Au Bon Vieux Temps

very good

37 Ratings
Au Bon Vieux TempsAu Bon Vieux Temps

Type: Bar

Impasse Saint-Nicolas 4
Brussels, 1000

+32 2 217 26 26 | map

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Added by TheLongBeachBum

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Ratings: 37 |  Reviews: 26
Reviews by djhowell:
Photo of djhowell
4.25/5  rDev +6.8%

A cozy, quiet, old bar that is stumbling distance from A l'Imaige Nostre Dame. Ornately carved wood everywhere, beautiful stained glass windows, warm lighting; this places has atmosphere in spades. The crowd was a little older the two times we stopped in, and seemed local & friendly. They have a couple dozen beers available (including Westvleteren 12 for, I believe, 12 euro) with a good variety of traditional styles.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of DoubleSimcoe
4.22/5  rDev +6%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3.75

This is a small bar tucked away in an alley, with barely a recognizable sign, but in the heart of Brussels near la Grand Place.

No taps; all good bottles of good Belgian beer: Diekirch, Stella Aux Dieux Temps, Lindemanns, Leffe, Duval, Chimay, Karmeliet, Westy 12. 25 bottles only and nothing rare, but it is worth visiting just for the atmosphere and the décor of this medieval bar.

The gruff-but-nice bartender pours your beer with such finesse! I’ve never seen a more perfect head in a beer.

 500 characters

Photo of BenBreeg
4/5  rDev +0.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4

Photo of JakeScully
3.9/5  rDev -2%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3.75

This bar is in the Centre of Brussels and easily accessible.

Many good beers bottles, Leffe, Chimay, Karmeliet, West 12, an awesome selection making your stay very enjoyable, I'll be back there someday.

 203 characters

Photo of MrDell
4.66/5  rDev +17.1%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.5

Love this cosy little 17 century bar tucked away in the centre of Brussels. Beer menu has all the Belgian classics on it, including the much hyped Westvleteren 12. The Spanish lady that served us was extremely friendly and she took a bit of a shine to my girlfriend (both speak Spanish and had the same shoes on!) we visited most days whilst in Brussels for 5 days. If you like Trappist beer and old friendly little places with a lot of atmosphere this is a must visit. The only reason I scored the service as 4.5 and not 5 is because the beers are served a little on the cold side. Only other thing I'd change is its location - closer to me so I can spend more time there!

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Photo of Taillon75
4.49/5  rDev +12.8%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.75

Good luck finding it! Cool joint.

33 characters

Photo of LittleDon
4.08/5  rDev +2.5%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.75

Go for the vibe, and the 12 € Westvleteren if you've never had it. I doubt much has changed in the place since the mid 1800s. Beautiful interior with lots of carved wood and stained glass. Tiny, space for about 30 people. Small but respectable bottle list and some taps. Service is standard for the city.

 306 characters

Photo of heymikew
3.5/5  rDev -12.1%

Photo of ZinFanDave
4/5  rDev +0.5%

Photo of srletend
4.25/5  rDev +6.8%

Awesome atmosphere.

19 characters

Photo of cmrillo
4/5  rDev +0.5%

Photo of AdamNowek
4.5/5  rDev +13.1%

Photo of dwagner003
3.75/5  rDev -5.8%

3.98/5  rDev 0%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.25 | selection: 3.5

Just got back from brussels last night. While this wasn't my favorite place (check port noir on a night with music) we did get some cool local info from a pensioner who is a friend of a friend. The stained glass to the right of the bar is huge and depicts Saint Michael slaying satan who is in the image of a dragon. On his left is a female saint - Saint Gudula. Apparently the locals insisted she be sainted back in the day. Church by same name is also nearby. As others have mentioned Westvleteren is available for 12euro. Other choices may be better but if you've never tried it you can at this bar. Happy hunting.

 617 characters

Photo of Sparky44
4/5  rDev +0.5%

Photo of jandadeboer
4.25/5  rDev +6.8%

Photo of RCane1
4.39/5  rDev +10.3%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4

This is a MUST. It's down an alley and looks like nothing from outside. The brick over the door says "1689" and the experience probably hasn't changed much since then. Inside is a very cool tavern with maybe a dozen or so tables. A great relaxing stop to enjoy a pint. Somehow, this place has a connection to Saint Sixtus Abbey and can keep Westvleteren on their menu! For those that don't know, the Westy monks don't produce for profit and only sell their excess - so it's a rare find! The visitors were a mixed bunch, as everywhere in Brussels, but all quietly enjoying a chat and a brew. I did the same with a Westvleteren 12. The friendly bartender poured it from a plain brown bottle (that's how it comes) and matter of factly flipped me the cap so I could see the Abbey logo. It's now a prized possession, as is the memory of this great bar.

 847 characters

Photo of uturn
3.75/5  rDev -5.8%

Photo of BeerTampa
2.11/5  rDev -47%
vibe: 4 | quality: 2 | service: 2 | selection: 1.5

This place hasn't been reviewed in a while.

Judging from the prior reviews, this place has gone downhill.

This is right off the Grand Place but was billed as a non-tourist zone. We went late in the evening, probably 23:00.

It was pretty much all tourists. There was a young Belgian dude there that was getting the email address of a visibly intoxicated young American.

Beer menu consisted of a few Trappist beers. In big letters and in English: we have Westvleteren, the best beer in the WORLD. 10 euro.

