The new Nicolay has arrived. Good news, it's a gem. This new establishment from the creator of Flamingo has exactly what Brussels needs: style and good sense.
Frédéric Nicolay is among those who understand the need to make use of existing architectural structures to revitalise the city. After coming up with the Belga and the Bar du Matin, the man who brought us the capital's most distinguished spots is back with a new enterprise: Le Grand Central.
It consists of a 600 m2 space located at the bottom of Belliardstraat/rue Belliard. The bar is situated in a remarkable building characteristic of the architect Pierre Blondel. It occupies two levels of an 11-floor building constructed on a system of supporting beams arranged in an X formation.
Its ambition is to reverse the usual state of affairs, and make it so that "it's no longer people from the European district that go to Flagey, but the other way around." Nicolay has put everything into achieving this objective.
The first thing that strikes you is the decor. Punctuated with very steampunk metal staircases, fantastic hurricane lamps by Dokidoc, and chairs by Nicolle, the place is not lacking in charm. Another good idea is the renovated floors coming from Val-Benoît in Liège. What's more, we were able to discern a marked evolution of the Nicolay style: zinc countertops have now been replaced by great marble slabs. We also admired the wicker structure inspired by Yona Friedman, and the numerous trees, arranged in transport pallets, which add greenery to the space.
As for the contents, Le Grand Central is one of those homely bars that are available to the people of the city at all times of the day, from breakfast – excellent brioche-like bread with white cheese and rhubarb – until the evening – cocktails, Duvel beers, and snacks – and for lunch – filled rolls, barbecued kefta skewers – or at tea-time – spiced verbena infusions.
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