Au Bon Vieux Temps

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Au Bon Vieux TempsAu Bon Vieux Temps
Very Good
41 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: 41 |  Reviews: 28
Photo of BeerTampa
2.11/5  rDev -46.7%
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.

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Photo of tsmo
2.7/5  rDev -31.8%
vibe: 5 | quality: 3 | service: 2.5 | selection: 1.5

Think of this as a beer bar and you'll hate it; your options are trappist or a thin selection from InBev. Your waitress doesn't speak English, or much French.

On the other hand, think of it as a neighborhood pub and you might fall in love. It's largely free of tourists, completely free of the tourist atmosphere, and either a couple hundred years old or doing a damn good job of faking it. Among the more beautiful bars I've set foot in.

The way I see it, Au Bon Vieux Temps makes a good (perhaps optimistic) metaphor for Brussels at large: old wood, stained glass, cobblestones and a Hoegaarden.

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Photo of GCBrewingCo
3.31/5  rDev -16.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 2.5

This place was very simple to find, but was a rather hot old bar inside. The place was dark and sweaty at the time of our visit with very low lighting.

Our waitress arrived, she was as old as the bar and spoke very little and very poor English. She made ordering off the small 23 beer menu a chore and extremely time consuming. Once she got the order she delivered most of the beers to the wrong people and then had to switch them around.

The place seemed like a tourist spot and it filled up very quickly. It was nearly empty when we arrived and was filled to the brim by the time we got the beers ordered.

If I was in the neighborhood I might drop in to wet my whistle, but more likely I would trudge on in search of some new, and certainly more exciting adventure. At the time of our visit the place was simply hot and noisy and as a result did not contain much charm.

Visited on September 16, 2006.

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Photo of heymikew
3.5/5  rDev -11.6%

Photo of Globetrotter
3.65/5  rDev -7.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 3.5

This is a dark hole in the wall in an alley off of a main shopping street just north of the Grand Place. As you go in, there are tables on the right and in the back, while the bar squares off the corner on the left. Lots of dark wood - ceiling, walls, furniture. Cushioned vinyl on the chairs and benches. Plateware, jugs and clocks on the wail, a couple of stained glass windows and a big ceramic fireplace/heater against the back wall complete the ambience. The place was 3/4 full on a Saturday at about 3:00, and filling fast. I sat at a small table towards the back and waited. And waited. And waited. I finally gave up and went to the bar, where I was served fairly quickly. I'd have said that there was only bar service, but I then noticed one woman did seem to be working the tables. Obviously not very quickly, though.

There were 8 or 10 taps, one of which was an awful lager from Luxemburg. The rest were quite respectable, if neither unique nor intriguing. I counted 24 beers on the beer list. The beers were served well, in their appropriate logo glassware and at the right temperature. Great atmosphere, this is a nice place to duck into to avoid the tourist crowds outside. Great by no means, but certainly worthy of a visit.

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Photo of He_was_a_wise_man
3.66/5  rDev -7.6%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3

Photo of BlackHaddock
3.73/5  rDev -5.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3

I liked this place, solid, old, clean and almost empty on both visits during afternoons in October 2006. The beer list isn't huge or fantastic, or even interesting, but the place just fits my idea of what a small Brussels bar must have been like before the 20th century.

Lead glass windows and being in an alley, ensures it is dark, the ancient darkwood panelling and dim lighting compound the issue, it all adds to the atmostphere. This is old Brussels meets the tourist trade, it does it very nicely in my opinion. I shall be taking my parents here in December and update this review accordingly afterwards.

There was no need to update the first review, it was identicle to my other visits!

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Photo of flyingpig
3.73/5  rDev -5.8%
vibe: 3.25 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.25

Came here on a Monday night quite late on and it wasn't too busy, about 8 or 10 others in the bar. The menu was quite small with nothing but Belgian bottles available (inlcluding Westvleteren 12 for 15€, cheaper than most nearby shops in Brussels). Prices were perhaps a touch higher than other Belgian beer bars but the place was worth a visit for the carved wood decor. An interesting place and somewhere I might pop into again if I'm back at looking for Westvleteren.

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Photo of distantmantra
3.73/5  rDev -5.8%
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.

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Photo of StoutSnob40
3.75/5  rDev -5.3%

Photo of uturn
3.75/5  rDev -5.3%

Photo of TheLongBeachBum
3.79/5  rDev -4.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3

Right next door to one of Brussels hidden gems, the ‘A L'Imaige Nostre Dame’, is yet another – the ‘Au Bon Vieux Temps’. Very much like its neighbor, but with a slightly smaller beer list, nevertheless, it is still worth popping in here for a beer.

The alleyway is called ‘Impasse St.Nicholas’, and this too is also accessed from Rue Marché aux Herbes. A short 3 min. walk from the Grand Place, but just a 30 second stumble from, L'Imaige Nostre Dame.

Another genuine Old Brussels Café, dating from the 17th Century I believe. Once in the alleyway, windows covered in old-style ornate steel grids make you feel a little uneasy, but they are there to protect the ancient windows, rather than prevent Burglars. The entrance, itself an archway made from brick & stone, is to the right of a larger main stone archway. On a night-time, this area is lit by some fairy-lights which give it a rather Xmasy feel.

