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Café Bruges

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BA SCORE
94
outstanding

17 Ratings
Ratings: 17
Reviews: 11
rAvg: 4.29
pDev: 8.16%
Taps: 6
Bottles: 95
Cask: N
Beer-to-Go: N
[ Bar, Eatery ]

16 N Pitt St
Carlisle, Pennsylvania, 17013-2941
United States
phone: (717) 960-0223

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap 

Notes:
None, yet.

(Place added by: akorsak on 07-04-2009)
Place: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 17 | Reviews: 11 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of BeerCon5
5/5  rDev +16.6%

BeerCon5, Sep 23, 2014
Photo of BcOneSeven
4/5  rDev -6.8%

BcOneSeven, Aug 02, 2014
Photo of RblWthACoz
4.26/5  rDev -0.7%

Wow, what a great spot. Nice, clean looking place. Dark green paint throughout and a lot of tables. Nice looking bar area also. The beer selection is only Belgian ales, but without exaggeration, I think that they have pretty much most Belgian beers that are available in the U.S. I'm not kidding. They even get Cantillon in, apparently. (Doubt it lasts long.) Food was okay. Above average, but not mind blowing. You could certainly do a lot worse. Service was very good. Only one guy in the house during lunch service while I was there, but he knew a lot and knew what he was talking about. This place really is a gem and should be visited if you have the chance.

RblWthACoz, Jul 30, 2014
Photo of illeagle05
4.5/5  rDev +4.9%

illeagle05, Jun 09, 2014
Photo of GeorgianBayPackr
3.5/5  rDev -18.4%

GeorgianBayPackr, Mar 08, 2014
Photo of BillRoth
4.25/5  rDev -0.9%

BillRoth, Nov 11, 2013
Photo of garuda
4/5  rDev -6.8%

garuda, Oct 09, 2013
Photo of MarvinSnyder
4.36/5  rDev +1.6%

Notes from Tuesday, September 24, 2013.

I have been to this place several times, but just decided to rate it on beer advocate. As soon as you enter there are beer magazines to peruse. The beer selection is focused on Belgian beers and is quite excellent for this region of Pennsylvania, and many other regions for that matter. The draft list is small but good. The food is Belgian in focus and is quite impressive. I had rabbit fricasee, which I paired with a Belgian IPA and then a dubbel.

Overall, I have been extremely pleased with this place during all of my visits. It is a unique place nestled in the heart of Pennsylvania, and one that I will visit again soon.

MarvinSnyder, Oct 01, 2013
Photo of pburland23
4.33/5  rDev +0.9%

Was in Carlisle last weekend for my ten year college reunion and decided to hit Cafe Bruges for dinner on Saturday night based on the recommendation of a classmate who lives in town.

Walked in around 7:00 or so and told it would be a half hour wait for a table. However, there were four seats together at the bar so we decided to eat and drink there. Atmosphere was nice basically it was a plain rectangular room adorn with Belgian breweriana. The bar ran the width of the back of the restaurant.

The bartender was quite friendly and knowledgable, however the service was perhaps a little slow. It was a busy Saturday night and the pace of meal did feel European to me so I can't complain too much.

The beer selection was 100% Belgian with 6 or 7 taps and around 100 bottled offerings. I opted for a Monk's Cafe Flemish Sour Red. Two of my friends asked for recommendations and the bartender did a nice job walking them through some choices.

The food was quite delicious...a real treat for Carlisle. I opted for the moules frites with a spicy sriracha mayo dipping sauce for the frites which was outstanding. I thought the beer and food prices were very reasonable for the quality.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed dinner and drinks at Cafe Bruges. A real plus for the Carlisle dining and beer scene.

pburland23, Jun 16, 2012
Photo of Dweedlebug
4.55/5  rDev +6.1%

Cafe Bruges is a little slice of "Monks Cafe" right here in central PA. Sure the beer is expensive, but everything they sell is from Belgium, what do you expect? One of the few places in central PA that you can get a Sour beer, and on tap at that.

The menu is quite diverse and very Belgian. They even serve rabbit. At the same time, it is quite affordable. It's $19 for a steak w/ frites. Frites by themselves are $5, so the steak is really only $14. That's pretty good for a steak and green beans. Those frites, by the way, are double fried in beef tallow. Good luck finding any fries as tasty in a 50 mile radius.

As for the beer selection, I doubt you will find a finer Belgium selection outside a major city. At my last count, which was the week of 2/19/12, they had 6 draft beers and 111 bottles. I have a copy of the beer menu, so just message me if you want me to send you scans of it ( it's 14 pages, some of which are just info on different beer styles)

PS. BA magazine is available at the bar for you to flip through, along with other random beer books. You don't find that just anywhere, do you?

