City wanderings - and a pilgrimage to some of the best eating and drinking spots in Brussels. Or maybe not eating or drinking - ah, oh well.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Les Halles Saint-Géry

Everyone who finds central Brussels will have drinks at les Halles at some time or other.  This attractive former covered market is a useful reference point when you've lost your bearings in one of the criss-crossing little streets nearby.  Inside it's an atmospheric, airy space where you can enjoy good cocktails while you people-watch.  On Friday and Saturday nights a DJ churns out tunes, which become progressively more insistent as the evening wears on.  However, the sophisticated easy-on-the-eye clientele do not seem inclined to burst into dance – am I missing something?  Perhaps dancing is not the point, but it’s what the space seems to call for.  Just imagine the club nights and piano recitals you could have here....  Darling, the acoustics!  Shame that if I started dancing madly everyone would look at me with disdain.

Les Halles Saint-Géry also host regular photographic exhibitions.  On my most recent trip there appeared to be a collection of arresting portraits of prominent Belgians, and I found myself examining each one closely.  Also of interest (if unoccupied) are the orange Aperol (happy summer memories of Venice) deckchairs and oversized beanbags in the rear portion of the hall.  They are too easy to sink into, too comfortable a companion for tired legs and a strong Trappist, and last time my brother and I had to be persuaded out of them by unsmiling staff - it was getting near closing time.

Another thing: don't mess with Madame Pipi, the fearsome toilet attendant cum guard!  Don't attempt to sneak past her and avoid the 50 cent fee for use of the facilities.  And on the subject of fees and Madame Pipi, I thnk 50 cents is a bit steep.  In fact I think paying for using the toilets at all is a bit cheeky, in a city where there are no public toilets, anywhere.  And surely if you're buying a drink, or a cinema ticket, or even dinner, these things should be free?  Still I suppose it keeps various semi-retired ladies in work: ladies in varying degrees of grumpiness!

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