Brussels Bar and Restaurant
This Belgian-inspired bar offers drinks like the Hendricks Tonic and Old Fashioned, which come with a 50ml-plus pours. The beer selection is large and predominantly Belgian.
- Sanlitun 三里屯
- Courtyard 4 (opposite west entrance of 1949 - The Hidden City), Gongti Beilu, Chaoyang District
- Daily 11am-2am
- 6591 9525, 134 8880 4794 (Ken Bermel)
- ¥¥¥¥ 80-120 per person
Current events at Brussels Bar and Restaurant
User reviews of Brussels Bar and Restaurant
Ponytail in Beijing.
Also good food and good drinks.
I also saw the owner(?) set up at a limited bar outside on a cold night when the inside was booked for a private event, so potential customers could still enjoy a drink or some food. Awesome.
How is this not the best bar in Sanlitun?
I'm a guy who likes bars and food, good conversation, events/sports on TV, food specials, happy hours, and good company. I loathe the loud clubbing music bars in Sanlitun with the occasional 17 year-old stumbling around trashed after his/her 2nd Jager Bomb. I like being able to hear people when we're talking. I like fair priced, quality drinks and good food. Brussels offers all of it.
I'm not some old grouch that gets mad at them damn youngsters that play their rockin roll too loud. I'm also not a rebel teen who wants to own a dance floor with my sick dubstep moves. I'm in my mid 20's that just likes to be social.
Just a stones throw away from the Village, it is more than worth your time. The breakfast is the best I've had since leaving the States in what seems a blue moon ago. The atmosphere is friendly and I dont have to put up with a sore-ear-drums vibe, watered down beer, and choking thick second-hand smoke. And the pizza! Good lord, do your stomach a favor and order it.
The waitstaff, bar staff, managers/owners aim to please. Introduce yourself when you're there, they truly value each customer and want you to be happy. No bar or restaurant is ever flawless, but I've had nothing but good experiences when I go here and it's hands down my favorite place in Sanlitun, and trust me...I've been to all of them. Give it a shot, you wont be disapointed.
After reading the posts on here i decided to have dinner last night at Brussels. I am from Boston area so was very eager to try the fish, home of the best cod. The place is very comfortable and seemed to have a nice clientel for a friday night and the atmosphere was very good for conversation and well lit with romantic candles on the tables.
However the fish sandwich i had was probably the worst i ever had. Overcooked in oil that was not hot enough and soaked into the beer batter. Lots of batter, not much fish. My dining companion had the shrimp and it was truly unedible. I called the gentleman from upstairs (looks American) and asked him to taste it to see if it was what was expected. He said it was all right but that the buffalo sauce they drench it in was not to everyones taste.
He graciously suggested that they would replace it with something so i told him to pick something he likes and we will try it. What came out were fish sticks that had the same soggy fish in oil drenched batter. The food really tasted a bit off, and the next morning it all went right thru me.
I think they could have a very good thing here, but they will really need to clean up the kitchen.
Hefty portions of delicious (and not even just delicious "for Beijing" or "for what it is" -- just straight-up sexy delicious) food at super, mega-reasonable prices. Honestly, I have never been served a comparable amount of beer-battered fish and chips for this price. And it's delicious. And reasonably-priced. And did I mention it's delicious? OMG. Fish. So good. And the burgers? Dang! They good, too, especially the Aussie one.
And the drink selection is great! No complaints there. Not even close.
The Chinese staff might not all have perfect English skills, but they're eager to be of service and to correct food and drink issues. And, more importantly, they often go the extra mile with a smile.
They're happy to play Missy Elliott if you ask nicely.
The atmosphere is nice and clean and not too bar-y (I'm looking at you, floor-to-ceiling windows!). There's a surprising amount of room to dance, and plenty of seating for when you get tired of dancing.
And, most importantly, Kenneth G. Bermel is easily among Beijing's most devoted, eager-to-please business owners. Problems with food or drinks? He'll solve 'em and be awesome while he does it! Want to host a party there for 230 of your closest friends? He'll work it out, plus he'll hang out to make sure everything's cool. Want to eat a unicorn? I would honestly trust him to be the man who could make it happen on a menu. Really, if he can make totally legit and bangin' Buffalo chicken happen in Beijing, why not unicorns?!
I went at about 5:20 pm on a Tuesday for the half price food.
I didn't find the drink specials to be amazing at all. I tried to get the Slowboat American Pale Ale, but after ten minutes waiting the staff informed me they were out. I opted instead for Slowboat's Dragonboat Lager and I wish I hadn't. I don't know if it was the style of the beer or just a bad batch/pint, but it came out sour and an opaque yellow color with a lot of sediment. I love microbrews and I'm open minded about new styles, but that was just a bad beer, and disappointing at 40 rmb (happy hour price, mind you).
