review

Solar rooftop: magnificent and disappointing at the same time

© Saskia Vanderstichele
| Solar: a large rooftop terrasse with a Tiki vibe.
Onze score

Nestled on the rooftops of Bozar, Solar offers a unique view of Brussels. To be enjoyed as much as possible when the sun is out.

“Location, location, location,” we all know the mantra that is drilled into the skulls of those seeking commercial success. As stupid as it seems, that catchphrase nonetheless holds true. Solar proves it beyond a doubt. The new seasonal rooftop was made possible by the renovation of the rooftop terrasse of the Paleis voor Schone Kunsten/Palais des Beaux-Arts (also known as Bozar), which was completed in 2021. The renovation took into consideration the original design by the architect Victor Horta, who wanted the public to be able to access this part of the building. We can see why: the spot offers a breath-taking view of the city that allows you to take in a variety of landmarks, such as the Town Hall, the Basilica, and the Royal Palace.

The decor consists of a large bar with a very Tiki vibe. As you may know, that aesthetic developed out of Puritan America's fascination with Polynesian culture from 1920 to 1960. Bare-breasted vahines, trickster gods, the fantasy of a harmony between man and nature, all to the sound of the ukulele: those are the elements that gave rise to that infatuation with the “tropical Eden on your doorstep.” The whole place is decorated with plastic plants, without that spoiling things, wooden tables, and an assorted mix of furniture, including Tolix chairs, among other items.

Returning to the matter at hand, however, one really has to wonder about the power of location mentioned at the start of the article. It lies in the fact that, despite the weakness of the selection of drinks available, people will come back to Solar because of its unique location. But we cannot help but think that it is not normal, at a time when there is such a buzz around local brewers and craft beers, that they only serve Corona (€5), Stella (€4), and the frightful Goose Island IPA (€5).

The selection of wines is similarly disappointing, turning its back on lively and vibrant wines in favour of the very standard Fumées Blanches (€5), and the cocktails are ultra-basic (Moscow Mule for €11 or Cuba Libre for the same price), though the scene in Brussels is bursting with talent. Fortunately, in terms of the snacks, the spring rolls made by Knees to Chin (€9 and €15) saved the day for Les Organisateurs (J'peux pas, j'ai Piscine, Là-haut, etc.).

SOLAR
rue Ravenstein­straat 23, Brussel/Bruxelles, www.solarrooftop.be
7/7, 12 > 23.00 until 30 September (closed 22/7 > 15/8)

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