Dweedlebug, Feb 28, 2012
Photo of maxpacemph
5/5  rDev +16.6%

Arriving at this Belgium beer spot was quite impressive. Their kitchen is seen from the street through a large glass window extending across the whole front of the cafe.
I was greeted immediately by a very friendly host that made me feel very welcome. Sinjin the beer specialist chatted it up rather expertly as I sat at the bar cruising the Belgium menu. I was very impresses with their selection and the menu had each beer under its specific style listed with great convenience. I admit I was impressed at their glassware, and overall quality of the building this excellent cafe resided in. If you are a Belgium beer lover, this place will be perfect for your palate! Overall, I wish i had more time. to stay and drink, eat, and chat it up!

maxpacemph, Jun 27, 2011
Photo of robbyc1
4.22/5  rDev -1.6%

This is a nice setup for a Belgian place, in the middle of nowhere Pennsylvania. Let me note that I tried to buy some beer for home consumption at a liquor store, only to be told a case is the minimum. How ridiculous is that, thankfully I do not live here.

The many tables and small bar echoed a European location, maybe France or Belgium. Very fine greeter, gave us special service.

The quality of food and drink were very good, frites and all preparations well made, the beers all came in glassware appropriate for the style if not the beer itself. Direct service was awesome, attentive, just right.

I'm gonna say the selection was good not great, with only 6 or so taps it's hard to declare it's a major destination, but the 50+ bottle list is all Belgian and represents all styles. Not as deep as say a Hopleaf in Chicago my home, but well done nonetheless. A nice offering is the sampler for $10, 4 generous 5 oz servings, might be the best deal in the place, more on that below.

The food was very well done, Steak Frites, a white fish stew, burgers for the less adventurous, and a killer sausage platter. Great sauces for the frites.

Expensive, yes, this is all Belgian, but a routine bottle offering (Orval say) was $10 for a 12ozer, taps ranged from $5 - $9. Its was hard to find an offering under $7. I just think this is limiting their clientele, drawn to a great extent from the college driven population (profs, workers, etc.) of Dickinson College, the nations oldest?? Anyway the downtown is quite nice and it's nice to see a place like this in a place like this. Recommended.

robbyc1, Sep 25, 2010
Photo of slander
4.33/5  rDev +0.9%

Hardly a hoofin' it up to Car-lizzle for din; more of a stop in on the way back home breaking up the ride some. Wonderin' if I can I find that place them peoples was talking about? Not the brewpub, but the little Belgian place, and of course I did, it was tucked around the corner. Like you can hide beer from me, right...

Inviting open room with a sectioned kitchen area in the far corner from the entrance. Through past the seating to the bar, afar; "L" shaped, light wood with a lip and a foot place seating 8. The barback holds 6 taps on a stainless steel panel on center, with bottle coolers to both sides. Glassware of all sizes and shapes, random bottles and flight racks displayed above and more glassware shelved below. Belgian brewery tins displayed above and a large draft beer blackboard. Drop discus lighting traces over the bar.

Plank wood floorings, deep green walls over wood slat lowers, pressed tin ceiling up front, large logo window up front matching duct work, spinning fans & matching drop disc lighting. Framed mirrors, beer banners, and some nice prints of the Belgian landscape and otherwise. Including a, and I never noticed it until the other night, a large framed b/w print of a peeing cherub over there near the bathrooms. A row of 2-seaters on the far wall sharing wood common benchage, and a dozen and a half 2 & 4 seat tables in rows across the floor.

6 taps (Monks Flemish Sour Red, Brugse Zot, Wittekerke, Piraat, Bavik, Lindemans Framboise) with very little change (Piraat had been replaced by Affligem Blond on one visit), and an all Belgian (with none of the usual American made Belgian style entries) bottled menu broken out by style. There were 60 bottles when I first visited in October, then 80+ a week or two later, and they're now pushing 100, Not the crazy crazy but some very nice selections.

I started with a Cazeau Tournay Noire, then a Poperings Hommel and migrated naturally towards lovely Orval for finish. And foodings due, I perused the menu some; small but tight, offering less than a dozen light fare/app items and the same collectively for entrees & sandwiches sans the daily specials. Was eyeing the Frisee salad to start with but sometimes really just wanted a cone of frites, and so it was, pulling the Asian spicy hot mayo from the list of sauce choices. And there will be an entrée. Thought about the Stoemp Saucisse but opted not going instead with the Carbonnade Flamande which was very good in its stewy parslayed potatoness. Garret fessed up with Cornichon (baby French pickles) for all at the bar and there was much rejoicing. Dessertwise, I really would have liked the trio of sorbets but did refrain.

