Antwerp Pub Guide
Beer bars - Brewpubs - Beer gardens

Introduction
Index
Pub Listings
Bottle Shops
Belgian breweries
Antwerp Pubs
I used to think that Amsterdam (with 1,250) was heavily pubbed until I first visited Antwerp (Antwerpen in Dutch, Anvers in French). In a city alomost exactly the same size there are double the number of boozers. Some of the small squares in the old town seem to house nothing but pubs. It's a heartwarming sight.

Antwerp's pubs have survived better than those in many large Belgian towns - especially those in the South, like Liège, totally controlled by Interbrew. Most of the pubs in the city centre have remained a good deal of character and been spared the bland renovations that have struck Belgium like a plague.

The only slight downside to all of this, is that, for those arriving by train, the good pubs are a very healthy walk away. Almost all the interesting ones are in the old city, about a mile away from the main railway station. There are plenty of pubs close to the station, but they aren't exactly the most salubrious. Entertaining they can certainly be. I have fond memories of a Sunday afternoon in a café where complete families, from babies to grandparents, were drinking the day away. But do be warned if you're after a quiet, civilised few beers that this may not be the part of town for you.
Antwerp Beer
Antwerp is home to the De Koninck brewery and their beer is found on draught in most pubs. Unlike the rest of Belgium, where pils is king, the standard beer here is a pale ale. And very pleasant it is, too. It could be self-deception, but I've always found the beer to taste best in its home city. Every visitor should try at least a bolleke or two.

Beer prices are very reasonable, especially in comparison to Holland. De Koninck and witbier are seen as ordinary draught beers here and priced accordingly: they are barely more expensive than pils.




Antwerp Pub Guide
Pub Listings

Cuveeke
Vlasmarkt 34,
Antwerp.

Tel.
Opening hours: Mon-Sun 11:00 - 03:00
Number of draught beers: 2
Number of bottled beers: 25
Regular draught beers:
Food: Food: Snacks.
Cuveeke is a fairly ordinary, tiny pub opposite Rooden Coninck. It has a very large window, which gives it a rather shop-like appearance. Inside is a modern wooden bar, an ancient wooden ceiling and castiron tables with crappy modern tops.

It has great potential, which is not realised. A shame, really. it could be a very nice little pub with some tweaking.
Rating: ** Public transport:



Kulminator
Vleminckveld 32,
2000 Antwerpen.

Tel. 03 - 232 4538
Opening hours: Mon 20:15 - 24:00
Tue-Fri 12:00 - 24:00
Sat 17:00 - 24:00
Sunday closed

Number of draught beers: 8
Number of bottled beers: 550
Regular draught beers:
Food: Snacks.
I can say without hesitation that Kulminator is the best specialist beer bar I know. Tucked away in a obscure street in the city centre, it's easily worth the effort of tracking it down.

It's a long thin pub, with unspectacular, but cosy décor. On the way to the toilet you can see through a window into the temperature-controlled room where beers are ageing. I won't bore you with a long description, because the physical environment is almost irrelevant here. What's important is the beer.

The beer selection is unbelievable. Just the new beers would make it an outstanding beer pub. What tips it over into the sublime is the unrivalled choice of old beers. Every vintage of Chimay Blue stretching back 10 years or more. Eldridge Pope Hardy Ale and Gales Prize Old Ale at drinking age (10 years old). Forgotten beers from long-closed breweries, beers never offically sold (I've had Westvleteren Green, the beer for the monastery's internal use, here once), anything you could dream about and more. It would take several weeks to exhaust the possibilities.

It's worth making a special trip to Belgium to visit this pub.
Rating: ***** Public transport:



't Oud Arsenaal
Maria Pijpelincxstraat 4,
2000 Antwerpen.

Tel: 032 - 32 97 45
Opening hours: Mon - Fri 09:00 - 19:30
Sat - Sun 07:30 - 19:30
Number of draught beers: 5
Number of bottled beers: 50
Regular draught beers:
Food:
Another tiny, very dark brown beer cafe. Inside, every inch of wallspace is covered with some piece of meorabilia,
most of it beer-related.

The small beer list includes many rtaditional lambic beers.
Rating: Public transport:


't Pakhuis
Vlaamse Kaai 76,
2000 Antwerpen.

Tel. 03 - 238 1240
Fax: 03 - 238 6814
Homepage: http://www.huisbrouwerijpakhuis.be

Opening hours: Sun-Thur 11:00 - 24:00
Fri-Sat 11:00 - 02:00
Number of draught beers: 3
Number of bottled beers:
Regular draught beers:
Food: Snacks, meals.
Pakhuis is a huge brewpub that stretches over two floors of an old warehouse. The cavernous interior has bare brick walls and a parquet floor. The spartan central bar has tiled sides and no barstools. The ground floor houses the stainless steel brewing vessels, which rest againt one wall.

