1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

BXL Cafe

Not Rated.
BXL CafeBXL Cafe
BA SCORE
89
very good

27 Ratings
Ratings: 27
Reviews: 26
rAvg: 3.9
pDev: 9.49%
Taps: 0
Bottles: 0
Cask:
Beer-to-Go: N
[ Bar, Eatery ]

125 West 43rd St
New York, New York, 10036
United States
phone: (212) 768-0200

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap 

Notes:
None, yet.

(Place added by: BeerAdvocate)
Place: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50  | next › last »
Ratings: 27 | Reviews: 26 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by AllThingsNinja:
Photo of AllThingsNinja
4.36/5  rDev +11.8%

We visited the BXL between dinner and a concert in Times Square. Given, the neighborhood the modestly sized bar (with super narrow entry way) is decently sized. The atmosphere is contemporary European, and has a bit of an upscale feel. It was a Friday night, and the bar was packed when we arrived at 6:30, but the crowd started to thin by 7:30. The music can be a bit loud, but that didn't really bother me. They have a 15-20 beer draft list, and served everything in proper, usually beer specific, glassware. The beer experience is excellent. We didn't try the food. The bar menu had typical Belgian bar treats - mussels, frittes, etc. I saw some guests eating dishes that seemed to be from a different dinner menu. The food looked good enough that I wished we came for dinner and not just drinks. I'm not a NYC resident, draft prices seemed sensible for the area. The BXL is definitely my Belgian Beer stop when I'm in the neighborhood..

AllThingsNinja, Dec 14, 2006
More User Reviews:
Photo of vfgccp
4/5  rDev +2.6%

vfgccp, Feb 08, 2014
Photo of tobelerone
3.93/5  rDev +0.8%

A fun little bar and restaurant quite convenient to times square and port authority. Emphasis is on the Belgian stuff, with 10-12 taps and a variety of bottles. They allow you to do 3 and 5 serving flights which is a nice option.

Excellent mussels and frites, highly recommended.

The vibe in here is fairly mellow I've found, not super raucous like some other mid-town bars. Prices are on the high side. A good option if you're in the neighborhood and need your Belgian fix. Not an extensive selection but usually a few good options between their regular and rotating drafts.

tobelerone, Nov 18, 2011
Photo of UDbeernut
3.94/5  rDev +1%

Went here after a show for a few beers as the crowds dispersed. Small cafe place a peice of Europe half a block from times square. With all the maps of nyc available to tourist, i am glad some one had the briliance to include one of brussels. Service was friendly and prompt. Only belgians available here, which is no problem with me. Beer was served in correct, clean glassware. Did look at a menu but not order. 6 versions of mussels and fries, should have come here for dinner instead of heartland. Prices were typical for the city. Overall an enjoyable expirence and will surely return in the future.

UDbeernut, Oct 24, 2011
Photo of Sammy
3.66/5  rDev -6.2%

Charming moderate sized European style restaurant and bar in midtown, near the theatre district. Smallish but acceptable sized bar at lunchtime, it was not too crowded. The bartender and I spoke used several French words. What brought me here was the Ommegang cuvee house beer, and I am glad it did. There are a moderate amount of taps and bottles, with a pure Belgium theme to them. Worth a stop for the cuvee, however otherwise everything else is more commonly available about town.One hit wonder, but now on radar screen.

Sammy, Mar 03, 2011
Photo of DoubleSimcoe
3.73/5  rDev -4.4%

BXL Cafe- another one of those beer joints in my neighborhood I've been to multiple times.

I'm not super impressed by this one. Beer selection is good but not great, with the classic Belgians, Maredsous, Chimay, Stella, Leffe, some Ommegang at times, Delirium and some house brews like Cuvee BXL, brewed by Ommegang exclusively for BXL.

Proper glassware is used, and servers know their beers. Quality is indeed good.

Atmosphere is whatever, a small place that gets crowded fast with tourists and happy hour office guys (plus cooks like myself getting out of the restaurants nearby).

A little loud and hot and uncomfortable when packed, but manageable enough.

