Delirium Café

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BA SCORE
92
outstanding

149 Reviews
Delirium CaféDelirium Café
PLACE INFO

Type: Bar, Eatery

Impasse de la Fidélité 4
Brussels, 1000
Belgium

+32 2 514 44 34 | map
www.deliriumcafe.be

Notes:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate

PLACE STATS
Score:
92
Reviews:
149
Ratings:
240
Avg:
4.15
pDev:
10.6%
 
 
Taps:
15
Bottles/Cans:
2,400
Cask:
N
Beer-to-Go:
N
View: Place Reviews | Events
User Reviews
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Reviews: 149 | Ratings: 240
Reviews by Tut:
Photo of Tut
3.4/5  rDev -18.1%
vibe: 1 | quality: 5 | service: 1 | selection: 5

Given the ongoing number of over-the-top/rave reviews here for the Delirium Cafe, I think it's important to keep a contrary, alternative view in the mix for balance, so I'm updating mine to provide it. Most of the raves seem to come from young American guys who like nothing better than getting wasted while packed elbow to elbow with a bunch of other tourists. Typical of them is the guy below who thought the highlight of his night at Delirium was when an extremely drunk kid fell face first down the staircase. If you're a more mature, seasoned traveler who doesn't find stupid behavior like that amusing, Brussels has many more atmospheric, interesting, and unusual cafes to discover. Spend your time seeking them out rather than wasting it surrounded by drunken tourists in Delirium.

Nothing has changed since I wrote the following in late 2008:
First, a little background. I've traveled throughout Belgium on ten trips(as of 20013) starting in 1998 and have been to most of the great beer cafes. I've spent over three months total in Brussels alone, have a number of friends there, and know it pretty well.

I don't review many overseas beer cafes and pubs because it would take way to much of my time. I'm doing the Delirium Cafe to hopefully spare new visitors to Brussels from thinking, because of all the A+ reviews here, that they've found "beer nirvana" and wasting their limited time there. I can tell from what they say that many of the rave reviews are from first time visitors to Belgium who spent, at best, only 1-2 days in Brussels and were easily impressed due to the novelty and newness of the whole experience. There are much better options to be had.

The Delirium Cafe is a classic tourist trap.It's interior resembles any number of somewhat shabby college bars in North America. It has no special atmosphere or uniqueness and is usually full of foreign tourists. The impasse(dead end alley) it's on is right off the ultimate tourist armpit of Brussels, the Rue des Bouchers, which is a narrow pedestrian street lined with 20+ phoney, overpriced, rip-off, tourist restaurants. These places are patronized by the throngs that spend all their time near the Grand Place and who think they're having an authentic Brussels experience at those restaurants. Those same tourists also fill the Delirium Cafe. Yes, it has a huge beer list, but many are standard, generic macros from other countries and they're often out of the better Belgians. My friends from Brussels never would go there and it only required one visit for me to understand why.

Last summer I convinced my Belgian friend Marc to check it out with me late one afternoon, just to satisfy my curiosity. We had a couple beers, were very unimpressed with the place, and decided to go to one of the numerous cafes we know that are well away from the tourist hordes. We paused outside the door and had a final look at the beer list on display. Thinking we had just arrived, a drunken young American in his mid-twenties came over to us, gushing about the number of beers the Delirium had and how it was "the best bar in the world!" What he didn't realize was that one of the reasons we were leaving was because the place was full of people like him.

The "biggest beer list in the world" isn't enough to get me there again. I really dislike it's location - Brussel's tourist armpit as I said above. There are plenty of other great cafes in Brussels that have excellent beer lists, much better atmospheres, and keep me very happy with interesting and unusual choices -- without being surrounded by tourists and hearing English spoken as if I was in the US.

My best advice is to get Tim Webb's guide(for overall Belgian beer info.), Joe Stange and Yvan de Baet's, Around Brussels In 80 Beers(for the best cafes/restaurants), a good street map(not the city center tourist maps), and walk and/or use the subway and trams to go to cafes that take a little time and effort to find. Places away from the touristy Grand Place. In the process you'll discover the real Brussels. The tourists won't be there but you'll meet the locals and you might run into some fellow travelers, which is good.

 4,163 characters

More User Reviews:
Photo of parpalapelix
4.7/5  rDev +13.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4

Photo of Kevin67
2.6/5  rDev -37.3%
vibe: 2 | quality: 3 | service: 1 | selection: 4

I have been here a couple of times, but never again. The selection is good, but you can find most of the beers fairly easily around town. The service was abhorrent and the place is completely overrun with horribly behaved tourists. I have gotten a headache both times I been here, and it wasn't due to the beer.

 311 characters

Photo of jprivott
3.91/5  rDev -5.8%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.25 | service: 2.5 | selection: 4.75

Photo of Shanex
3.76/5  rDev -9.4%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3.75 | food: 4

Worth visiting, fairly good selection of beer, great service and a good staff overall. Giving this one a good rating, which seem deserved... I've had a delirium there btw

 170 characters

Photo of mothman
2.18/5  rDev -47.5%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3 | service: 2 | selection: 1

Two of the beers I ordered weren't in stock. Bad odds?

