Ratings: 11 | Reviews: 9 | Display Reviews Only:
3.53/5 rDev +4.1%
Stumbling into Velootje (Bikeshop) in the middle of our 3 week beer vacation was just what we needed. With a smartphone we had no problem finding the doorway at the approximate address with some various beer-related items sitting on the sidewalk around the door and it didn't take much gumption to pull back the curtain (or was it a rug hanging over the inner doorway) to enter into wonderland. In a dark room a couple of friendly batches of people were sitting at tables drinking and talking to each other. The owner, a bearded man in a slightly tacky Xmas sweater, approached and asked if we liked beer.
"Do you like Christmas beer?"
"Sit over there and I will bring you some ###." (name forgotten)
We then did a bit of a dance to let 4 people who were leaving get past us on the goat-paths between stuff piled on the floor and tables and hanging from the ceiling and the tables and then we squeezed into a table.
The proprietor brought us 2 plastic cups full of some sort of dark Xmas beer.
We sat 'friendly-close' to the people near us as another group of 4 came in and were directed to sit and we all made room.
And we grinned with delight.
And unlike most of the places we'd been to recently, we had conversations with the random tourists around us from near and far away.
Everyone was in good spirits as we looked around at the various accumulated things: lots of beer paraphernalia, bird cages, tea lights, Christmas lights, broken toys. I did much later notice some bicycles hanging from the ceiling that had acquired at least a couple layers of encrustations of stuff hanging further. The general consensus was that we were in some sort of garage.
The owner started a fire in the fireplace (Whoa, there's a fireplace in here?) and everyone's eyes went wide(r) but then we did the math and calmed back down.
When it was time to leave, we paid the nice man for the experience, gave him a Big Daddy IPA sticker from Speakeasy brewery down the street from our home, and then he started digging in the near-by pile of Christmas sweaters (of course!) looking for a T-shirt for some American brewer.
Magical, and just what we needed.
01-14-2014 05:36:36 | More by roymeo
3.85/5 rDev +13.6%
I only had one place left on my list and it was definitely chosen due to atmosphere over beer selection. It is called 't Velootje and is run by an eccentric barkeep named Lieven. It is famous for having dozens upon dozens of bicycles suspended from the ceiling. But that doesn't tell the whole story.
We arrived to an empty bar except for Lieven. Perhaps empty is the wrong word...we had to step over various pieces if junk to get into the place. Lieven helped us out, cleared off a spot at a bench and table. The lighting was virtually non-existent a couple of hanging lights and the glow fo the CRT from the owner's computer but our table was quite dark. There were candles but Lieven didn't have any matches handy and asked if we had some. We did not with neither of us being smokers so he went to finds some matches.
He returned, lit our candles, grabbed two beers (Slapmulke Blonde and Brune) popped the tops, handed them to us and hurried away. Mind you, we had not ordered these beers, nor had he asked us what beers we wanted or offered us a menu. Nor did we have any glasses to drink from, an oddity in Belgium. OK...
We sat at the candlelit wooden tables, seated on benches and took in the scene. A waist-high stack of cases full of Rochefort 8 and McChouffe. Bicycles of various sizes and shapes hanging feom the ceiling just more than a foot above our heads. A jar of mystery liquid, a hazy yellow, on our table. Gas lamps strung together but non working. Stacks of newspapers everywhere. Great music playing over the speakers, the best of the whole trip. The words don't do the clutter justice; the most bizarre pub atmosphere I've ever witnessed. Dave paid for the beers, a whopping 5 Euro a bottle and we moved on.
Yes, it was odd, cluttered, unprofessional and overpriced....but it's one of the best places to have a beer I've ever been to. Unmissable in my opinion, especially if you have a sense of humor. It was a stellar experience.
05-27-2010 13:20:42 | More by ViveLaChouffe
United Kingdom (England)
3.2/5 rDev -5.6%
We couldn't find this to begin with, and I asked a strange looking guy in a workshop opposite if this place was velootje - the address was right so I figured he might know!