You could sit at the end of the place where the dinner tables, if you're having a formal sit-down dinner. Food is OK, but not spectacular. Belgian-bistro staples cooked by efficient Mexican cocineros.

Everything is expensive here. I think the cheapest shit is the house beer, at $6-$7, everything else is $8 or more.

OK to try once, I guess.. but after that, forget about it.

DoubleSimcoe, Jan 23, 2011
Photo of sholland119
4/5  rDev +2.6%

We must have walked by this place a dozen times without noticing it. Finally stopped in to meet up with friends after a show.

BXL is located in the heart of Times Square. Ducking in we found a small place filled with people. Despite the crowd, we lucked into a table for five almost immediately. Service was quick and attentive.

There were about a dozen taps of Belgian and Belgian style beers. Tap list was fine but I was really in the mood for an Orval, which was delicious, and served in the proper glass. Followed that up with a Chimay Blue, also served in the correct glassware.

We had just finished dinner so no food for us, though it looked good.

I would not go out of my way to come here but it's a nice enough stop.

sholland119, Dec 28, 2010
Photo of morebeergood
3.5/5  rDev -10.3%

This was stop number one of my Wednesday NYC pub crawl. After the King Tut exhibit in Times Sq, I popped in here to rest for a bit with a beer. Low ceiling kind of place. Lots of decorations. A few tvs behind a very worn out looking bar. Bartender was decent enough, served me quickly. Selection was not as impressive as it could have been. They have all Belgian beers on tap, but these are what that have: Stella, Hoegaarden, Leffe, Chimay, Duvel etc. Yeah, lots of Belgian beers, but all the mainstream ones. BXL has a few other smaller breweries on tap like Brasserie d'Achouffe, and a selection of bottles, but again it's a lots of the everyday stuff. I went with a draft of a beer that I had not had before, a Belgian pils by Brouwerij Strubbe. Prices were OK considering it's Belgian beers and Times Sq. BXL seemed like a cool place to swing by for a quick beer.

morebeergood, Jul 16, 2010
Photo of FretlessC
3.65/5  rDev -6.4%

Price: $$ = reasonable for Manhattan. I think it was $7 or so for a good belgian-style beer, around $11 for the Trappists.

Location: Stuck in Times Square, BXL was quite the find. A little hole in the wall 4 short blocks down from the Mariott, with my favorite sport (soccer) playing all day long (except when it's rugby or European sports news...). Sure beats Planet Hollywood. NOTE if you're not stuck in Times Square, hit up the BXL on E 51st. It's walkable from Midtown, and it's much nicer (see review).

Atmosphere: Filled with suits and ties after work. After about 18:00, the seating area is only for dinner eaters. The two times we went, reservations weren't necessary, but a good idea. Gets crowded quickly after work, and it's a small place.

Beer: Reasonable selection. All taps, except the home-brew, were good, although most were not exceptional for a Belgian Bar. Appreciated the Steenbrugge and Chimay Blue. Appropriate glassware. Beers did not taste like they were born yesterday, but fresh enough to taste good. Service was curt, but nice, quick, and attentive. The BXL Cuvée was a huge disappointment. Tasted like it had been good three years ago but had sat in front of a fluorescent light changing temperatures and skunking rapidly for quite a while. Don't know why, since it was on tap.

Food: Mussels (moules) made me horribly sick in about 5 hours. They tasted excellent, and may have been the best I've had, but if you order them PLEASE ask them to over-cook them. The entire night was ruined. I couldn't even drink my Brooklyn Monster at the next establishment. Tragedy. The fries (frites) were disappointing compared to other Belgian establishments, but passing. Came w/ butter, interestingly.

Overall: Disappointing compared to its sister on E. 51st, but otherwise an amazing find for Times Square, with at least some really good beers. Excellent moules, but made me violently ill. Duvel-bottle-swigging after-work crowd, but everyone was nice and didn't look down on my shabby attire, so not unfriendly. What else are you going to do for beer in Times Square?

FretlessC, Nov 26, 2009
Photo of BeerBelcher
3.28/5  rDev -15.9%

I visited BXL because I was looking for a beer-focused place that wasn't too far from my hotel (it had been a long day). And what I found was an OK place - with a few interesting taps and pretty underwhelming food. I was grateful it was convenient to me, but once there, I wished I'd gone someplace better.