I then ordered the filet mignon. Regular price 160, happy hour 80. They asked me how I wanted it, and I said medium. It came out almost blue-rare. Again, I know filet mignon is usually cooked rarer than other cuts, but it's not like I asked for well done. Very happy I didn't pay full price for that. Overall, for steak deals, I'd recomment Flamme on a Tuesday (2 for 1) or First Floor on a Monday (half off) for steaks. I much preferred First Floor's steak, in fact, and it's a bit cheaper. They also have cheaper drinks and a lot more people.
On a previous visit, the wait staff brought me the wrong dish, but luckily the owner/manager was there so there was no problem getting it replaced. I'd dread that conversation otherwise.
I keep wanting to give this place another chance but Sanlitun is full of early week deals, and I don't think I'd ever go to Brussels unless there were some specials going on, so I might have to stay away from now on.
Was here for the first time last Saturday night for a friend's birthday. There were a big group of us so it was nice that they had enough space (and tables) for us to be able to push a long line of tables together so we could all sit together. Had a few pints of snake bite on happy hour before 9pm (35RMB), then went on to enjoy the 10RMB mojitos from 9pm - 10pm. The mojitos were strong and are served in mammoth-size cocktail glasses, however the 3 I had all tasted a bit different... one was really, really strong (no complaints), one was really sweet and one was perfect. In fairness though, can't really complain at 10 kuai a pop, and they're bound to busy thrashing mojitos together during that hour so it's more of an observation than a complaint.
I noticed a board on the wall advertising a different promotion every day, all of which look quite appealling and good value.
The layout is nice as well, it's a big open space, good for big gatherings and the staff were friendly and attentive (esp the foreign bartender, who was happy to keep giving me more blackcurrant in my snakebite). Didn't venture up to the second floor, so not seen the space up there.
Looking forward to trying the food, and making this a regular stop on my weekend Sanlitun bar crawl.
I've been a couple of times at this place, and yep it's very pleasant.
The food is good although it can vary sometimes but overall they are always tying their best to improve the place.
The service is good, and the people there is generally friendly.
This is a bar to chill out, very relaxing. Some one posted above that the owner is very sexy ha,ha, I see a little bit of your point but I don't think she's she big owner, plus, she's been getting weight in the last few months thou ;-( :''(
Just read on thebeijinger Brussels' happy hour is "awesome" and "the best". Sounds good, but hard to believe any place in SLT has a similar happy hour to the Den(15rmb Carlsberg and 30rmb Guinness pints). Given that the Den plays all the sports I'm not a fan of and is just a watering hole for me, I would switch to a comparable place for beginning the night. So what's the Brussels happy hour on pints?
(Never been there. Rating based on average)
Been here three times in the past two months. First time, fish and chips was excellent. Second time, so-so. Last night, crap. The fish was spongy as though microwave defrosted after longterm freezing. It wasn't inedible, but it was nowhere near the good quality of my first visit. It really suggested a downward trajectory in the quality of their food.
The beer is good, it's always nice to have Guinness on tap and the Slow Boat stuff is great. Service really good, music fine, atmosphere good. But really, make sure the food doesn't suck!
After I posted this review, Brussels got in touch with me, apologising for not keeping a sufficient eye on the kitchen during a very busy evening (this is true, BritCham were running a quiz night) and offering a free replacement meal. This is excellent customer reltions so I'm bumping them up a star. Well done, Brussels!
I like this bar. The service is good, the prices are reasonable, and the alcohol selection suits my tastes. I even like their wonky pool table. They also play good music.
If I could change something it would be the decor. The place is a little too sterile/modern... If they ripped out the tables and chairs and replaced them with wooden stools and tables, I'd be a regular.
Brussels is an ok Bar. Nothing special. Food and drinks are not outstanding, music is fine. However people regularly attanding the place are woth to mention, cool and always amusing. The main reason I really would consider to be a regular ( and this is why i usually go there) is the super sexy manager owner. Certainly i meant the Lady Jessey
Brussels is one of my favorite places in town. It's not a place you go to see and be seen. It's also not a place you go to dance. It's not a so-loud-you-have-to-shout bar that serves cheap mediocre cocktails (sometimes with fake booze). The menu isn't fancy or expensive but the food is delicious and super good quality, especially their burger and the fried fish, oh!—and the chicken strips. The fries are great too. Mussels are Belgian style (I prefer the French way) but they’re fine too. I heard they might start making pizza available latter in the night too.
Last night I was in there and they were installing a Slow Boat beer tap. This is a great example of how the management of Brussels is constantly trying to improve the place. Each time I try their burger, it’s better than the previous time.
