Landmark Brussels brasserie Café Métropole, located on Place de Brouckère, is set to close its doors at the end of this month, more than 130 years after it first opened to the public.
The café, located in a classified Art Nouveau building, is suffering the same fate as the synonymous Hotel Métropole. The former five-star hotel closed its doors in 2020, citing financial problems that started with the terrorist attacks in Paris and Brussels, which were exacerbated by the pandemic.
"It is with a heavy heart that we announce that the Café Métropole adventure will come to an end as of Saturday, February 26, 2022, as we have reached the end of our lease," Café Métropole's management posted on its social media channels.
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"We would like to sincerely thank you all for these beautiful moments together and for your loyalty throughout the years," the post read.
The announcement of the establishment's closure comes one year after its re-opening. Manuel Rodriguez, manager of the establishment, blames the changes which have occurred in the area and said that the city is not what it used to be.
"To be honest, I'm happy about it. Before, we had tourists, office workers who came to eat at lunchtime, and seminar clients. Today, all that is over," he told Bruzz.
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According to Rodriguez, there is no life left on Place de Brouckère, which has undergone large-scale structural changes, including the pedestrianising of the area. "There's no entertainment, no restaurants that attract people, etc."
He pointed to his efforts to create events to make the area more attractive. "I installed a DJ on the terrace. He mixed lounge music on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays."
"But the presence of beggars, alcoholics and other drug addicts spoiled everything a bit. I had to take a security guard morning, noon and night. In spite of all this, it was very difficult to create a certain serenity for the customers. Some days we had beggars on the terrace 50 times a day," he said.
The building housing the café was built by the architect Gédéon Bordiaun in 1872 in the context of the creation of the "boulevards du Centre," another improvement project instigated to replace the Senne, which had become a burden on the city centre.
It was later bought by the brewers Wielemans-Ceuppens to open the Café Métropole in 1890.