The bar was busy with tourists and regulars. Tap selection was OK - most of the crowd was drinking Stella. I had a Duvel draft and a Steenbrugge tripel...both were OK but not great. I had the onglet echalotte (hanger steak in wine/shallot sauce) with frites. The frites were a shade disappointing, and the meat was fatty and tough. The sauce was good though.

Service was a little inattentive. If I had the evening to do again, I would've walked a little further, or chosen a less beer-focused place with better food.

BeerBelcher, Nov 16, 2009
Photo of bonbini26
3.53/5  rDev -9.5%

Located right off the heart of Times Square, I've stopped in here 3 different times for lunch over the last few months

The crowd here usually is pretty mixed, a lot of Europeans, tourists, and business type/construction who work in the area. The bar doesn't really have specific feel to it, mostly all wooden bar, there are 2 flat screen TV's usually with a European "football match" on.

Was never impressed with the service here, the bartenders are stingy with a sample and short on the pours

The selection is all Belgians, Stella, Chimay, Leffe, Ommegang, Maredsous, Deilirum, Lindemans, and their house beer which is pretty well flavored/balanced and worth a try. Every so often they have something a little rarer on tap, but it is usually kicked. The bottle list is nothing out of the ordinary either, Duvel, Corsendonk, Chimay, Chouffe, Rochefort 6, Orval, Boon. I've found that there are other beer bars in New York with a better Belgian selection that a place like this that bills itself as a Belgian Beer bar.

The sandwiches here are pretty good, but the "frites" are a far cry from authentic Belgian ones, that was a let down here.

I've tried this place 3 different times over the last few months (mostly because I was working in the area), but I don't see myself returning. Gingerman (36th Street) or House of Brews (46th Street) is a better bet depending on the direction you're headed

bonbini26, Apr 15, 2009
Photo of Dirty1
3.33/5  rDev -14.6%

The wife and I went to the city a few nights ago and decided to check out BXL Cafe after reading about it on the web. After a few minuets of walking around we finally saw the red awning with the Duvel sign and knew we had found it. Being a friday around 6:00pm we had no problem getting a table. We were a bit disaponited to see that they didn't have Tripel Karmeilet as many reviewers mentioned it on the web. Oh well they had a few other tastey beers! We started with the Westmalle Tripel in the bottle then moved to the Maredsous 10 in the bottle. The only draught I tried was the Palm and it came out a little stale, but the waitress was cool and swapped it for a Westmalle Dubbel in the bottle. We finished off with a Maredsous 8 in the bottle. All were served in the proper glass and served at the proper temp. with a good pour. The only food we had was the cheese plate, and was very good with some interesting pairings. The rest of the menu sounded good including the mussels! We meet a couple of guys there from the city that were really cool and talked beer for a few hours. I told them about BA and promised to keep in touch.

All in all it was a cool place, definatly stop in if you are in the area, but I suspect that there are better beer bars in New York and look foward to finding them! Cheers!

Dirty1, Nov 30, 2008
Photo of sraimondi
4/5  rDev +2.6%

Stopped here this past Monday after spending some time next door at Heartland.

Very nice Euro-vibe with bar stools and lotsa wood. An interesting selection of draft lines:

Delerium Tremens
Leffe Blonde
Leffe Brown
Stella Artois
Hoegarden
Palm
Lindemans Framboise
Triple Karmaliet

Had a brown and a Palm (first time I've had this lagery brew). All beers poured in authentic glassware.Good temps for the beers. They also had a pretty good bottle list with Chimay represented.

Overall a good experience and a place I will need to spend some time at in the future.If you are in the Times Square area, give this one a try.

Steve

sraimondi, Jul 03, 2008
Photo of PEBKAC
3.96/5  rDev +1.5%

Hit this place up after first partaking in the ambiance that is Astoria, & having my fill rather quick.

Blake wanted to see Times Square, & honestly probably never slowing down once to notice, I probably wanted to see it too.

