Shopping in Brussels used to be a very frustrating experience for me: I spent hours in crowded streets and chain stores without finding anything. Something was missing: the small, cool boutiques. Maybe I just didn't know where to find them?
Brussels is far from being a shopper's paradise. If you're after cool clothes, you might want to go to Antwerp or Berlin instead. However, with patience you can find several specialist shops with cool, not too expensive, and good quality brands (Skunkfunk and El Naturalista (a bit expensive though) to name a few).
I have a feeling that the city of Brussels is still trying to reach its full potential (despite the linguistic divide). One sign of this is the increasing number of small specialist shops. Below you can see a list of the best boutiques in Brussels:
- Mr. Ego, 29, Rue des Pierres, 1000 Brussels
- Six Shop, 44, Rue Marche aux Poulets, 1000 Brussels
- Pax Clothes and Furnitures, 8, Rue de la Paix, 1050 Brussels
- Look 50, 10, Rue de la Paix, 1050 Brussels
- Kusje, 12, Rue de la Paix, 1050 Brussels
- Pygmées, 4, Rue des Grands Carmes, 1000 Brussels
- Inno department store (lots of styles and different brands)
I'm hoping to find more nice shops, so let me know if you know any...
A drink after shopping? Of course. Here you have, in no particular order, the bars in Brussels that have a cozy atmosphere. More to be added later (obviously).
- Gecko Bar, 16, Place Saint-Géry, 1000 Brussels
- Zebra Bar, 33-34-35, Place Saint-Géry, 1000 Brussels
- Beursschouwburg, 20--28, Rue Auguste Orts, 1000 Brussels
- Nova, 3, Rue d'Arenberg, 1000 Brussels
- L'Archiduc, 6, Rue Antoine Dansaert, 1000 Brussels
- Kafka, 6, Rue de la Vierge Noire, 1000 Brussels
- Goupil le Fol, 22, Rue de la Violette, 1000 Brussels
- A La Mort Subite, 7, Rue Montagne-aux-Herbes Potagères, 1000 Brussels
- La Bécasse, 11, Rue Tabora, 1000 Brussels
- La Fleur en Papier Doré, 53, Rue des Alexiens, 1000 Brussels
- Le Cercueil, 10, Rue des Harengs, 1000 Brussels
- El Metteko, 86, Boulevard Anspach, 1000 Brussels
- L'Amour Fou, 185, Chaussée d'Ixelles, 1050 Brussels
- L'Ultime Atome, 14, Rue Saint Boniface, 1050 Brussels
- L'Union, 52, Parvis de St-Gilles, 1060 Brussels
- Le Fin de Siécle, 10, Rue des Chartreux, 1000 Brussels
- Le Fontainas, 91, Rue Marché au Charbon, 1000 Brussels
- Greenwich, 7, Rue des Chartreux, 1000 Brussels
- De Ultieme Hallucinatie, 316, Rue Royale, 1210 Brussels
- Chez Moeder Lambic, 68, Rue de la Savoie, Brussels
- Le Tavernier, 445, Chaussée de Boondael, 1080 Brussels
By the way, I don't understand why smoking is not yet banned in small bars and cafes (only in restaurants) -- I hope the legislation needed for the full smoking ban will be introduced in Belgium as soon as possible.