The first time we ventured into Café Bizon for a drink with friends, it was so full we couldn’t get inside. This time around, we arrived a little earlier and were able to enjoy a quiet drink while soaking up the unique, intimate atmosphere in this small and inviting music-themed bar in Saint-Géry.
The low ceilings have old concert ticket stubs glued to its beams. The walls are covered with old vinyl record covers and images of blues icons such as BB King and Louis Armstrong, and there’s even an upright piano to one side of the bar. Upstairs, a mezzanine area provides more seating, and a great vantage point for enjoying one of Café Bizon’s regular live blues concerts or jam sessions.
Although there was no live music tonight, Café Bizon did not fail to live up to its promise of “good vibes”. A warm and welcoming atmosphere, a varied drinks menu including some excellent beers and a solid selection of flavoured genever (Belgian gin) and the serious-looking-but-deep-down-nice-guy bartender all come together to make this a truly special spot.
I had just finished a huge plateful of stoemp-saucisse at the Brussels Colours festival and was feeling rather thirsty when we decided to head to Saint Géry for a drink. We almost walked right past the near-empty bar, but something somehow caught our attention and beckoned us inside. Maybe it was the chalkboard spruiking “good vibes” or the huge bison head hanging on the back wall. It was only once inside I realised we’d been here before – it’s hard to forget a place like this!
The small space was dimly lit and filled with all sorts of paraphernalia. Aside from the aforementioned bison head, I spotted guitars, trumpets and even an old motorcycle hanging from the rails of the second floor. A nice feature of the place is the upper level which looks down onto the bar so you get a bird’s eye view of the bartender doing his thing. And this bartender was the real deal, someone who obviously takes pride in his craft. I later learned his name is Steven. And when I asked I could take his photo he didn’t miss a beat – he casually draped his arms over the beer taps like a pro, and helped me get a fantastic shot.
The drinks list is extensive offering a range of beers, spirits and cocktails. They even serve Orval, a real highlight since this trappist beer only rarely makes an appearance on bar menus. It didn’t take me long to decide that’s what I’d be having. Also on offer was the house cocktail called Bizon Blood – I’m going to have to try that one next time.
Rue du Pont de la Carpe 7, 1000 Brussels