BXL was on a short list of things to see around the area, so after a couple abrupt pauses & stares into the skyline(aka walking around like a tourist), we found BXL & hopped right in.

Two simple tables hug the window & wall as you first enter, along with a nice little shelf display of vintage & newer imported bottles(including a full, fresh-looking bottle of Hoegaarden Rose that the tender wouldn't let us part with). Right next to that... the bar. Pretty slender, but with still not much room between it & the opposite wall in which to walk, we marched to the back room where there were more tables & more taps. Handles were split between the front & back room, but I believe there was a double occupancy in there somewhere. I ordered the Palm, which sucked, & Big Texas ordered the Rodenbach Grand Cru which is dear to me. The house tap we were told was Ommegang Rare Vos, or something like it. Pretty official glassware, & good airflow for such a thin place.

Didn't partake in the food, but the all you can eat mussels for $19 would of been tempting earlier in the day. You do have to be careful offering all you can eat anything around me. Beer prices were a little stiff at $8 for the Palm & $9 for the Cru, & with the tiny pours, I was initially a little confrontational. I should expect this by now, but it still hurts. I suck it up(down) & move on.

Pretty nice crowd & what seemed liked regulars coming in & out. A few dancing couples, a few dirty jokes, an attentive bartender, old school Duvel tins everywhere, & a Beer Advocate magazine waiting for me to peruse near the entrance.

Last call came & went & so did we. Back into the street with practically no where else to go but home. One of the quietest nights in the city I can remember.

PEBKAC, Jun 27, 2008
Photo of dougnboston
4.55/5  rDev +16.7%

BXL was a terrific experience. I was there on a Tuesday two times, in the afternoon to check it out and in the evening for the NBA playoffs. Both times I found a stool at the bar and found the service to be great.

I had cheese and meat platter that was very good and too much to eat it all. I also noticed some people order a bowl of fries, strange but neither items are on the menu.

Beer is fresh and there is a very good selection. They even have a house "belgian style" brew. I tasted and it wasn't what I was looking for, but it was a well made beer.

While Belgian and Belgian Style beers are pretty much the only offering I found the crowd to be a normal mix of locals taking in sports or just hanging with friends. Not a beer geeky kind of crew. I liked that.

Beer is served in appropriate glassware and cleaned/chilled with that water fountain thing you see often in euro/Belgian-pubs.

I think this is a terrific place well worth the visit.

dougnboston, Jun 12, 2008
Photo of RblWthACoz
3.78/5  rDev -3.1%

There's something about BXL that strikes me as having a womans touch. Something is just a bit softer on the edges here. It's about what you would expect for a Belgian style cafe. Quality of beer is fine and there is a decent selection as well. Don't expect anything mind-blowing though as far as rarities go. (Edit) Service can be mixed. Seems a bit distant and at times snooty. Don't correct my pronunciation of Maredsous you snot. You can't tell me that the majority of these shirts and ties in this area know all of the precise pronunciations of beers. Relax yo! The mussels I had were alright on some visits and wacked out on others. One time it tasted like they took spaghetti sauce out of a jar and used it to cook. I have had more exciting ones elsewhere. If you are in the Times Square area, this is really your best bet. Well one of the only bets when it comes down to it since The Collins Bar has left the scene. (Though it might be worth it for you to take a cab to Rattle 'n' Hum for a seriously thorough beer selection.)

RblWthACoz, May 19, 2008
Photo of ATPete
4.5/5  rDev +15.4%

Ahh now this is one of my spots to go when i am in New York city. I know that at any given time i can walk into BXL and get a perfectly poured Belgian beer from their expert staff. I hate to name drop but Matt and Ryan you guys are alright!

Great selection, draught and bottles. ON draught ive seen; Grimbergen Dubbel, Leffe, Chimay Cing Cents, amongst many others. IN bottles, McChouffe, Orval, Chimay Grande Reserve, Westmalle, Quak, Corsendonk, Ommegang, and many others.

Awesome food for a small beer bar in the heart of NYC. I recommend the beef cubes/stew, fried calamari, and the little dough things i cant quite remember the name of right now.

