On arriving in Brussels we were convinced that Le Cirio, an Art-Nouveau-Bar directly next to the Bourse, is for tourists only. However, after having met the odd person from Brussels, we realised that locals do come here too. And that is when we decided to give this place, which we had walked past so often, a try.
And we planned to do it in style. One rainy Sunday afternoon we took a seat on the red velvet benches inside, read about the history of the place (it is in the front of the menu) and then went for a “half-en-half”. (If you have a good Brussels guidebook you probably will find a little paragraph on this drink. It is a mixture of cave (=bubbly) and white wine. The waiter poured it directly in front of our eyes, the wine had it’s own Cirio-label. He served us some crackers, too.
My Belgian friend had told me to pay attention to the art nouveau toilets at the back of the bar, quite extraordinary. Also there are a couple of old pictures and notices on the wall. (The whole place dates back to the early 20th century!) However, Le Cirio isn’t quite as exquisite as it may sound. It has a slightly tacky feeling to it. Think: plastic condiment bottles, artificial flowers, Belgian radio in the background and one of the waiters behind the bar was wearing a tracksuit. (All the others had there posh black and white outfits on.)
I don’t think we will go back soon – but it was fun experience and it definitely saved our mood on that rainy Sunday!
Le Cirio, Rue de la Bourse, Brussels // No Website