They haven't made it hard to guess the building's former function: it still retains all the intimacy of a warehouse. It's like drinking on a railway station concourse. It's all very trendy and modern, but it's not my first choice of drinking location when in town.
Rating: ** Public transport:



Pater's Vaetje
Blauwmoezelstraat 1,
2000 Antwerpen.

Tel. 03 - 231 8476
Opening hours: Sun-Thur 11:00 - 03:00
Fri-Sat 11:00 - 05:00
Number of draught beers: 5
Number of bottled beers: 100
Regular draught beers:
Food: Snacks 3-8 euros, meals 6-8 euros, pils 1.60 euros, Duvel 2.40 euros.
Pater's Vaetje is nice and easy to find, being right next to the cathedral (you can't miss it; big building, one spire not quite finished yet). It's in a typical 17th century Antwerp house and there are plenty of signs of its age inside. The floor is flagged with red tiles and the beams are visible in the high ceiling. The bar counter is a lovely carved wooden affair, with some attractive leaded glass work. At the rear is a small raised gallery. Continuing the use of traditional materials, the tables are marble-topped.

The beer list is pretty good, too. Obviously, the bottled beers are mostly Belgian, but I don't find that a great problem. The draught beers are rather boring and there is an obvious Alken-Maes tie of some kind.

Overal, a pleasant and initimate café well worth a visit. Really not bad for the centre of town.
Rating: **** Public transport:



Rooden Coninck
Vlasmarkt 31,
Antwerp.

Tel.
Opening hours: Mon-Sun 11:00 - 03:00
Number of draught beers: 3
Number of bottled beers: 35
Regular draught beers:
Food: Snacks.
The Vlasmarkt is an attractive street close to the cathedral which boasts several decent pubs. Rooden Coninck (Red King), in a 17th century house, is one of these. It's a long, thin pub with a beamed ceiling, red tile floor and a modern wooden bar.

A very Dutch touch are the carpets on the tables - something that I normally associate with a beer selection of draught Heineken and er, draught Heineken. The walls are festooned with lots of old junk, including photos of the pub in various periods of the 20th century. Downstairs is an atmospheric vaulted cellar bar (you could be in Krakow). Classical music adds to the soothing, relaxed air of the place.

The draught beers are dull, but it's a friendly enough place and the bottled selection isn't bad. Worth noting are that great Belgian tradition: mixed toilets.
Rating: *** Public transport:



Stamineeke
Vlasmarkt 23,
2000 Antwerpen.

Tel. 03 - 231 9672
Opening hours: Mon, Wed, Thur 16:00 - open end
Fri 19:00 - open end
Sat-Sun 14:00 - open end

Number of draught beers: 8
Number of bottled beers: 120
Regular draught beers:
Food: Snacks, meals.
Of the many pubs on Vlasmarkt, Stamineeke is the one true specialist beer café. It's a two-storey affair, in another 17th century house in the Antwerp style.

There is a modern, though tasteful, brick bar counter, and the floor is made from old, patterned tiles. All the decoration - as is fitting for a beer bar- beer-related: old bottles, posters and enamel signs. The beamed ceiling has a collection of earthenware beermugs hung from it. Behind the bar are glass shelves in a brick framework.

The mixture of old and new elements is slightly odd, but it works reasonably well. The beer list is very good (it included Westvleteren), the draught selection especially providing some welcome variation.
Rating: *** Public transport:



Het Stoopke
Boomgaardstraat 6,
2600 Berchem-BelgiŽ.

Tel.: 03 - 230 0177
Email: info@stoopke.be
http://www.stoopke.be/
 
Opening hours: Mon - Fri 10:00 - ???,
Sat-Sun closed.
Number of draught beers: 2
Number of bottled beers: 9
Regular draught beers:
Food: Snacks €2.50 - 8.00. Bolleke €1.40.
A pub opposite the De Koninck brewery and used by its workers. Opened in 1955. It claims that the Koninck is pumped directly from the brewery to the pub.
Rating: Public transport:


Antwerp Pub Guide
Buying Bottled Beer

Den Dorstvlegel
Oude Vaartstraat 12,
B-2000 Antwerpen.
Tel: 03 - 232 9754
Fax: 03 - 232 9754
Email: dorstvlegel@pandora.be
 
Opening hours:
Number of draught beers:
Number of bottled beers:
Regular draught beers:
Food:
A specialist beer off-licence under the same ownership as the Oud Arsenaal pub.
Rating: Public transport:


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© Ron Pattinson 1998 - 2004