Sweet atmosphere, its like stepping out of NYC and into a small European pub, full with tin beer signs and great conversation all around.

go there! its 2 blocks from Port Authority.

ATPete, Mar 28, 2008
Photo of argopelter
4.03/5  rDev +3.3%

Stopped in on a Tuesday afternoon before catching a train to DC.
I had an Orval (tasty) and Stella along with lunch. The beer selection is good, but the food was average - the grilled veggie sandwich was quite rich it could have benefited from some acid.
Seemed like a local spot - business types in the afternoon and thankfully no tourists. The music wasn't too loud, but it was the afternoon and by the tail end of the lunch hour I was the only one at the bar.
The bartender was very attentive and friendly.
If you're in the neighborhood, it's worth the stop.

argopelter, Oct 04, 2007
Photo of Gavage
3.33/5  rDev -14.6%

We stopped in here looking to have a Belgian beer and look over the menu for dinner. The place was absolutely packed and the only room was a two seat table right in the middle of the place. Typical small NYC place where you can't get to your table without squeezing between the 12" space between the tables. The place has enough mirrors to make it look bigger than what it really is. The place had a European bar vibe to it but it was very loud with all the chatter and laughter of an after-work crowd.

There were about 10 Belgian beers on draft and a bunch of bottles. The beers we ordered were fresh and tasty. They came in proper logo'd glassware. The beers are a bit pricy as my draft of Triple Karmeliet was $8.

We decided to try the tomato and garlic mussels - 2 lbs for $16. When the food arrived we were very disappointed that the mussels were tiny and tasteless. The frites were soggy and tasted like any other dinner fries. That made our mind up to go elsewhere for dinner.

Is this place worth it for a Belgian beer ? Absolutely. The food is not a reason to come here. Service was also quite slow.

Gavage, Jul 02, 2007
Photo of jim102864
4.72/5  rDev +21%

Awesome. That just about sums up my experience yesterday (a Friday) at B.X.L. A phenominal Belgian cafe nestled adjacent to Times Square, B.X.L. is the Belgian fan's paradise. Small, quaint, comfortable but not pretentious, I have simply never experienced a pub that delivers such high quality beer and atmosphere. Approximately 10 belgian's on tap, each delivered in exquisite glassware like I've never seen at any other bar that serves Belgian. Their bottle list was also extensive. The waitress was attentive, knowledgeable and cheerful. I knew I should have written down the brews I drank, particularly my favorite. Since it weighed in at a hefty 10% abv and I didn't memorialize it, I'm at a loss to recall it's name.

A decent sized bar by Manhattan standards and several tables, however, get there early as the place was packed by 5 pm. I should also note the apps were good. Go for the shrimp, but avoid the clamari which was chewy. The frittes (french fries) were pleasant enough but not extraordinairy.

Regardless, this is an absolute must for the discerning Belgian fan.

jim102864, Nov 18, 2006
Photo of KroMagnon
4.2/5  rDev +7.7%

Reasonably priced, from what I'd seen, for NYC. The bartender was quite knowledgable, helpful and friendly. There were 11 Belgian beers on tap including a few I hadn't seen before. Cozy place just a block from Times Square. If you are a visitor I think this should be first on your list; if you're a local I'm sure you can find alternatives, but frankly this place was much more impressive to me than the Ginger Man (not to knock the latter, I just liked this place better, it was more unique). I'll try the food next time and review again.

KroMagnon, Sep 01, 2006
Photo of gbarron
3.35/5  rDev -14.1%

Happened to stumble upon this place while on vacation in NYC last weekend. It looked like a Belgian beer bar, so I was immediately interested.

The place is really small and narrow. You can squeeze past the bar to get to the back where you'll find a dozen or so tables. The owner was there and very friendly, helped us find a spot amongst the crowd. We were there on a Friday night and the place was a bit overwhelming and loud with the post-work/pre-theater crowd. A few groups were eating dinner, and then there were several groups of folks just having beer/wine. The service was very friendly and prompt -- and beer knowledgeable. My only complaint was the ridiculously loud music -- some sort of blaring dance/techno garbage. Not appropriate for the rest of the atmosphere at BXL which implied a laid back, neighborhood Euro bar.

