Brussels cafés: Dance hall days at the Guingette de Maurice


We continue our tour of the best Brussels cafés.

I have added to this my recent Editorial Welcome which will appear in our May issue – out shortly. The terraces are open again 🙂

Rest at the end
I was taking my daily promenade in the Parc du Cinquantenaire, and, as I rounded the mosque, I saw up ahead a sight for sore eyes. My favourite terrace in town was back in its usual spot, an ephemeral visitor during spring and summer. Guingette de Maurice is covered by a sail-like white tarpaulin, and many of the tables are under the cool of the trees. They play great music – often live – and it’s a place where people dance… old school. The Lindy Hop is prevalent, and these guys and gals are dressed to the nines in 1920s style clothes. And the burgers are pretty good.

I passed other local terraces filled to the gunnels in the bright sunshine, something I thought I wouldn’t see for a very long time. So, this marks a passage, a landmark surely in the battle against the pandemic. We’ve all had to deal with a peculiar type of stress, one that seems to bring one false hope after another.

I stumbled upon a podcast interview with Will Smith, who graced our cover back in March 2015 and was very good value for cracking quotes and anecdotes in the interview we did with him.

But in this podcast he said that recently one maxim he heard stood out above the rest: “Rest at the end not in the middle…”

Guingette de Maurice
Without a shadow of a doubt the best summer venue in Brussels is to be found in the Parc du Cinquantenaire, close to the Schuman end of the park. Francois de Villers has created a dance hall, music venue and bar-restaurant all rolled into one. This pop-up venue is covered by a giant, rolling sail – at times it seems that whole place might take off into the skies and the dancers would be dancing their way past the clouds.

So, what’s on offer? Succulent burgers cooked before your eyes and wraps – either chicken or veggie – and much more besides. Tables and chairs surround the dance floor and extend out into the park itself, even beneath the trees. My favourite night is when the place is swinging and dance partners whirl around the floor, displaying serious skill as they take us back to those dance hall days.BRUSSELS CAFESSalsa and Lindy Hop rule but there are also rock’n’roll concerts and electronic parties, yoga classes and fabulous pétanque tournaments. This all adds up to make the Guinguette de Maurice the perfect spot to keep you in a good mood. The guinguette is open until 23 September but have no fear that sail will be hoisted once more next year when Spring comes around.

So, if you’re out for a walk in the park and you hear mellifluous music – and the aroma of burgers – wafting through the trees you have come to the right place.

  • Francois has four other pop-up venues: The Guinguette Gisèle is located at the entrance of the Abbey of La Cambre, in Ixelles. The Guinguette Fabiola is located in King Baudouin park on Chaussée de Wemmel in Jette. La Guinguette Henri is located in the George Henri Park, in the commune of Woluwe Saint Lambert.
    Guingette Maurice on Facebook
    See more Brussels cafés in our Food and Drink pages.