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Au Bon Vieux Temps

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Au Bon Vieux TempsAu Bon Vieux Temps
BA SCORE
3.98/5
Very Good
38 Ratings
Au Bon Vieux TempsAu Bon Vieux Temps
PLACE INFO

Type: Bar

Impasse Saint-Nicolas 4
Brussels, 1000
Belgium

+32 2 217 26 26 | map

Notes:
No notes at this time.

Added by TheLongBeachBum

PLACE STATS
Reviews:
27
Ratings:
38
pDev:
12.06%
 
HISTOGRAM
 
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Ratings: 38 |  Reviews: 27
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 TheLongBeachBum
3.79/5  rDev -4.8%
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 StoutSnob40
3.75/5  rDev -5.8%

Photo of GCBrewingCo
3.31/5  rDev -16.8%
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 BlackHaddock
3.73/5  rDev -6.3%
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!

 694 characters

Photo of francisweizen
3.99/5  rDev +0.3%
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.

 501 characters

Photo of Sludgeman
4.03/5  rDev +1.3%
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

FOOD – NA

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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 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.

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Photo of Sparky44
4/5  rDev +0.5%

Photo of Goldorak
3.79/5  rDev -4.8%
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 JohnW
3.93/5  rDev -1.3%
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 Globetrotter
3.65/5  rDev -8.3%
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 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 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 BenBreeg
4/5  rDev +0.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4

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.

 422 characters

Photo of srletend
4.25/5  rDev +6.8%

Awesome atmosphere.

19 characters

Photo of uturn
3.75/5  rDev -5.8%

Photo of heymikew
3.5/5  rDev -12.1%

Photo of AdamNowek
4.5/5  rDev +13.1%

Photo of cmrillo
4/5  rDev +0.5%

Photo of Estarrio
4.31/5  rDev +8.3%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5

I felt that most places in Brussels were far too packed and far too touristy. The old world charm that could be witnessed in other Belgian cities just wasn't there in Brussels...Until we entered Au Bon Vieux Temps.

This place will not dazzle you with the beer selection. It does have solid, well-priced offerings but you will find no hundred-page menu here. I enjoyed a couple of Rochefort 8's during my stay.

What you will find is a magnificent old bar with some the most charming atmosphere in Belgium. When you turn off the main road and traverse the ornate arches in the alleyway, it is like passing through time. From the ancient, stained glass windows to the aged wooden beams, this bar is a page out of history. Words cannot describe the old world charm of this bar. Best yet, we were the only tourists in the place. We chatted with the older, local crowd and had a wonderful experience.

Unless you are really into the throngs of tourists and hustle and bustle of Brussels, this is a MUST stop.

 1,011 characters

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 erica
4.13/5  rDev +3.8%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3.5

Went here twice last week with my boyfriend. It's a beautiful OLD place, with a nice little sign directing you through a little alleyway. If I didnt knwo it was a bar back there, I wouldn't venture in... but luckily I did, because the atmosphere was just amazing. Old detailed woodwork, stained glass windows that looked like from a church, old upholstered furniture, old people even. The selection was kind of general, but excellent compared to what i'm used to here in the US. The bartender was a nice old lady who I dont think spoke much, if any, English, but it didn't matter, we ordered and said our thank you's and all was well. Good service, yes. Good beer, yes. Great ambience, yes. Highly recommended for any trip to Brussels.

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Au Bon Vieux Temps in Brussels, Belgium
Place rating: 3.98 out of 5 with 38 ratings
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