Appetite for staycation: “guinguette” your teeth into the summer

La Mouette© Saskia Vanderstichele

For many of us, this summer will be a staycation. But don’t be sad about that because the numerous summer bars or “guinguettes” are ideal spots to chill and have yourself a brilliant summer.

1. The guinguette La Mouette at the canal in Anderlecht

Blazing sunshine, glistening water, seagulls flying back and forth… In Anderlecht, a new summer bar is creating the perfect illusion of a beach spot in the middle of the city. Ideal for a brilliant summer.

Three or four years ago, they started popping up everywhere: summer bars or guinguettes in French. The word guinguette originally referred to a popular café where people eat, drink, and dance, often in the open air. Guinguettes were most popular in the 19th century, especially on the banks of the river Marne. Many such establishments were immortalized on canvas by painters like Renoir or Van Dongen. Perhaps guin­guettes have become profoundly relevant again now, after the collective isolation we have experienced.

The vitality of guingettes comes from their capacity to blend with their surroundings, disappearing into the landscape, and this new place has that down to a tee. Right beside the canal in Anderlecht, you will find La Mouette, at a perfect location in the sun, which you can enjoy in a deckchair (either single, or a double one for couples), or at a table with friends. The terrace faces full south, but it also looks out on a pedestrian street that is ideal for cyclists and skaters – the municipality has promised to install a ramp. The place was conceived and designed by the urban architects at Vraiment Vraiment, whose motto is “Think with your hands”. They offer us a glimpse of the better world that we long for. This place is run by two young women, the same duo that manages the guingette in the park in Vorst/Forest. Together, they received the temporary concession (one or two seasons, it has not yet been decided) for part of this hangar. Other young entrepreneurs are also based here, like Urbike and the smithy Bleu Noir Brut, which built the bar, as well as the ecological designer Philvabien.

PASTEIS DE NATA
In addition to its décor, which includes a fresco by Aurore Vegas and Aurélia Deschamps, the power of La Mouette undoubtedly lies in the values that the bar represents. The food menu is completely meat-free and offers, among other things, a serving of lupin beans (1.5 euro), pan bagnat with aubergine (5 euro) or toast with tartinades by Les Trempettes de Bruxelles (7.50 euro). There is likewise innovation on the ice cream menu (the Dutch organic label Nice), the pasteis de nata (Forcado), the beer (Brasserie de la Senne, Lefebvre, and a Manneken Pils on tap for 2 euro), and desserts made by the Cokoa studio in Sint-Gillis/Saint-Gilles. Children’s workshops, DJs, concerts, and artisanal markets are also on the menu… But we have to wait until they are permitted by the National Security Council.

LA MOUETTE
Vaartdijk 10 digue du Canal, Anderlecht, di/ma/Tu > zo/di/Su 14 > 23.00

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1715 Guingette Henri
Guinguette Henri

2. Zes voor de zomer

Dit jaar zijn ze met z’n zessen, de zomerbars van Leefmilieu Brussel die je noemt bij hun voornaam (Henri, Fabiola, Maurice…). Ze staan in respectievelijk het Georges Henripark (Sint-Lambrechts-Woluwe), het Koning Boudewijnpark (Jette), het Park van Laken, het park van de Abdij van Ter Kameren (Elsene), het Jubelpark (Etterbeek) en het Rood-Klooster (Sint-Pieters-Woluwe). Hier geniet je van Silly-biobiertjes, burgers met ambachtelijk brood (van bij Hopla Geiss) en hapjes om te delen.

ZOMERBARS LEEFMILIEU BRUSSEL
verschillende locaties, ma/lu/Mo > zo/di/Su 10 > 22.00 (Henri: 10 > 23.00)

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1715 Guingette woodpecker
Guinguette Woodpecker

3. Stay & play

The two Woodpecker summer bars, which were opened under the auspices of Brasserie de la Senne and the chocolatier Laurent Gerbaud, have wonderful atmospheres. Especially the small establishment in the Warandepark/Parc Royal has everything your summer heart desires: a playground, and a pingpong table, delicious ice creams, special coffees, and a great little menu with burgers and toasts. Incidentally, Bernard Leboucq from Brasserie de la Senne also manages the popular Buvette Sint-Sebastiaan in Josaphat Park.

WOODPECKER SUMMER BARS
Warandepark/Parc Royal & Ter Kamerenbos/Bois de la Cambre, ma/lu/Mo > zo/di/Su 10 > 20.00

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1715 GUINGETTE lekiosqueboisdelacambre
Guinguette Le Kiosque

4. Sous le charme

Adresse arrivée sur la scène en 2019 grâce à un trio sympathique (Lisa, Samuel et Charlie), Le Kiosque fait valoir un charme fou. La situation qui flirte avec une partie vallonnée du bois y est pour beaucoup. Il faut aussi pointer la grande terrasse en bois qui invite tant à petit-déjeuner (les viennoiseries de la Fleur du Pain) qu’à déjeuner (vitello tonnato, ribs, carpaccio de betterave…), voire à s'y arrêter le temps d’un apéritif (planches de charcuteries, courgettes marinées, rillettes, sardines millésimées…).

LE KIOSQUE
Ter Kamerenbos/Bois de la Cambre, ma/lu/Mo > zo/di/Su 9 > 22.00

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1715 Guingette parc forest
La guinguette du Parc de Forest

5. Croque Yoga

Achter La guinguette du Parc de Forest zit dezelfde ploeg als die van La Mouette aan het kanaal. Ook de waarden zijn dezelfde: recyclage, kwaliteitsproducten, ambachtelijke smaken en een gemoedelijke sfeer. De kaart is een tikje minder vegetarisch dan die van La Mouette, met een prima croque monsieur (met ham van Coprosain). Naast eten en drinken kan je hier ook terecht voor yoga, concertjes of workshops. Ze gaan wel pas open op 1 augustus.

LA GUINGUETTE DU PARC DE FOREST
Park van Vorst/parc de Forest, ma/lu/Mo > zo/di/Su 15 > 23.00

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