I think the best way to think about Brussels is to compare it with the competition. There's really no place like it (at least today). Most Sanlitun bars are quite expensive and usually more than a little bit pretentious. For a guy looking for good dive, the other options are what, Nanjie? Woah, hello teenagers, fake booze and hangover (in that order). There’s Stumble Inn and First Floor. Brussels has better food, cocktails and beer selection than either of these places and unless you really want to drink Qingdao’s, shout over the music and dodge the hookers at 1st floor, then Brussels is a sight better, and they have a huge TV! And foosball! And a pool table!
Another place to compare them to is Beer Mania, the other Belgian beer bar. Brussels doesn’t match Beer Mania’s people watching or selection of obscure Belgian beers but they have more draft options, better food, and better prices across the board.
I notice some of the other reviewers complaining about the service without being specific. There seems to be a consensus that the service is too Chinese. I don’t really understand what that means but maybe I’ve been here too long (4 years). I did live in the capital of bad service, Paris, for a couple years and I have to say that the service at Brussels is more prompt and friendly than 90% of Paris cafes.
Brussels hasn’t been open for too long and I hope that they can make it work. They’re trying to keep prices as low as they can without sacrificing quality and that is something admirable in any business.
I'm not much of a beer drinker and I don't have a discerning taste for cocktails. Give me a Tsingdao or a decent cider or a rum and Diet Coke and I'm happy. So for me what makes a good bar is the food, atmosphere, service and value. On almost all of these points Brussels gets high or satisfactory marks.
Let's get the biggest weakness out of the way first: The service was pretty bad when they first opened, even by Beijing standards. However, every time that I've gone there I've noticed improvement. The staff behind the bar is really great and while the waitstaff still needs work they are clearly getting there. Gods know that getting good staff is the bane of every bar and restaurant manager's existence, but I think that the folks at Brussels are doing an OK job with what they've got... and they're always trying to improve. And that earns points in my book.
The atmosphere here is, strangely, among my favorites in the city. It's not to everybody's taste, but I like the split levels: The downstairs has a distinct bar vibe, with it's lower ceiling, dimmer lighting, pool table and muted colors. The upstairs is a definite casual dining space that can handle private events or serve as extra bar space on a busy night. The open air area near the front allows for video projections on a large wall, making it a great place to watch sports. The only problem that I have is the area on the second floor that swings out over the downstairs bar and onto a secluded area at the front. It just doesn't really fit, IMO.
The food... Oh, the food! Just 3 items on the menu make this one of the best places in town to eat in my book: The fries, the Buffalo chicken and the fish. Any one of those are worth stopping in for. The fries are crispy and flavorful and always cooked perfectly, and the various mayonnaises are all great accompaniments. The Buffalo chicken is made with Frank's Red Hot, which, if you've ever been to Buffalo, you know is the *only* way to make it. (Seriously, if the sauce doesn't use Frank's Red Hot then it's not "Buffalo".) The Buffalo burger is really big and hands-down the best in Beijing. And the fish... DAMN. The homemade beer batter on the cod fillets is amazing and would hold its own among the best that you can get in New England. (And as a very arrogant New Englander I do not make that kind of claim lightly.)
Value here is a no-brainer. With a 20 RMB lunch deal and immense fish plates for 58 RMB on Fridays, coupled with an insane happy hour (just 40 RMB for a pint of cider... a bottle costs 65 RMB at James Joyce!), Brussels has very quickly distinguished itself as one of the best places to go where you know you'll get bang for your buck.
Finally, the "Brussels" theme is really just that: a theme. To go here expecting a Belgian experience with authentic food from the Low Countries is to set yourself up for disappointment. There are flourishes, such as the fries, the great mayonnaises and some Belgian beers on hand, but that's all that you should expect. I think that a little more effort could be made to enhance the "Belgian-ness" of the place, such as some colors, more paraphernalia on the walls and the like. Maybe they could go gangbusters on the Belgian beers. But, to me, this feels more like a general neighborhood pub than a place that needs some kind of themed identity to attract people.
I always felt that a place serving Belgian beer, and especially mussels and fries, was sorely missed in Beijing. There are fantastic options in HK for example, with great atmosphere, great beer, and - most importantly - great mussels! They are always crowded not only with expats.
When we first heard about Brussels we were really excited. We have been there a couple of times since, but I must say that they somehow, something feels wrong with this place.
Atmosphere: The set-up and furnishing feel like a mix of a cafe (downstairs) and a canteen (upstairs). Both do not make me feel like I stepped into a Belgium bar or restaurant at all. It looks like this place was put together in a rush, without character.
Concept: Brussels wants to be both bar and restaurant. In my opinion, it does both half hearted. For a restaurant, the food has not enough variety (1 option of mussels), and does not reach a sufficient quality level to make me want to come back.
I also do not understand the often praised value of the 100RMB all-you-can-eat mussels. If you order one portion, you pay less and get more than enough (of course if you do not want any other food, and just want to eat yourself silly with mussels, go for it).
