Taps: 5 / Bottles: 180
Cask: N / Beer-to-Go: N
Ratings: 13 | Reviews: 12 | Show All Ratings:
4.82/5 rDev +7.1%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.75 | service: 5 | selection: 4.75 | $$
Ah, yes, De Kelk. A drinking man's bar. The bar opens at 7pm and may never close - I can't confirm.
We closed out both of our nights in Brugge at this temple of debauchery. It's old and a bit dirty and theres far more than meets the eye. More on that in a second.
The beerlist is strong. The selection of De Struisse beers is probably the best you'll find anywhere in the world outside of the Schoolhouse, and still, you're seeing bottles here that would be long gone there. Some very limited stuff, all the standards, and a ton of barrel aged options. They carry other beer as well, and while its not necessarily the best spot for lambic, you'll find lots of other stuff of interest. I stuck mostly to the De Struisse pages.
This is not a tourist bar. In 2 nights, I don't think I saw another tourist in the place. On the 1st night, I got into a long conversation with a local about how much we both hate Americans. A local prostitute solicited my attention and a gentleman with a "white pride" t-shirt caught the attention of my friends.
The 2nd night was going along rather quietly until a street band popped in and requested to play a few tunes. About 80% of the time, this is going to be a disaster but in this case it was absolutely fantastic. In the spirit of Beirut, they belted out accordion-infused numbers with really impressive vocals of both genders. I wish they had stayed all night. It was just one of those things that you won't forget. After they were done, we continued our conversations with the owner and were given a variety of free beers (Rodenbach Caractere Rouge, de molen weer and wind...) , samples of high end rum, and a tour of the hidden branches of the bar. If we had a 3rd night, I trust we would have spent some time in the cellar :(
Maybe not the best beerlist in town, but thats debatable I think. Unforgettable experiences and a great escape from the tourist core.
08-31-2013 17:52:27 | More by dirtylou
4.47/5 rDev -0.7%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.25 | $$
Here's the bad news, De Kelk doesn't open until 7pm. Here's the good news, De Kelk is a great spot east of the city center to grab a beer without the crowds of tourists. Only a handful of people were at the bar when I walked in during the early Wednesday evening. Champions League football of the TV, which is off to one side of the bar. Over on the side is also a computer with free internet access. A little dark inside, yet also inviting.
The first impression of the beer list; it's not huge, but there's some interesting stuff. 5 beers on-tap, including La Chouffe, Duchesse de Bourgogne, and an uber-rare Boon Lambic Foeder #10. At least 100 bottles, carrying beers from Bockor, Caracole, Oud Beersel, Malheur, Haacht, and some De Struise (including aged Weltmerz from 2010). Glassware matches the beer that is served, and despite two of my four beers being aged, the beers were in very good shape.
A shout out to the owner, who was generous enough to share his last bottle of Weltmerz, and to the Canadian beer enthusiasts who were there to talk him into it. I also learned a few things about the beer that I drank from the owner. Very helpful throughout the night, I might add.
De Kelk is simply a great place for Bruges drinking. The whole experience made De Kelk my favorite spot that I hit in the city, and that's saying something in a city which already has Staminee de Gare and Brugs Beertje.
05-22-2013 18:07:12 | More by DoubleJ
4.6/5 rDev +2.2%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.5 | $$
Had the pleasure of visiting De Kelk on the owners Birthday. What a night ! Very hospitable people and very knowledgable beer people. The array of Geuzes is very impressive. The atmosphere was very good in a rock influenced way. A must try for Brugge and worth the walk from the town centrum
01-24-2013 12:24:13 | More by eric5bellies
3.29/5 rDev -26.9%
vibe: 2 | quality: 3 | service: 3 | selection: 4.5 | $$
I understand how bar culture and norms will differentiate between countries. What's acceptable in one place is certainly not in the other. That being said, we were pretty disappointed with De Kelk.
We set off for De Kelk after dinner, probably around 10pm on a Wednesday. I had high expectations going into this place based on previous reviews, however those were instantly destroyed upon walking into a bar that was absolutely full of smoke. It didn't help that the guy bartending (possibly the owner?) was ripping butts the entire time. We sat at the front of the room near the big window, but struggled to read the menu because it was so dark. Bad start.
Once we got our bearings on the beer menu, things turned a bit more positive, as there was an impressive variety of bottles to choose from. The heavy smoke made my Girardin Gueuze a little less enjoyable, but we stuck it out for another round. By then they had opened the doors and the bartender had stopped smoking - I could see how this might be a nice place to have a beer.
Maybe it was an off-night or this is the norm for De Kelk, but either way it (literally) left a bad taste in my mouth.
08-24-2011 16:03:55 | More by gdkersey
United Kingdom (England)
5/5 rDev +11.1%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | $$
Great atmosphere here, and a really fantastic beer list, containing a number of De Struise beers and most of the La Trappe Oak-Aged batches.
Shared an Oak-Aged La Trappe (batch 7) with my girlfriend, and the owner was really great; he spent quite a bit of time with us, and was very interested in what we thought of the beer.
After that he brought us out an aged Tsjeeses Reserva, and gleefully took us on a whistle-stop tour of his aging rooms, where shelves of lambics sat developing toward their full potential.
Well worth a visit!
08-16-2011 18:58:16 | More by ministoat
4.8/5 rDev +6.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | $$
One of my favorite bars in Bruges. The bartender is very nice and helpful and the selection is impressive. Good music as well. (Literally sitting in this bar as I type this listening to The Doors, Cream, and Creedence Clearwater). If you find yourself in Bruges, this place is a must see.