Once inside, it is dingy to say the least, and strong deep medieval wooden odors invade your nostrils. This Café has an incredible dark timber interior that has many exquisite wooden carvings. It is quite compact and only accommodates a few small groups before it gets full.

The beer range is around 30, and it has many solid Belgium classics worth trying. It is another one of those places that is worth visiting to absorb the real Bruxellois Café, as it used to be. A genuine interior makes up for the rather pedestrian beer list – but nonetheless, you will find a handful of Belgium Classic Ales that are worthy of at least an hour, or two, in here.

Whilst I would be the first to admit that you could miss this one out if you were really pushed for time, on a tight schedule and/or craving ‘rare’ beers; but it would be a desperate shame if you missed this Café. It would especially be a shame if you are already visiting the nearby and excellent La Bécasse for it’s Lambic Doux, and then the L'Imaige Nostre Dame, which is literally next door, for the unique Bourgogne des Flandres. If you do, then you should allow yourself the reward of re-acquainting yourself with one, or two, of the Belgium Classic Ales that you have no doubt had before, but in a high quality, genuine 17th Century Brussels Café atmosphere.

Last Visit: 30th Nov. 2003

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Photo of Goldorak
3.79/5  rDev -4.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5

Another bar litterally in a hole in the wall, down a dark and dingy alleyway. The place seemed full of old regulars, and we were able to squezze ourselves in a corner, right next to the fireplace and the huge stained glass window. The place has an old, relaxed atmosphere to it. A great place for a romantic evening, with good Beer!

It seems to be the same nice lady working the bar as the previous reviewers mentionned. Funny, because when we ordered our Beers with our freaky French-Canadian accent, she didn't understand a word we said and tried to take our order in English, which she obviously knew very little of as well. So I just pointed at the menu. That seemed to be a recurring theme our whole trip. Next time I go there, I'll have a sign or a T-shirt made out with the inscription "Écoutez-moi attentivement, je parle francais" (pay close attention, I speak french)

Beer list wasn't too awesome by Belgian standards, but anywhere that serves Westmalle Dubbel on tap is allright with me!

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Photo of jrallen34
3.88/5  rDev -2%
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.

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Photo of Shanex
3.9/5  rDev -1.5%
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.

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Photo of JohnW
3.93/5  rDev -0.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5

In full agreement with other reports here in BA, this is an amazing little bar, that is well worth a visit, especially if you are on a days visit, and centred near Grande Place, as only a couple minutes walk away. Very small inside, but wonderful atmosphere of calm from the hubbub of the outside. Friendly courteous service, though the beer list not as big as some more famous haunts, still always something worth trying. Not sure about food there, I think beer is the main thing - but worth the visit anyhow.

Incidently the 'beer museum' in the Grande Place is a place to avoid! Expensive entrance fee, not much to see when you get there, and the beer sample just a standard mass produced lager beer served by someone with no interest in the place at all!

John W visited Sept 2004

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Photo of DaPeculierDane
3.95/5  rDev -0.3%
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.

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3.98/5  rDev +0.5%
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.

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Photo of francisweizen
3.99/5  rDev +0.8%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5

A nice little hidden gem of an old bar, in downtown Brussels. This place is down an old alleyway with just a neon sign and no mention of it even being a bar. Inside is dimly lit, with old timber everywhere you look. The crowd is usually old, Belgian, and local. The bartender we had was an old lady, who was nice enough at figuring out what we wanted (lol). I had a Vieux Temp (voo tom) whilst here as it seemed nice enough, and my friend had the excellent Bourgogne Des Flanders. A nice little place.

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Photo of BenBreeg
4/5  rDev +1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4

Photo of Barleycorn
4/5  rDev +1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4

Photo of cmrillo
4/5  rDev +1%

Photo of Sparky44
4/5  rDev +1%

Photo of ZinFanDave
4/5  rDev +1%

Photo of Sludgeman
4.03/5  rDev +1.8%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4 | service: 3.75 | selection: 4

Visited on a Tuesday afternoon in April 2017 after spending the morning at Cantillon. The place was empty except for the bartender and three other people. It goes without saying that I visited during a slow time.

This place looked and felt like what I imagine as a classic Belgium beer bar. With the old man sitting next to me singing along with the radio, I could envision myself in another era. Come for the Westy and the Vibe.

V –You have to walk down an ally way. A great approach to a small place with about 15 tables. Dark décor but bright enough lighting. Loved the décor, including the stained glass, the fireplace (with an insert), great hardwood unfinished bar, lots of beer signs. The paint scheme with tile and wood make the place feel more homey than beer bar. 4.75

Sel – Nothing on tap. About 15 bottles limited to Belgian beers and Trappists including Westy 12. I had two Westys – that beer was so good! The Westy was 15 EU. 4.0

Ser – Fine service. Bartender spoke limited English and I speak no Flemish and less French than the Bartender spoke English. But she was pleasant and when I communicated that I needed to charge my phone she was more than happy to find a plug. We had a good laugh when she accidently charged me 1,5 EU for my Westy. Not sure to what degree she had any beer knowledge, assuming very little. 3.75

Q – No complaints. The bar uses labeled glasses most of the time. 4


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Au Bon Vieux Temps in Brussels, Belgium
Place rating: 3.96 out of 5 with 41 ratings