Get on the Bus!


LE CERCUEIL, 12 Rue des Harengs, Brussels.
In a tiny street opposite and to the right of the town hall in the Grand Place. 'The Coffin' is one of the oldest horror bars in Europe. The good old traditional type with coffins for tables and skulls to drink beer and wine from. Also potent cocktails with names like "la semence du demon" ('demon semen'.)

This has been around for nearly thirty years which makes it probably the oldest existing horror bar in the world. Dark and very atmospheric with great music that ranges from classical to goth to the Pope's latest hits! Beer is hideously expensive but comes in ceramic skull mugs. If the main room is full there's another smaller room to the left as you enter. A must-visit experience.

Thanks to Rob Brautigam for the photo. Click here for more photos of 'Le Cercueil'!

COMICS TRIP Disco Bar, 61 Rue des Eperonniers.
This comic-strip/Science Fiction themed bar/disco has closed down (see Dead Cafes) but this backstreet also has a horror bookshop ('Malpertuis') and some gothy boutiques. The 'Mystical Resto' restaurant remains a couple of doors away. Check out Plazier at number 50 opposite, a great little surrealist shop that sells weird postcards/posters etc...

FANTASIA GRILL ("Le Restaurant de l'Etrange"), 57 Rue des Bouchers, Brussels.

snake steak anybody?

A tourist restaurant five minutes from the 'Grand Place', this is part of a growing Fantasia Grill chain that seems to have been inspired by the Halloween Café. It just doesn't have the class of the original but is still a fun place to eat, especially with kids. Pretty waitresses are dressed as witches and the waiters are (I guess) meant to be dressed as executioners. There is also a perambulating 'living waxwork' in the shape of a vampire who comes and stands by your table and watches you masticate.

If you fancy eating something different from steak and chips, the menu offers such delight as crocodile, bison, snake, zebra, kangaroo, antelope ostrich and camel. Bon appetit!

Click here for more photos from the Fantasia Grill!

FANTASIA GRILL, 290 Chaussée de Bruxelles, Nivelles 1401. Another Brussels branch of the same chain.

FANTASIA GRILL, 628 Chaussée de Ninove, Itterbeek 1701. Another Brussels branch.

LA GALERIE D'ENFER, 16 and 17 Place du Samedi, Brussels 1000 (in the trendy Sainte Catherine restaurant quarter.) Tel/Fax 32.02.2193044
Welcoming isn't it?

'The Gallery of Hell' is a terrific combination art gallery/restaurant specialising in horror and erotic art. The owner, artist David P., is a terrific cook who makes 'unusual' dishes. As well as David's excellent work, there are regular exhibitions of other artists and photographers specialising in horror/erotica. And there are additional special exhibitions in the basement for which there is a small entrance fee. Past exhibitions have been on the theme of Lovecraft's 'Herbert West, ReAnimator' and Jack the Ripper.

In theory the gallery/restaurant is open Thursdays and Fridays from 4pm to midnight, but it's best to call first to make sure. The restaurant is also open every weekday from 12-2pm for lunch. About 10/15 minutes walk from the Grand Place.

Click here for more pictures from Hell's Gallery...

hello weens!

HALLOWEEN CAFE ("La Brasserie de l'Etrange"), 10 Rue des Grands Carmes, 1000 Brussels. (Tel: 02-514.12.56. Fax: 02.511.66.91) Wonderfully atmospheric café/brasserie full of gargoyle statues and fountains and imaginative paintings, many with a pumpkin-head theme. Some of the paintings feature the bearded owner which can be disconcerting if he's sitting nearby having a drink. Beer and wine served by waiters in monks' habits, or if you're lucky, a female vampire. Speciality The Elixir of Bagoum is a pleasant alcoholic cocktail served in a ceramic skull that you get to keep.

Make sure to check out the elegant dining rooms at back which have more gargoyles and charming details such as a small window through which you can see a vampire woman in her coffin in the cellar. A work of art, this is the aristocrat of horror cafés, the one others copy. Became slightly more commercial in the past year with unnecessary touches like prominently naming each table after a famous horror character like Dracula or Fu Manchu - maybe it helps the waiters work out the bills. Opens around four in the afternoon. High quality meals available in the evening. About ten minutes walk from the 'Grand Place'. An absolute must-visit!

Click here for photos from the Halloween Café...


LA MAISON BIS-ART BIZARRE, 18 Rue de la Glaciere, Brussels 1060. (Tel/fax: 538 26 68)

Light my fire! A totally mind-blowing "journey into an imaginary world with improbable urban madness" as the flyer puts it. On the surface this is a small, friendly horror café with great decor and very reasonably priced drinks. The speciality is pisse du diable (Devil's Piss!)

For a couple of dollars you get to go behind the scenes and wander around what is probably best described as a fairground Haunted House for adults. There are all kinds of weird paintings, sculptures and installations by artists Michel Dircken, Michel Souren, David P, Lisette Delooze and others. The price includes a visit to the kitchen where human flesh dishes are regularly prepared, and the cannery where human flesh is canned and labeled. You can buy a can to take home (Good luck getting it thru customs!)

The secret is in the gravy.
Yep, it's the Head Chef...

Human flesh feasts are organised on some Saturdays, there are special events at Halloween, and, during the Brussels International Fantasy Film Festival each March, the amiable Michel Dircken organises a wild bus tour of the city's weirdest art venues. That alone is worth crossing the Atlantic for!

At the moment the Maison Bizarre is open Thursday and Friday evenings only from 8pm to midnight. This great and unique place really deserves your support so make an effort to visit if you can, it's a must-see! A little bit off the beaten track compared to the others, but worth getting a taxi if you have to. An experience you'll never forget!

Click here for art and photos from the Maison Bis-Art Bizarre...

MYSTICAL RESTO, 57 Rue des Eperonniers
Not a horror restaurant but I like the name and the decor which has a High Goth look. Not as expensive as it looks and the food is high quality.

NOVA CINEMA, 3 Rue d'Arenberg, Brussels 1000

The Nova is an underground/alternative cinema that has sprung up out of the ruins of the former Arenberg art house cinema. It often shows weird/horror/surreal movies. In the basement is a large bar area offering good value drinks and food. Down here you'll also find some amazing artwork and installations.

Anyone visiting Brussels should definitely check out the Nova even if only to have a drink downstairs and catch the current exhibition.

For photos of the 'Brutal Hospital' exhibition (Y2K), click here!

SHERLOCK'S PUB, 24 Rue des Chapeliers.
Seven per cent solution?

Was Sherlock Holmes into karaoke? They seem to think so in this Holmes-themed pub round the corner from the Grand Place. Maybe you'll find the Hound of the Baskervilles inside, howling in Japanese...


FANTASIA GRILL, 276 Chausseee de Mons, Fontaine L'Eveque 6140. Another branch of the Fantasia chain.

FANTASIA GRILL, 7 Route de Bavay, Frameries 7080. Another branch of the chain.

Ghent (Gand)

Rob Brautigam reports spotting a weird restaurant here. No further details yet.

FANTASIA GRILL, Grand Place, Tournai 7500. Another branch of the chain.

Know any more horror cafés in Belgium? Please let me know about them at Michel@pumpkinpie.com

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