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.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Café Kafka


Live music, open windows and a crowd spilling out onto the pavement drew me into Café Kafka for the first time last week.  An exuberant young group of musicians were playing jazz of the infectious foot-tapping variety, with clarinet and piano improvisations holding the crowd captive, their conversations suspended.  Meanwhile students sat hunched over chess games, and two dogs roamed the floor: the only ones who dared breach the space between musicians and their audience; sniffing, mingling - and bringing with them a hint of barely contained chaos.

The musicians, unperturbed, played on.  Their flat caps and black and white brogues contrasted with the beards and the nonchalant scruffiness of us scattered around them.  We were a mix of students, lone enthusiasts and a crouching photographer - and if anyone wore a suit by day, they had done their best to hide it. But the band were safe in the knowledge that they were having the most fun.

The interval was broken by the sound of a beautiful voice and the slow descent of the double bass player down the spiral staircase.  All around heads turned to glimpse dark hair, a trilby and a smear of red lipstick.  When she was once again amongst us she slowly, coquettishly, removed her hat and began weaving around the room, holding our gaze mischievously as she sang to each table - until the coins dropped into her hat.

Café Kafka hosts concerts, DJ sets and poetry recitals.

rue des Poissonniers 21/Visverkopersstraat 21
1000 Brussels