It used to be hard to find a rooftop terrace in Brussels, but now there are several spots where you can go to get a panoramic view of the city.
The only problem is that word has got out, and so some of these places can get really crowded when the sun is out. But that just goes to show that people are getting to appreciate the hidden side of Brussels.
The top floor of Parking 58 was once a secret spot above the city where young people liked to hang out. But this rooftop hideaway is not a secret any more. Every summer, the bare concrete roof of the 1958 car park is transformed into a pop up bar. This year, the organisers have laid out artificial grass, a vegetable garden and picnic tables to create a relaxed mood for a weekend party. It’s free to go up there, although you might have to wait a bit since there is only one lift. Once you reach the rooftop, you can order a cocktail, eat some food and listen to cool music as the sun goes down.
It could only happen in Brussels. You find this rooftop terrace above a bowling alley, next to a stretch of mediaeval city wall. Take the lift to the roof terrace and you’re in for a surprise. People in the know gather here to sit with a cocktail enjoying the unexpected urban view. But be prepared for crowds on evenings when the Play Label Rooftop collective hosts a pop-up party featuring the latest electronic music. Check them on Facebook for dates and bear in mind that events can be cancelled if the weather turns bad.
Built in 1899, it used to be the Old England department store. Now the impressive Art Nouveau building on the Mont des Arts is a musical instrument museum. It has kept its original roof terrace restaurant which has a spectacular view of the old town. You can take an ancient creaky lift up to the top floor without buying a ticket for the museum. It’s best to go in the early morning before it becomes too crowded.
Rue Montagne de la Cour 2 Central Brussels www.mim.be
It used to brew beer. But the Wielemans-Ceuppens brewery has been converted into Brussels’ foremost arts hub. Now called Wiels, the Art Deco complex recently opened a roof terrace where you can watch the trains gliding into the Gare du Midi. No bar, but the view is fascinating.