mixed straight-gay crowd. Rue Blaes 208.
Le Nostalgia is a 60s & 70 “Oldies” club in Lower Town. Rue de la Fourche 49.
You Nightclub has house and techno spinners. Rue Duquesnoy 18.

Gay bars in Brussels circle the area of Grand’Place:
Can Can is a bar with karaoke. Fun place. Rue des Pierres 55.
Chez Maman has a late night show & cabaret. Rue des Grands Carmes 7.
Bananas Café … ‘nuff said. Rue des Pierres 18.

Brussels Transportation
Three main train stations service Brussels: Gare du Nord, Gare Centrale, and Gare du Midi Zuidstation. Depending on where you’re coming from by train, you can be dropped off at either of these. The closest to Lower Town (and Grand’Place) is Gare Centrale (Central Station). Getting around Brussels is easy when you use its Tram and metro systems. By tickets for trams at tobacco shops or on the trams; tickets for underground metros are sold at self-service machines in the stations.

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