I ordered it. The 60 year old Bar Mom opened it on the other side of the bar, dumped it into a glass, and served it to me. Didn't see the cap. Could have been another Trappist beer with the labeled removed from the bottle. Who knows. It was good, but judging from their advertising and the touristy nature of the bar, I question if it was really a Westy.

 866 characters

Photo of crossovert
4.53/5  rDev +13.8%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4

Alone in Belguim ( I highly do not reccomend this, so much crime on the streets) I wandered into the bar next to it because my friends said they got Westy there. Of course i get in there but they don't so the lady said go next door to Au Bon Vieux Temps, they have it. So dickishly i straight up left. Then i got to Au Bon Vieux Temps and was nicely greeted by the female bartender. I immediately asked for the westy and she warned me of the price but I got it anyways at 10 euros. The place is old school inside, just a kick-ass old school pub. no smoking anymore anywhere in Brussels. I met some cool Flemish people and had a great time sipping on my Westy. This is the way I would have wanted to try this beer, among good company. I didn't even bother to critique the Westy, It was good, one of my 3 favorite beers, enough said. The real amazing part about this place is that the bartender let me buy 2 more bottles to go. With sincerity I really recommend this place, it is a must. No bar wtih this much character and charm should be forgotten.

 1,048 characters

Photo of distantmantra
3.73/5  rDev -6.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4

Even though this is right near the Grand Place, Au Bon Vieux Temps is still off the beaten path and not frequented by most tourists. Once you make your way down the alley and into the bar, ABVT is reminiscent of what I figure Brussels was like prior to modernization. Stained glass windows, old wooden beems, tables and chairs, and extremely smoky. The beer selection isn't incredible, but what they do have is great. When we were there in April 2011, Westy 12 was even available in bottle. Well worth a visit if you find yourself in Brussels.

 543 characters

Photo of jrallen34
3.88/5  rDev -2.5%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3 | selection: 3.5

I've actually been to this bar twice both, times I've been to Brussels and it is one of my favorite Brussels Bars. Most Brussel bars are way to crowded and noisy and appeal to the tourist. This place is located down some random alley so you really have to look for it to find it. Its small and authenic inside, tons of locals. The beer menu is small but has all the trappist beers and both times I've been here they have had Westy 12 at a very reasonable price.

If you're looking to escape the busy scene and want a great place to just chill and drink some good beer, this is the place to go.

 594 characters

Photo of DaPeculierDane
3.95/5  rDev -0.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5

Visited: 8-18-08

Follow the Impasse St. Nicholas past the Kasteel, Dickirch, and Duvel neon lights to the Corsendonk sign. Then go a little further and you will find a hidden treat of Brussels' beer scene. This place is a real tavern complete with drunken old men locals, debating philosophers and footballers, and stained glass windows. The beer list is small but excellent and features Westy 12. I ordered 2 but found one of the bottles that came a bit suspicious. One had the yellow cap I have had several times before and came in a Westmalle bottle. The other came in a Trappist bottle and featured a cap that looked to be a bad forgery of a Westy cap. I ran into this sort of thing a few times so if anyone has any insight into this please BM me. At anyrate, the beers were excellent. The service was fine and came from a cool old woman. The atmosphere top notch. Seek it out and don't miss out on the equally weird bar next door.

 936 characters

Photo of Labtested
4.36/5  rDev +9.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 3.5

Came here in June 2009
Great place with a superb atmosphere. As other reviewers have noted its a local joint with very few tourist as its a hard place to find.
The list is small but has enough of the good beers to please. We had a thoroughly wonderful afternoon with the owner and some locals discussing the merits of various beers from around the world. If you love beer and are a bit of a purist when it comes to them you'll love this place as its all about the beer. There is not much to eat so I'd recommend eating elsewhere then coming here to enjoy the afternoon.

We drank at many bars in Belgium and this was one of our favourite places. Mostly because of the staff and the wonderful surroundings.

 706 characters

Photo of davedahl
4.34/5  rDev +9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 5 | selection: 4

I was fortunate enough to travel through Brussels a couple times a back in 2004/5. I found my way to this tavern on a recommendation from someone at my hotel.

The atmosphere is above average because of it's lack of tourists and plenty of available seating. After a discussion with the manager behind the bar I found out the building was originally a Nunnery in the 1600's but has been a working bar since the 1800's!

Selection's on the beer list are good. Not a fat book, but a good selection of Belgian's nonetheless.

Service was off-the-charts and here's why...

This is a place for locals. On a return trip to Au Bon I recognized one of the guys at the bar from my last trip - who is a spot-on Sammy Davis Jr. The middle-aged woman behind the bar didn't know much English, but when you try your French (as my wife did) she opens up. My wife and I were just returning from Italy so we knew a few phrases, and my Italian cigarettes prompted the bar-woman to tell us her husband, who had just joined us at the bar, was Italian. What resulted was a fantastic discussion about beer and travel all via broken Italian, French, a small smattering of English, and some Flemish translations for Sammy. We were instantly "locals" and the bar-woman began plying us with different beers from behind the bar that they were eager for us to try and discuss!

Very fond memories of a great Brussles locals-bar.

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Au Bon Vieux Temps in Brussels, Belgium
3.98 out of 5 based on 37 ratings.
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