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Beer of the Week (w/e 2nd August 2020) with Thuck Phat on the Pub Forum

Cafe Bruxelles, Leicester

Pub added by elizabeth mcgraw
90-92 High Street
Phone: 01162243013

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Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Pub SignMan left this review about Cafe Bruxelles

Built in 1903 and currently residing on one of the city's main retail thoroughfares, this is a remarkably ornate faux-Art Nouveau bar with a loose Belgian theme. The main bar is a roughly square shaped room with parquet flooring and a servery along the rear wall. Seating comprises standard tables and chairs through the centre of the room, with a wide parting down the middle for vertical drinkers. Meanwhile, wide padded U-shaped banquette booths run down the left and right hand walls between a series of grand looking white pillars. The servery is a lovely, symmetrical, curved C shape with a nice contrasting light and dark wood counter. The bar back is most impressive with its arch centrepiece flanked by large angels and cherubs with a plain mirror inset. Large boards in dark wood frames hang either side, detailing the drinks available and the possibility of attending cocktail and spirit tasting master classes. The pub's undoubted highlight however, is the huge cupola which covers most of the high ceiling. It's a remarkable feature, with gold bands radiating from a central rose, from where a huge chandelier hangs. The bands are decorated with depictions of fruit and flowers and in between each band there is a painting of a scene from somewhere around the world, with panels beneath explaining where that might be (Strasbourg, Sylhet, Chongquing and of course Leicester, to name but a few). Some stained glasswork has also been incorporated and the overall effect is quite dazzling. Stairs to the rear left lead down to the Hendricks Gin Bar - a tile floored room with café-style tables and a few sofas. A dark wood servery runs to the rear, with a nice carved counter, and the whole room has some good low wood panelling with orange, white and blue tiles running in a band above. A cabinet full of Delft ceramics stands near the stairs and the toilet doors have the appropriate genders written in both French and Flemish. Signs pointed the way to a 'Secret Garden', but I didn't get round to taking a look.
There is no cask ale sold here, perhaps because they feel it doesn't fit with the Belgian theme, but there were some interesting keg options and, after a chat with the helpful barman, I ended up with a pint of Flying Dog Easy IPA for £3.90. The remaining taps had a mix of mainstream (Carlsberg, Guinness etc...) and craft beers such as Whitstable Pale Ale. A good bottled range could be viewed in the fridges and as you would expect, there were plenty of Belgian options, all listed on a large board on the left hand wall.
My early afternoon visit saw this place pretty quiet and I felt that this was probably the best sort of time to explore this place, as it gives you the chance to relax and take in the fine interior. I thought it was a really interesting building and whilst it's a bit of a shame that there is no ale sold here, there was still plenty enough to make me consider returning.

On 21st January 2016 - rating: 7
[User has posted 2472 recommendations about 2472 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Real Ale Ray left this review about Cafe Bruxelles

Well worth a swift one, just to admire the decor. The pub was busy enough on our Sat afternoon visit. The clientele ranged from 20's to 30's, who were enjoying the ambience of this trendy Café bar and most probably didn't mind the top end prices. Hoegaarden was my choice, which was a cloudy wheat beer. No real ale.

On 3rd February 2014 - rating: 6
[User has posted 2976 recommendations about 2976 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

ROB Camra left this review about Cafe Bruxelles

A fantastic looking bar, very ornate with a great domed ceiling, parquet flooring and a chandelier. It's worth a look in for the decor alone. Sadly there's no real ale on the bar and the list of Belgian beers is just that, a list with no tasting notes or description. It was the end of a very long day for me and a bottle of 9% Trippel would probably have finished me off, so I just had a half of San Miguel whilst I had a look round. It was very quiet at about 10:30 on a Thursday evening with there only being 2 other people in the bar. I'd visit again for the decor, but not for the beer range.

On 22nd April 2013 - rating: 6
[User has posted 2855 recommendations about 2776 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Quinno _ left this review about Cafe Bruxelles

A unique place for Leicester, in that it serves no ale but specializes in continental fayre (the oddly mainstream keg fonts notwithstanding) with a good menu of Belgian beers at fairly reasonable prices (my Gulden Draak being £4.80 last visit). The interior (converted from an old bank, I understand) is the real star, with a fantastically ornate domed ceiling, intricate moulded bar area, wood block flooring and deco-period wood porchway. There’s a small downstairs bar and ‘secret garden’ hidden behind firmly closed fire doors but I wonder if that might simply be a smoking terrace? Unobtrusive background music was playing on my Sunday afternoon visit. Given my lack of Belgian beer knowledge I gave the friendly barmaid a run for her money; enthusiastic as she was, she forgot my only stipulation that I wanted something ‘dark’ (the menu only listed the beers rather than gave proper guidance). A good leftfield choice and well-worth including on a LE1 crawl if you are adventurous.

July 2006
Really beautiful interior (check out the domed ceiling) coupled with an excellent range of continental bottled beers at reasonable prices, should make this a must for any pub crawl in Leicester. The food is OK though not brilliant however, my Mediterranean chicken ciabatta seemed to be distinctly lacking a Mediterranean slant...Mrs Quinno's mussels were a lot better though.

On 21st April 2013 - rating: 7
[User has posted 3997 recommendations about 3985 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Steve of N21 left this review about Cafe Bruxelles

Cafe Bruxelles is a former bank on the High Street in Leicester City centre, and as good as it looks from the outside, it is even more stunning inside, and this place is worth a visit for the high domed ceiling alone.
So fairly pleased the first born brought me in here on Wednesday evening to close our small crawl with a Belgium Beer. Probably didn't see the place at its best as it was very empty and seemed to have been recently taken over by new management who were still sorting the place out. And an 8.5% Belgium Honey Beer is probably not the best way to end an evening on top of what we had already imbibed.
But didn't moan as it was worth it for the building and the interior and I could sit back and admire the ceiling whilst chewing through the Honey treacle..
Great to see these old places kept alive as places to drink in, and long may it remain so.

On 28th November 2009 - rating: 7
[User has posted 1699 recommendations about 1648 pubs]