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a city by city guide to the best indie clubs, bars, record shops and local bands

Brussels, Belgium

by Kevin Burger

Having been voted the most boring city in Europe a few years ago, Brussels has a very bad reputation when it comes to parties. Even though the city in itself may seem really bad for tourism (our main tourist attraction being a sculpture of a boy constantly peeing in a fountain), it is full of places to hang out and have fun! Being the city where Joy Division gigged abroad for the first time and where Ian Curtis met the inspirational famous author William Burroughs, Brussels also has a great cultural and musical history. With more than 30 percent of the population coming from abroad, the centre of Europe is also a really cosmopolitan and open-minded city.


Indie club
The Wood, 1 Chemin De La Meute.
Everything you could expect from an indie club with DJs playing the best from new and classical indie rock hits. The club in itself, located just in front of the university isn't really close to the city center and most of the people don't really start to dance before quite late.

Back To The Grave
Madame Moustache, 5-7 Quai Au Bois Brulé
Every Wednesday
Best from the sixties! Psychedelic rock mixed with garage rock and soul! Very very good party and probably the only weekly rock one in Brussels. And it's FREE!

Los Ninos
Times and places vary
Gay-friendly party. The music is actually more electro-oriented but the party often welcomes DJ sets from well-known indie band members such as White Lies, Shitdisco and Hot Chip!

Modern Disco Club
Madame Moustache, 5-7 Quai Au Bois Brulé
Famous party with DJs playing a mix of modern pop (indie pop), nu disco and electro music. Except to hear the likes of Darwin Deez, Beach House, Neon Indian, Girls.

Buzz On Your Lips
Times and places vary
Buzz On Your Lips is a collective organising some alternative quality parties and shows in Brussels since a few years. Artists having already played for a Buzz On Your Lips party including Crystal Castles, Prefuse 73, Covox, Bonobo, Factory Floor and DJ sets from Kele Okereke, Caribou, Metronomy, Foals, Chris Clark and much more.


110 Boulevard Anspach
Probably the best concert room in Brussels in terms of sound and lighting. This concert hall welcomes the most famous indie rock bands such as MGMT or Queens Of The Stone Age.

236 Rue Royale
Located above the Botanic garden, this wonderfull monument contains 3 concert rooms, a bar and an exhibition room. All concert rooms being mostly dedicated to indie pop, rock and folk bands. Probably the most famous one for indie lovers.

Les Ateliers Claus
Passage Charles Rogier
Recently relocated, this small concert rooms welcomes up and coming bands from all over the world.

Magasin 4
51B Avenue du port
This is probably the most alternative concert place in Brussels. The majority of the gigs are hardcore bands but there still are a great number of psychedelic/garage/indie/experimental rock bands coming here.
Lydia Lunch, Bo Ningen and Monotonix have recently been there, to name a few examples.

25 Rue Des Ursulines
Recyclart is also a very alternative place in Brussels, offering weird gigs or organising unusual parties and exhibitions. This non-profit organisation based in a former train station, even if it can sometimes be quite bad tasted is also renouned for having some of the most unexpected shows and concerts in Brussels.


8 Rue Des Pierres
Great friendly pub located in the city center with a cool atmosphere. Music varying from jazz to electro or rock music depending on the DJ/artist who's playing.

Café Central
14 Rue Borgval
Nice alternative bar with DJs playing most of the time. The bar also organises alternative parties, indie concerts and a weekly film projection (every Sunday). Definetely worth a visit.

18-20 Plattesteen
This bar used to be the place where all Brusseler punks met in the 80s. Today, it attracts all kind of rock lovers even though the last punks from Brussels still meet there every week. The bar also often organises alternative/experimental/rock concerts.

Le Pantin
355 Chaussée D'Ixelles
Located 15 minutes away from the city centre by bus near the famous Place Flagey, this former theatre welcomes artists and chess players from the surrondings.

20 Rue Des Riches Claires
A great old bar with a jukebox! Don't expect to be served nicely in there, but it's part of the global atmosphere. Also, the bar can be really crowded with some extremly dull persons on a Friday or a Saturday night, so I'd recommend to go there during the week as the bar is a lot more noticeable when not so crowded.

Café Modèle
208 Rue Antoine Dansaert
Nice small bar located on the border of the city centre. You can usually hear some great indie music while eating a good morning brunch or drinking a beer in the afternoon. The only problem is that the bar often closes quite early.

Café Maison Du Peuple
39 Parvis De St Gilles
Not located in the centre, this bar often offers concerts or DJ sets. Mostly electro-pop though.

Record Shops

Veals And Geeks
8a Rue Des Grands Carmes
Great vinyl shop also selling vintage games and specialized magazines. They have a good selection of Italian garage rock.

The Collector
26 Rue De La Bourse
Probably one of the most famous in Brussels. Selling vinyls of every kind, you may found some rarities in this store.

Located next to the AB, it's a very small second hand vinyl shop specialized in goth, industrial and neofolk music.

Local bands


Ghinzu is, with Hooverphonic, the most famous band of Belgium. After having released 3 albums and found succes in other European countries and especially in France, this band is a must-hear if you want to get to know Belgian rock culture.

The Black Box Revelation
Blues/garage rock band based in Brussels.

Girls In Hawaii
They're probably my favourite Belgian band. Unfortunately, one of the member died recently so I don't know if they'll still be touring and making some new music.



Team William


Cinema Nova
It's an alternative cinema playing mostly independant movies. The place in itself is really great and the cinema also participates to a film festival called Offscreens in which weird films and b-movies are being shown during twoweeks following a theme.

Main Brussels pic © Prone To Wander

If you'd like to recommend a club, bar, record shop, band or any indie delight for inclusion in the Indie Travel Guide, please email us. If we've included a link to your band/shop etc, it would be lovely if you could link back to us. Thank you!

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