Though Antwerp’s “brown cafés”—smoke-stained salons historically haunted by the Flemish intelligentsia—are being replaced by fashion-y, upscale boîtes, a handful of dirty-ceilinged survivors remain. You can still gulp De Koninck from glass goblets alongside Tigra-smoking writers and musicians at the Billenkletser (Hoogstraat 22), where regulars sit at creaky wooden tables sampling 100 kinds of beer. Elsewhere, scruffy creatives pile into Den Hopsack, a dimly lit performance space/bar that carries on the brown-café tradition of late-night scholarly debate over the twang of live experimental-jazz sessions.
4. Insider’s Tip
Published on Jan 31, 2008 as a web exclusive.