Place Du Chatelain 17 , Brussels, Belgium
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Brussels is a paradise for anyone who likes good beer in small neighbourhood bars. While it does also have the larger bars the majority are still small and cosy. Chatelaine is a small neighbourhood about 10 minutes to the east of the centre and its surrounding streets are filled with bars of all types. In the square itself is a bar bearing the same name “Le Chatelain”. I have walked past this many times and always though it looked inviting but it took a long time before I got the chance to visit it. It's a popular bar and on busy evenings in the summer you can see the crowds spilling into the square itself.
The premises itself is long and narrow with a small bar to the right as you enter. The room is divided by a waist-high wall which essentially two narrow areas which open out into a larger square room at the rear. In total it has about 14 tables which seat maybe 50 people. The walls are decorated with old movie posters and pictures of Hollywood actors while the bar itself has some nice ceramic beer taps. The staff are friendly and welcoming and the immediate feeling is one of warmth and comfort.
The beer selection is good, though not all the options on the menu were available on the evening we called. Service was a little slow but was friendly and the slight delay was not an issue. On my first visit I had not realised the Le Chatelain serves food but in the back space there is a grill area and the activity there grabbed my attention enough that a later visit was specifically for the food. It's probably not the place to visit if you're a vegetarian but if you like a range of wood-grilled meats then it's a perfect place to visit. The mixed grill provides a good taste of the menu and contains ribs, sausages, lamb and steak. This is all cooked on a wood grill in public view. The quantities are good and the quality was excellent. Combined with a couple of glasses of Leffe it was a good evening for just €20 each. Food is served until 11pm.
The toilets are down some steep stairs and they are very clean. In fact they seem to be kept clean enough that the smell anyone sitting near the door notices is one of chemicals. However this is not very strong, even in the immediate table.
Le Chatelain seems to subscribe to the theory that a good bar is somewhere that people should relax and talk rather than be bombarded with loud music that requires customers to shout at each other. And it succeeds. While causal tourists to Brussels are unlikely to venture out of the city centre anyone who visits the Chatelain area will find Le Chatelain worth a visit among the many options available to them in the area.
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