Does a bar count as a cultural excursion?


When I told a friend that I’d be in Belgium over the weekend he mentioned that he would be going a little bit later this year and asked if I could, among other things, recommend “architecture, historical, Jewish, or cultural spots in Bruges.”

The Bruges train station.
The Bruges train station.

Well, I was in Bruges, and the closest I came to any of those things that I think was truly worth visiting is a bar.  Does that count that as a cultural spot?

Bruges actually has some great architecture.  It is a small town (no more than a 30 minute walk end to end) and it seems to be stuck in the 1700s architecture-wise.  The whole town has a great, quaint feel to it that makes it a lot of fun to wander around and try to get lost in.  And getting lost isn’t too hard thanks to the many small streets and complete lack of anything resembling order in the street plan.

The architecture in Bruges is more or less stuck in the 1700s. Looking out on the canals of Bruges. A quiet conversation and smoke on the canal.
The architecture in Bruges is more or less stuck in the 1700s. Looking out on the canals of Bruges. A quiet conversation and smoke on the canal.

And there are a couple squares in town with lots of people and beautiful buildings surrounding them.

Guy on a bike.  Typical for Belgium.
Guy on a bike. Typical for Belgium.

So the architecture and history parts are easy.  But what about looking for culture?  I am pretty sure that the chocolate museum doesn’t count (and it really is just “meh” overall as an experience).  But as the afternoon started to wind down we managed to find our way to ‘t Brugs Beertje.

The place is more than just a bar really.  It is a truly local watering hole – far more locals than tourists were inside.  And the beer selection was out of this world while remaining wholly Belgian.  They have well over 100 beers from 60 different brouerij (breweries) across Belgium.  I think that the Delirium Cafe has a similarly broad selection, but it is way more of a “scene” than a place for relaxing conversations with good friends and good beer.  By the time we left, 90 minutes after they opened on Sunday afternoon, the place was packed.

Inside 't Brugs Beertje, a phenomenal bar in Bruges.
Inside ‘t Brugs Beertje, a phenomenal bar in Bruges.
Mmmm....beer.
Mmmm….beer.

There was also the Wall of Beer that we saw.  Maybe that is more cultural?

No? Certainly a statue has to be considered cultural, right?

Who knew that the Belgians were such fans of Harry Caray.

A few more photos from Bruges here.

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and .

2 Comments

  1. Thanks for the pointers! Obviously I’ll have to keep looking (other than for beer and buildings.)

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