Mussels are so easy to prepare, and there are so many great possible flavors, why not offering a bit more variety?
For a bar, it looks too much like a café, not a place where I want to hang out and have a beer with friends.
A casual restaurant, where you can have a decent dinner, but also feel like staying after your meal and continue with a few beers, would be perfect in my opinion.
People/Service: I think it has been mentioned before, but their staff is – to say the least – a bit blur.
On most evenings I have been there (and often walked past), there are actually more staff than guests in this place. Always one westerner (owner? consultant?), who seems to be using the place as a hang out with his own friends, smoking his cigar while you try to enjoy food at the next table.
The place has been very empty every time we went, the 2nd floor even closed, which adds to the odd atmosphere.
This week we wanted to give the place one more chance to watch the EURO semi-finals, as I thought the big screen would be perfect.
On Wednesday evening we checked out the place (again, only 4-5 guests in the bar). Although the staff was not able to communicate to us in a convincing manner that much would be happening (we enquired how many people had watched the last few games), we thought we would give it a try for Thursday (oddly there was no mention about Spain/Portugal, only the Germany/Italy match was advertised the night before). Half an hour before the Germany/Italy match on Thursday night, there was absolutely nobody in the bar. Although we were a large enough group ourselves, we quickly decided to head over to Sanlitun and watch the match there instead.
Overall, the location, and the place itself, have great potential, but as it is now we will probably not return. If you have ever been to a bustling Belgian bar/restaurant, you will know what I mean.
I was there today for their lunch deal.
I must say, I was not expecting much for 20 RMB as far as a burger is concerned.
However, it really blew me away. I felt full at lunch for the first time in a long time.
It tasted great too.
For 20 rmb I got.
A buffalo chicken burger (two slabs of chicken, on a nicely toasted bun.)
An option of salad or fries. I took the fries. They were good.
And A Coke. The coke tasted kind of....wrong. But hey, whatever. It did it's job.
I've not seen a better lunch deal in town.
Five stars for that.
Although tucked away at the back of the Bookworm courtyard, Brussels exemplifies three things that most new bars in Beijing seem to forget: broad range of food and drink options, friendly service and a desire to make itself stand out.
Manager Ken Bermel gets the chance to fully make his mark on a new establishment with success so far. My own beer choices are not extremely adventurous, I admit, and I am happy with a trusty pint of Guinness. However, the range of beers, both on tap and bottled is extensive, while remaining very affordable. The bar is also huge and on two levels, making it a great place for big parties.
A fellow reviewer has already mentioned the best deal Brussels offers, their 100 RMB all you can eat mussels. With good and affordable seafood a rarity in Beijing, Brussels has seized the best thing ever to come out of Belgium (well apart from Jean-Claude Van Damme.)
The service still needs to be tightened up a little bit but it is getting better and I look forward to more evenings drinking under the watchful eye of the Mannekin Pis.
So, my girlfriend and I took two of her friends here last Friday. Like the title says, the Happy Hour specials are great (20 kuai mixed drinks and a good selection of draft beers) and the Friday Fish Fry offers a good price with tasty fish. However, living in China, service @ western bars and restaurants is still horrible - you know - because Chinese people work at these places and they still abide by family style serving schedules. My fish came out at 7:45, another plate at 8:10, another at 8:25 and then finally - my girlfriend's at around 8:50. Before the final two plates arrived we told the waitress to hurry because the wait was too long and we would have liked to eat together - not at 4 seperate times. The manager (who is from the US) came out and comped my girlfriend's dinner(8:50 plate) - which was awesome, but when the food arrived it was bread battered and not beer battered (my girlfriend is gluten intolerant). So... after over an hour and even a comped meal, it was still WRONG and she couldn't even eat it. We later found out that her meal was given to another table that arrived at least 30 minutcs after we sat down. In my honest opinion, there would have been nothing wrong with this place if Chinese servers knew how to do their jobs (I would gladly tip in China).
*If you want to own a western restaurant in China and charge western prices, you best have a wait staff that understands serving procedures not practiced at your local Chinese restaurant.
Having stumbled upon Brussels this week I also made two other discoveries: they have what appears to be the best happy hour in town and the 100rmb all you can eat Mussels are not to be missed. And their beer selection is formidable with 6 or 7 taps and plenty of bottled beer. Kudos to the bartender for NOT putting Qingdao or Beijing beer on tap. Instead, selling great beers on tap for the same price (during the four hour happy hour). I’m not an all you can eat fan but after trying the Mussels at the regular price I’m going back on Monday to tank up. They’re really good and a steal for what you get. That said, here is another one for you – at lunch they have a buffalo chicken sandwich, salad and a coke all for 20 rmb! 20 RMB! That’s craziness! The bar is huge with two floors of seating, a pool table downstairs, excellent wide screens for sports coverage and a very pleasant staff.