"Yes yes!" he replied enthusiastically, and led me and my girlfriend into the most cluttered room we've ever seen in our lives, asking "Will you try some beer?"
Well yes, that's why we'd searched out this odd little bike shed..I asked if he had Rochefort 10.."No not any more!"
He wandered off and returned with two bottles of warm Pater Lieven, no glasses, and told us that we could light a candle. Upon lighting this candle the sheer messy glory of Velootje was revealed!
We had a cat sleeping on a table behind us, and our tiny table was the only place possible to sit - we were surrounded by boxes of tapes, empty bottles, bags full of junk..
After reading the reviews this place was far crazier than could ever be imagined. The cat was sweet and wandered over our laps to have a snooze next to us as we drank. We were basically left on our own for our time there, and checked on at one point by another person, maybe the owners son?
Our two beers cost us 8 euros, not particularly expensive compared to the rest of Ghent, and Velootje is definitely worth a visit purely for this once-in-a-lifetime experience!
08-13-2009 20:44:13 | More by ministoat
United Kingdom (England)
2.73/5 rDev -19.5%
Bizarre, perplexing and weird are the best three words I can spell, that sum up this place.
I forced my reluctant wife to enter what can only be discribed as a dirty, full garage or shed. We were met by a bearded chap (Pater Lieven) with three Christmas jumpers on, he moved some rags, wood and an empty crate to reveal a bench seat and a small but long, thin table. Above our heads were a multitude of old bikes, lamps, bird cages (with plastic fish in them) and religious artifacts, there is other stuff too, but you only have 5000 characters in a Beerfly review. The only light came from candles and a roaring wood fire at the far end of the garage/shed.
Through the gloom we now saw other people, some young French speakers and a group of middle aged Flemish men. I asked if he had any Amber beers, he said he only had dark and wandered off to return with two bottles of Rochefort Trappist Ale 10 and no glasses. My wife decided we didn't want to ask for glasses because of cleaning issues, so we risked Viles Disease instead.
Half way through our beer the Flemish chaps left and Pater choose that moment to replenish the fire. He rummaged around and came up with an electric circular saw and proceeded to cut up a wooden pallet covering my wife with wood shavings. There was plenty of wood stacked around the room, but just for show (I assume) he wanted to fill the room with noise and wood dust.
Have a look by all means, but don't expect a cheap beer and just enjoy the strange ways of a deranged, disturbed, unbalanced owner.
01-22-2009 16:51:05 | More by BlackHaddock
3.96/5 rDev +16.8%
Our first beers in Belgium were had here (February '07)
We stumbled upon this rare place upon our initial walk through Gent. The proprietor was outside smoking a cigar and greeted us as we went by. He invited us in for beers and our journey began.
This is no bar. This is the over-stuffed garage of a very eccentric person. We wiped the sawdust from the wooden benches and maneuvered our way through miscellaneous garage sale antique trash to have a seat. There are bicycles hanging from the ceiling. Random items were stacked into every nook and cranny. The junk included crates, old beer items, lamps, religious items, pottery, plants, kindling, tools, art and furniture. "6 beers? questioned the proprietor. He returned with six random bottles and no glasses. We went with the flow and drank from the bottle.
The owner threw on some Johnny Cash and Beach Boy music while lighting candles and methodically rearranging junk. My high service score is reflective of the "show" that he put on. I put "show" in quotations because he may have just been his eccentric self. He had us sign his guest book and engaged in some interesting conversation.
Our one round of six beers cost 36 Euro. So, be warned that this is indeed an overpriced gimmick. You will find no menu/beer list or anything to prepare you for the price inflation. Really, you are paying for the unique experience.
If you are into having a bizarre, overpriced, highly memorable experience then I highly recommend stopping in for one beer. This is certainly the most memorable establishment that I've ever visited.
02-27-2007 16:51:00 | More by Estarrio
3.8/5 rDev +12.1%
Let's start at the beginning.
