lo the Brusse s bust
It may be known as the grey capital, but even in the Belgian city, every cloud has a silver lining. Let’s dance. Words: Anna Millar
he diminutive pissing urchin dressed tip as a pint-sized
Baden Powell should have given it away really. All
bronzed gloss and no class. The Mannekin l’is may symbolise the 'irreverent spirit‘ of the capital. but today. it looks all wrong. If the little man of Brussels could speak for himself he‘d surely tell the visiting Vll’ responsible for such a garb to. quite literally. ‘piss off‘. This strange oddity aside. you can‘t help but feel a gentle affinity for Belgium's promising capital.
Brussels initially feels sharnbolic and cluttered. until you notice that it‘s actually unique in the way that the architecture quietly reflects the histon or more speciﬁcally the invasion. that’s been forced upon it. lirench. Austrian and Spanish influences are all evident as you wander through narrow cobbled lanes that house shop windows full of national treasures like Rene Magritte prints and Tintin toys.
Nothing has a cohesive formation — baroque churches unreservedly crop tip next to art nouveau department stores. and medieval street patterns are callously interrupted by boulevards introduced during the 19th century drive for ‘modernisation‘. liven the capital's main attraction. the (irand‘l’lace (accommodating the magnificently gothic Hotel de Ville) is as celebrated for its complexity of structure as it is for its sheer presence and exuberance.
But while Brussels may not instantly exude clarity. it
certainly knows how to capitalise on its finest assets. lf
epicurean delights are your tipple de jour. you can't go far wrong in the beer capital of the world. The urban regeneration of the early ‘)()s has brought with it a slew of new trendy cafe-
1 16 THE LIST ‘~’. 2?) No; 200?
bars ready to accommodate a young crowd up for an all night drinking session or two.
DJ Bars are the next big thing and they‘re hotter than ever. Shorts and spirits are a little pricey. but you can happily drink your way through the ‘speciality beers’ menu for the equivalent of what it would cost you down your local. The livelier bars can be found in the Lower Town. especially in the effortlessly hip area between St (iery and the .Vlannekin l’is. The .‘vlarolles quarter south-east of the (irand‘l’lace is also well worth a look.
Brussels also offers laid-back clubbing at its very best. (iirls sick of clubbing in liurope due to ‘over-friendly' clientele will be in for a pleasant surprise. Enjoyment factor: dix points. Hassle factor: nil. And the most any boys about town need worry about is tipping the bouncer (a euro or two) on the way out.
Not just beer and chocolate, but decks appeal too
Girls sick of clubbing due to ‘over— friendly’ clientele are
- . . I Ihose expecting a futuristic extravaganza should "1 a have a swift rethink. Belgian clubbing is far more sur rise concerned with the quality of the sound than the p
glitz and glamour of the experience. But there's still plenty to get dressed up for.
A word to the wise though — no public transport (unless you count some pricey taxis) exists between lZ.3ll—5.3t)am. so the less hardcore among you should probably go home with a warm cup of cocoa if you don't think you can stand the pace.
Just one request though: can someone please send that poor boy a new outfit'.’