Commentary from my wife: other than Cambrinus and (little bear Bruges) this is one of the only local beer bars I would come back to in Bruges. It's a ways from the city center and tourists, and reminds me of bars back home in Texas - except with a ton of what my husband says is amazing beer.
07-21-2011 18:07:25 | More by RSaw
4.94/5 rDev +9.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | $$
One of my favorite bars in Belgium.
By pure accident, I walked into De Kelk about 5 minutes before they opened for the evening. While they clearly weren't quite ready for customers yet, I was still warmly greeted by the owner. As we sat down at the bar and started flipping through the beer list, the owner told me to push it aside and follow him to the back. From there he told me to look through the big coolers and pick out what I wanted to drink. Awesome. About 300 or so different bottles maybe - plenty of everything to choose from. They also had a few taps with the usual suspects (Zot, Hoegaarden, etc.). His goal is to get to 1000 beers in stock.
As we continued chatting, he eventually offered to show me his storage "cellar" (it was actually upstairs). As we spoke about various beers that I was able to try, I casually mentioned that I had been unable to hunt down a certain special beer. Without skipping a beat he walked over to another shelf, and came back and handed me a bottle of said beer not to be named. As I picked my jaw up off of the floor, I asked him what he wanted for it. His response "I will not sell that beer, but I will give it to you."
When it comes down to it, with hospitality and generosity like that, the type of beer I'm drinking is of secondary importance, but De Kelk still managed to nail the beer aspect of the equation. As good as any beer bar in Brugges, I see no reason why you would not want to visit this place on your trip.
Most interesting part of the visit - finding out that the owner doesn't really even drink beer. He prefers champagne!
02-06-2010 18:22:16 | More by cbeer88
United Kingdom (England)
4.56/5 rDev +1.3%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | $$
'Far from the madding crowd' (good name for a book or a film that), this bar is worth the walk, plus it is only two doors away from the excellent Bierboom shop/bar.
The music was great, a bit loud for the size of the place, but if Brian Ferry and 10cc rock your boat, then get yourself down here.
At the moment there is only a front bar and a room containing large fridges with glass fronted doors to one side. The idea is, you go in, say hello and walk on through to the right of the bar, down the corridor and choose your bottle from the fridges (there are other uncooled beers down this room/corridor too). At least that is what we did, not really sure you can do that on a busy night? You then take it back and it is poured into a glass for you. On tap they had both Zott biers, a pilsner and a kriek (I think), the bottled selection changes with the seasons and the owners whim.
I didn't see or ask for a beer menu, we just got taken to the fridges by the owner.
Talking of the owner (Peter), he is only opening at 17.00 at the moment because he is working on the place during the day and doesn't want dust getting into anyones beer.
He has obtained some land next door and is opening a terrace and a larger back bar, hopefully in September 2009, the floor is done, and the actual bar is also in position. I also got taken upstairs where Peter explained how he was going to have another bar above the rear one and a lot more fidges. At the moment he has around 400 beers, but can't cool them all, so only has about 180 on offer at any one time. The master plan is to have 1,000 cooled beers to chose from, that will be sometime in 2010.
I shall be checking the progress with interest and am certainly looking forward to seeing the finished product and drinking some interesting beers from the mega list.
07-04-2009 15:34:01 | More by BlackHaddock
4.64/5 rDev +3.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | $$
All due respect to the Beertje, this will be our go-to place now in Brugges. We visited Nov 23/24 2008 and got to sample from an extensive list of 44 xmas beers. Great selection including Struise Jesus Reserve which was served from a ridiculous goblet.
At the time the owner had over 350 beers in stock -- now the webpage is listing over 600.
This place is off the tourist path, with a decidedly edgy atmosphere. Think more along Toronado in SF or Brooklyn Barcade lines than anything else in Brugges. A locals bar with passion and a fabulous bottle list.
We like edgy places so the atmosphere score takes that into account. We felt like locals by the time we left, with many fabulous beers under our belts.
When we visited, the bar consisted of the single, relatively small front room that you can see in pictures on the web site. A couple tables up by the front window, and maybe one or two high tops by the champagne bottle racks. Not a huge space. Most of the room is the inviting central bar surrounded by stools. There were renovations going on in a larger back room and notably, the bathrooms were also in the midst of an upgrade.
02-16-2009 14:07:14 | More by 4thoseabout2bock
4.14/5 rDev -8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | $$
I visited this place shortly after it opened (at 5pm) on a recent cold Friday evening. To be honest, at first glance it looked a little forbidding as it had not "warmed up yet" and they had not lit the candles etc., that give it much atmosphere. But we were instantly greeted by Peter, the owner and he enthusiatically showed us 25 Christmas beers that he had just got in, and promised another 20 by the following week.
So we settled down, firstly with a Pater Lieven Kerstbier (2008), followed by a Dolle Brewers stout. That was certainly enough to drive the cold winter away. By this time the place had become much more lively. There was an excellent beer menu, and we had our most enjoyable evening of our 4 day Bruges visit.
After talking with the owner, he took me upstairs, where he showed me where they are creating a beer warehouse, that will hopefully open in May 2009. I wish them every success!
The only downside was that the toilets could do with some improving!
11-04-2008 15:28:50 | More by JohnfromDublin
De Kelk in Brugge, Belgium
96 out of 100 based on 13 ratings.