Belgian Cafe Culture: A Portrait of the Iconic Beer Cafe

Belgian Cafe Culture: A Portrait of the Iconic Beer Cafe


Regula Ysewijn
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Beer cafes are as integral to Belgian neighborhood life as pubs are in the UK, but like so many aspects of local life, they are faltering in face of modernization and the economics of scale.

Belgian writer Regula Ysewijn (who also also writes about British Baking), documents here 45 of these beer cafes, with profiles of the establishments and their proprietors, as well as photographs that depict them inside and out.

The book is a nostalgia tour and an idiosyncratic one, with wonderful photos of patrons in everything from motorcycle leathers to leopard-print dresses. It has a somewhat opaque organization (a list at the back reveals that the entries are grouped by city, but thereafter who can say), but its heart is in the right place.

This book was originally published in 2016 and has been re-released in support of beer cafes endangered by the pandemic.

Hardcover. Color photographs throughout. In English and in Dutch.

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