54 characters

Photo of Biggiekrock627
4.8/5  rDev +15.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5

If this doesn't get a 5 for selection I don't know where to begin. Multiple floors of different scenes and selections including IPAs on the top floor. This is the Guinness world record holder with a several hundred page book of beers available. Worth going just to buy the book for 5 euro.

 289 characters

Photo of esktime
4.25/5  rDev +2.4%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

Photo of DanielCseklye
4.48/5  rDev +8%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.75 | service: 3.75 | selection: 4.75

Photo of dougbreathe
3.37/5  rDev -18.8%
vibe: 2.75 | quality: 2.75 | service: 3.75 | selection: 4

Photo of Jow
3.88/5  rDev -6.5%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 3.75 | service: 3 | selection: 5 | food: 3.75

They have a lot of choice I can assure you that! But... there ARE TO MUCH PEOPLE IN THIS PLACE!

It is a meeting place for foreigners and it is not quite at all... I was looking for a calmer place to enjoy my beer but that's individual off course.

 247 characters

Photo of jonj
4.17/5  rDev +0.5%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.75 | selection: 4.5

Photo of MatthewWalters
3.46/5  rDev -16.6%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.25 | selection: 3

I wasn't impressed with Delirium. In honor of full disclosure I did visit in the afternoon, and not during the busy hours later in the evening which may have affected the vibe rating. Anyways, it's got a great location that's not hard to find, especially with the help of my city maps app. Speaking of, their free Wi-Fi was great, being the first time in three days I had it. I was not impressed by their selection at all. I would've liked to see some of the big name Belgium beers available. I interacted with three waitresses/servers and not one of them seemed to care at all about their job. I couldn't even get a smile out of them after being overly-kind and attempting to speak French (I heard it helps? haha). As opposed to Moeder Lambic I would not consider this a must-visit in Brussels.

 795 characters

Photo of Ajlvt
4.32/5  rDev +4.1%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.5

Photo of byronic
4.33/5  rDev +4.3%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4

An interesting spot with a nice tap selection and a good bottle list. The service was fantastic, but possibly a bit better than usual considering we spoke in Flemish. Tried a few of their offers on tap. Went on a weekday just after lunch and the place was nice and quiet.

 272 characters

Photo of barleywin
4.01/5  rDev -3.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.25 | service: 3.75 | selection: 4

Photo of acurtis
3.86/5  rDev -7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.75 | selection: 3.75

Photo of Domingo
4.3/5  rDev +3.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 5

The D.C. is definitely a love/hate place. It's essentially a dark basement that tends to be crowded with tourists pounding sub-par Belgian beers. The waitstaff also tends to be a bit on the surly side. On the surface, that doesn't sound very appealing does it?

On the other hand, they offer more than 3,000 beers including some borderline white whale items for prices that will make you re-think paying import prices ever again. The waitstaff is also extremely knowledgeable and are very happy to accommodate specific requests with their own recommendations. They'll even bust out some crazy beers not listed on any menus. Did I mention the prices are extremely affordable, too? We're talking 5-15 year old rare lambics for under 10 Euros. Just ask for a bottle menu and if they don't have what you want - ask for something similar. You might be surprised what they DO have instead.

IMO, it is what you make of it. My wife and I went back several times and always had a good time. While I wasn't a huge fan of the crowded nature, it's not much different than my local multi-tap spots. Once the staff figures out that you aren't ordering a dozen bottles of strawberry Floris, they also become quite cordial and helpful.

I like the place a lot in spite of its flaws. It very much reminds me of the Falling Rock in Denver even down to the aesthetics.

FYI - it's worth noting that there are numerous Delirium bars in this general area. Make sure you go down the stairs to the basement area if you're looking for the "real" one with thousands of bottles. The others tend to be focused on a specific niche (like Abbey ales upstairs) or are just random pubs. I think some of the reviews complaining about selection were either at the wrong location or they didn't get a copy of the bottle menu.

 1,792 characters

Photo of Tinyoyo
3.66/5  rDev -11.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.75 | service: 3.25 | selection: 4.5 | food: 2

Photo of halo3one
3.93/5  rDev -5.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.75 | selection: 3.75

Photo of Barracudas
4/5  rDev -3.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Photo of tduecen
5/5  rDev +20.5%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

went in several times, bartenders were nice and friendly even though there was a crowd. They helped me find some off the beat path beers I would not have tried otherwise.

 170 characters

Photo of BelgianBeerMe
4.36/5  rDev +5.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 5

Photo of sjccmd
2.76/5  rDev -33.5%
vibe: 2 | quality: 2 | service: 4 | selection: 2.75

I have to say I really didn't like this place. When visiting Brussels the first time, I avoided it, hearing that it was kind of a tourist trap. This last time, I thought I'd decide for myself.

This place feels crowded even when it isn't. Lots of tables and chairs strewn about and an unpleasant stench in the air. Somewhat claustrophobic feeling.

Service is perfectly fine. No complaints.

I thought the selection was supposed to be massive. I really didn't find too much that I couldn't elsewhere. The lambic selection was only Oud Beersel straight lambic, which was nice, but that was the only lambic. Seemed odd.

This place is probably more appealing for people drinking a lot of different Belgian for novelty's sake, which is fine, of course, just not for me.

 766 characters

Photo of Howlader
4.43/5  rDev +6.7%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4

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Delirium Café in Brussels, Belgium
92 out of 100 based on 149 ratings.
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