On returning a RIP to LoPip week later, I ate the same but kicked off with a De Dolle Oerbier, moving next to an Oud Beersel Kriek, served in an appropriate nice non Lindemans flute glass.

And a work dinner last week with Werfel, she had the Flemish Onion soup (sweet onions, potatoes, vegetable broth, a little milk & Gruyere croutons) and the yummy burger she won't stop talking about (cooked as requested medium and well seasoned, cheese and bun of good, liked the sauce choice and side pickled perfect). I had the Waterzooi of chicken (light creamy chicken & vegetable stew) and the grilled chicken sandwich marinated in crazy, lettuce, tomato & onion and Gruyere cheese on a soft soft roll. All this and the most unusual house made chips, they were good. She let me choose beers for her which is fun yet most dengerous. Started with Corsendonk Brown (loved), then the Caracole Nostradamus (described as tasting like something she used to sneak-drink from her parent's liquor cabinet at family gatherings as a kid, though not necessarily in a bad way), and wound down with the Troubador Oscura (liked it, but not as much as winner Corsendonk). Having rolled in on a long drive out today, I passed on the Hanssens & Beersel Gueuzes for a straight Orval, DuPont & Oerbier triumvirate.

Garret's behind the bar most nights, he does a fine job of the beer here; it's fresh, and they move it well. I do approve and the food's good, as well. They've got a nice grown up crowd but some kids, too, drinking the wares and exploring better beer. It's a good comfortable house, the piped in foreign music setting the vibe some. It'd be the place to go in town even if it weren't the only Belgian game 'round and around...

slander, Feb 02, 2010
Photo of jp11801
4.33/5  rDev +0.9%

I was out in Carlisle checking out the area for a relocation move and found Cafe Bruges on BA and decided to give it a try.

NIce tap selections it is always nice to get Monk's Flemish Sour on draft along with 5 (I think) others all Belgian. There is also a very respectable bottle selection as well. Living in the SF Bay Area and visiting NYC twice annually can spoil a person but given the location and theme of the bar I can not complain at all.

The wood interior is well appointed and neat in appearance. Both nights I went in it was a slower night so sound was not an issue for me as stated in earlier reviews.

The selection is great and runs the gamut of Belgian styles from sours, to lambics, doubles to quads and stouts to name a few. Most of the top brands and a few sleepers are on the beer list and it is in keeping with what I have found price wise in most other Belgian bars.

Service is outstanding, very friendly and prompt service. They provide solid recommendations to beginners and can steer even a jaded beer lover into a new selection.

Food is stand out here and the burger was fantastic! We also had the mussels (a house specialty and expected at a Belgian place)great and highly recommended. There are a few preparation choices and the two I tried were very well done. The frites were ok and were really the only so so part of my experience here. The chips are local made and really good.

Overall a great experience and once my move is complete will be a regular spot for me. Two thumbs up!

jp11801, Jan 16, 2010
Photo of akorsak
4.08/5  rDev -4.9%

Ksak and I visited on a night when the monsters were sent to State College. It's also the night before we find out Monster (III)'s gender.

Atmosphere: The restaurant is much cozier than I expected, with 20-25 tables and a bar. From the street, the kitchen is visible. A long bar sits at the back of the restaurant with 6 taps and 2 coolers.

Quality: I was generally imrpessed with the whole shebang. Service was friendly, food was decent. Cleanliness, both in the bathrooms and the dining area were impeccable. They even have the classy frite serving vessels.

Service: Prompt on entrance, seated immediately. Our waitress stopped by regularly for food and refills.

Selection: Six beers on tap. I had Brugse Zot and Bière Du Boucanier Golden. Monk's Flemish Red, Bavik, Lindeman's Framboise and Wittekerk rounded out the draught selection. A nice array of Belgian bottles sat in the coolers. Surprisingly, there were no Belgo-American offerings like Ommegang or Allagash. Duvel on tap but I'd love to see Duvel Green on tap.

Food: A promising menu that came up just a little short. I found the frites unappealing. I can't pinpoint why, they just left a bad taste. My lamb burger was baaa-licious, if not a little dry. Ksak's mussels were good, per her. I hate 'em. If I were more adventurous, I'd have the waterzooi.

Prices are decent for the Belgian tap and bottle offerings. Food seemed a light too pricey but I'd go back again.

akorsak, Sep 11, 2009
Photo of Slatetank
4.2/5  rDev -2.1%

I suggested Cafe Bruges when the subject of lunch with relatives in from California came up. We got to the restaurant late (1:30 our appointed time was 12:30, but it was still halfway busy).

