Hidden Belgium: A serious bar for jazz fans

Hidden Belgium: A serious bar for jazz fans

Ring the doorbell to enter. The doorman eventually admits you to this secretive cocktail bar in Brussels’ Rue Dansaert with its distinctive blue façade dating from 1937.

Some famous musicians have come through the door. Miles Davis, Bono, Lady Gaga and Jacques Brel have all performed in the Art Deco den that is L'Archiduc.

It started out as a rather dubious café run by Madame Alice where married men would meet up with their mistresses. All that changed in 1953 when Stan Brenders turned it into a serious café for jazz fans. It’s now in the safe hands of jazz fan Jean-Louis Hennart.

The chrome detailing and balcony are now a bit faded, but the place is still one of the coolest places in town for cocktails and jazz. Arrive at the right time, and someone will be playing the piano.

Derek Blyth’s hidden secret of the day: Derek Blyth is the author of the bestselling “The 500 Hidden Secrets of Belgium”. He picks out one of his favourite hidden secrets for The Brussels Times every day.

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