After leaving Aba-Jour we spotted the alley, Kalversteeg, on which we had mapped Velootje. As we came down the alley some children were playing and some gentlemen were sitting around a table on overturned trash cans and under an umbrella with one in a lawn chair. We passed and walked to the dead end, came back and asked a one of the guys on the trashcan where the bar was located. He replied "I don't know, I'm from Sweden, but this is an interesting bar." With that one from our group walked in the door and immediately came back out with a report that this was someones messy basement or house, not a bar.
As we walked away, someone jumped up and beckoned up to come inside. We walked in to a little shop of horrors. As we entered he was lighting oil lamps which barely illuminate the space. It would be difficult to put into words just how scary, spooky and wonderful the place was all at the same time. He asked us, "You want special beer?", in a thick Flemish accent. We replied to bring us three.
While he was gone we looked around and could see nothing but overhanging bicycles, lamps, ropes, clothes and debris. The place smelled of oil lamps and cat feces. A mangy animal roamed around the picnic table seating. Beside me were stacks of old crates and books. We used the camera and flashlight to see what lurked in the corners. At any moment you knew that he would return and hack you into little pieces. Words and pictures just cannot relay the experience.
He returned with three Melse Koekoek (by De Proef we later found out). We asked for glasses and as I was pouring mine the wife pointed out that the glasses were water spotted and not exactly clean. No worries, the beer was good and with spooky French music in the background over time a sense of peace invaded. Later the owner, Lieven, brought us a guestbook to sign. We noticed that it was only dated from June and inscribed the book.
We went outside to the alley after having our first round and with our nerves back intact began to speak with Lieven. He has owned the place for 21 years and lives upstairs. He only opens when he feels like it since he works construction during the day. He purchases beer at the store and so we never did find out what the selestion was, for sure the Melse Koekoek, Pater Lieven and Rocheford 10. We asked about the guestbooks and he says he has them sitting upright in the eves of his home and they stretch for 4.5 meters. One in our party inquired about a T-shirt and he asked if he would put it on. Once he said yes he produced one from somewhere in the back.
The kicker of it all was when we were getting ready to leave. We had been there awhile but had only had 5 beers total and whatever the T-shirt was going to cost. The total bill was 39.5 Euro. If you go, make that WHEN you go, be sure to ask about his selection, bring the wallet, and more importantly, bring your own glass!
Visited on September 15, 2006.
Note: p202 of Good Beer Guide to Belgium has an old picture of the inside of the place. It's a flash picture and does not even begin to show the detail. We had Lieven sign that page or our book.
10-20-2006 14:04:22 | More by GCBrewingCo
4.26/5 rDev +25.7%
If you're seeking the world's strangest beer bars, this is a must-see. If you go to 't Velootje to have a beer, you will not forget this place for the rest of your life. Upon entering, the first thing I noticed is the smell of the fire burning in the fireplace. You follow the path (through all the stuff) to get to a table, and the owner will come by to take your beer order. The tables are covered with lit church candles, so there is a weird glow to the place. Think of a haunted house that serves beer. From the ceiling hangs antique bicycles that have been there for a hundred years. There are religious statues all over the place too. While we were enjoying our beers, a black cat comes walking down the table to visit. With all the strangeness going on, the beer menu is impressive, and I had my favorite, a Rochefort 10. If you are in Gent, check this place out.
02-02-2006 21:27:28 | More by Hutson
3.85/5 rDev +13.6%
This small eclectic place's name means "little bicycle". The 500 year old space off the canal is jam-packed with many bike artifacts, lanterns and a burgundian open hearth. The bikes hang from the ceiling, even in the small bathroom! Very atmospheric, with an eccentric bearded owner and scores of remarkable regional beers like Braven Apostel and Hellekelter Bier. The music at t'Velootje is folk and classical. They even host a regular pipe club meeting in this small, wood-centric space. An unusual, but very entertaining place to have a beer.
10-20-2003 02:05:22 | More by wbthink
't Velootje in Gent, Belgium
84 out of 100 based on 11 ratings.