The restaurant is a moderately sized space and open like you might expect a cafe to be. There are plenty of tables and the bar in the back is l shaped and similar to the Abbey Bar at Appalachian Brewing Company, seats around 10. Along the left side there are wooden booths and as mentioned the color scheme is earthtones with hunter green walls. I noticed the 'new' smell of wood immediately upon coming in the entryway - it was as if you stepped into a humidor. I like the photography and Belgian banners like Bavik, in the bar area. at the community board near the Maître d's stand there is an old map of Brugge. The only thing that detracts for me is it is open and mostly wood so the noise level was high even when the place is only half busy.

The quality is very good with authentic belgian selections and frites served in cones as you might see in a Belgian cafe. They use the appropriate glassware and the owner served my Dupont and poured it instead of plopping it down next to the glass with the cork. I like the way the menu is presented with detailed explanation of both food and beer selections with the beer given its own menu that is broken down by beer styles.

The food was very good - we started off with a sampling of Frites, cheese croquettes, leek tart, green beans and potatoes and Thai mussels for the 7 of us was pretty filling. the flavors were not overdone and the mussels were seasoned and cooked well with a tasty coconut chile broth. The frites were not as crisp immediately but the batch my wife ordered were spot on. I enjoyed the Bruxelles mussels as my main course with were seasoned with garlic, ale and bacon - excellent with my Saison Dupont! I sampled the sirloin and lamb burgers and found them to done very well and the lamb was seasoned nicely. I did not try the Waterzooi, but heard it was chowder like and witnessed my cousin enjoying the broth. All in all I don't think I can say there were many flaws at all -very good food.

The service was decent, but only one waitress for the room so a bit of a slow start. She made up for that with her friendly eager demeanor. I appreciated the accuracy and willingness to accommodate our large group. I valued the team effort and the owner talked briefly with us and took a group picture out front after our meal which was nice. I found the prompt and friendly service to be very pleasant.

The beer selection is very good with at least 30-50 bottles displayed in two small coolers at the bar. The styles range from Belgian Pale, Lambic, Trappist, Foreign extra Stout, Wit, and Geueze to Bière de Champagne and Bière de Garde. They have a small, but varied tap list of 6 which included Bruges Zot, Bavik, Lindeman's Framboise, Witterke to name a few. I have seen better selections, but for a strictly Belgian Theme and for the area it is very good.

I highly recommend Cafe Bruges if you want to try some Belgian food with a wide selection of Belgian ales to accompany, the pricing was not that bad with $8 burgers served with hot asian mayo or house made ketchup, but some of the dinner selections can be pricy. I am glad we got to experience the Cafe Bruges and the Belgian waffle was cooked perfectly - Op uw gezondheid!

Slatetank, Sep 06, 2009
Photo of 86sportster883
4/5  rDev -6.8%

Cafe Bruges is a moderately sized, singular square room with dark green walls adorned with Belgian beer placards and pictures from the town of Bruges. Being alone, I sat at the bar in the back of the room where I felt immediately anti-social as I had my back to the rest of the crowd. I ordered a lb of steamed mussels -$10 (prepared Bruges style: white wine, shallots, butter and parsley) and a Monk's Flemish Sour ($6, ~14oz). The mussels were excellent and went perfectly w/my beer.

They were out of the Bruges Zot (listed as the house ale), so the bartender suggested either the Palm Amber ($9) or the DeKoninck ($7) instead. I went with the Palm which was light and refreshing with a palate cleansing finish.

As my main meal I ordered the Carbonade Flamande (Flemish beef stew, $17) and contemplated what beer to pair with it. On tap they offered: Wittekerle, Hoegarden, Monk's, Biere du Boucanier, Gulden Draak and Lindeman's Framboise. In bottles they had a very decent selection of Belgian Blondes, Doubles, Triples and Trappist ales, as well as, a few Reds, Gueuzes and Lambics.

The stew came out fairly quick, so I stuck with the Palm and ordered a glass of water on the side. The stew was quite tasty, almost sweet from the onions, and compensated for the beef which seemed at times a bit too dry. My favorite part of this meal was using the bread to sop up the rich, flavorful remnants of the stew.

Although a bit pricey ($50+ w/tax & tip), Cafe Bruges offers some uniquely Belgian fare to go with a robust selection of Belgian brews. A Belgian restaurant and beer bar struck me as an odd find for south central PA, but a welcome addition.

86sportster883, Jul 12, 2009
Café Bruges in Carlisle, PA
94 out of 100 based on 17 ratings.