Onto the beer - others have given a good account. There were roughly 10 beers on tap, ranging from Stella to Rodenbach. All were Belgian and all were priced pretty fairly, between $6 and $10. The also had a couple of dozen bottled Belgians, mainly your common ones like Corsendonk, Duvel, Orval, etc. If you're hankerin' for a regular Belgian, this is a good spot, but if you're in search of something really new, try somewhere else.

Food wise, I only had the frites and they were good, but not nearly the best Belgian style fries I've ever had.

gbarron, Jan 17, 2006
Photo of ggaughan
3.88/5  rDev -0.5%

Just went to the BXL Cafe last night. It is a block or so away from a client that I have been working at. The bar was a bit crowded when we got there but there were a few open tables in the back. The breweriana that they have lining the walks sets a nice theam for the bar. The draft selection they have is all Belgian and although that that extensive my NYC bar standards, it is pretty solid. I had a a nice glass of Rodenbach Red in the proper glassware. For a second beer I had a Triple Karmeliet also in the proper glass but this one tasted a bit off from what I expect from this beer usually. I followed that one up with my standard, a Duvel. The selection they have is nice to get some friends into good beers that usually don't drink good beers. They have a good representation of abbey's and trappist beers and others. The food here is also pretty good. We had an order of calamari and they were nice and large and crispy. I ordered the Belgian style meatballs which were very good but I didn't notice much difference between Belgian meatballs and regular Italian meatballs.

ggaughan, Dec 20, 2005
Photo of slander
4/5  rDev +2.6%

It's a minute after 1 and I'm thinkin', "Damn, I'm late for Bu. Maybe she'll be late". Still, I put down the rest of my wee heavy and head for the door. It's a whole two minute walk to the corner, down a block to 43rd, and halfway up the block to BXL, but still I feel kind of lousy for showing up 3 minutes late. Hmmmn, taps, Rodenbach, okay, I feel better now. I'd be better if it were the Grand Cru but still, I am renewed in spirit...
3 small round tables in an area forward the bar along the windows, and a 12 seat dark painted wood bar beyond that. The bar back holds a large blackboard listing the bar menu, and mirrors to both sides of center with shelving holding all the appropriate glassware above the booze below. The walls are dark wood lowers and painted uppers, with a blend of the standard modern and unusual vintage Belgian beer tins. Ceiling spots, and piped in music, Belgian or French or something (Ubu liked it). To the rear, roughly 2 dozen small tables in a room decorated with large portraits of people named Albert and Leopold.
We all did the Frites, and Kid Bu took in the mussels as well. She seemed pretty happy with them and gladly gave me up her mayo.
2 towers hold 5 beers a clip (Rodenbach, Triple Karmelit, Maredsous 8, Kwak, Chimay, Delirium Tremons, Leffe Brune and Blond, Hoegaarden, Stella), and Lindemans Framboise over there by itself where it can't hurt anything. Had me a Rodenbach, and had me another, and then thought longingly of the Grand Cru. 15 bottles (2 Corsendonk's, 4 Lindeman's, 2 Chimay's, Orval, Chouffe, Rochefort 10, Westmalle Double & Triple, Duvel, Hennepin).
Nice, comfortable, good for a beer and frites. Certainly the deal for pre or post Heartland, or both.

slander, Nov 29, 2005
Photo of Jason
3.94/5  rDev +1%

Cozy little café in the middle of Manhattan, if it was not for the blaring god awful music I'd want to hang out here more. Don't get me wrong … I like Jazz but there is no need to play it so loud that you can't here the person next to you. Great rounded selection of both Belgian beers and their American counterparts. Nothing too crazy (about 24 beers) but I wish they would at least get rid of that Inbev crap … or at least Stella. Correct glassware all around and all of the beers served to me were properly poured and at the right temperature.

Can't say much about the food … only had the frites. The servers were very quick and friendly. This a sure pick if you are in Mid-town.

Jason, Nov 12, 2005
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50  | next › last »
BXL Cafe in New York, NY
89 out of 100 based on 27 ratings.