From our Love Handles files on beer bars we love: Gist offers finely honed ales, music, and atmosphere just off the Brussels tourist path.
What it is: Just up the hill from Manneken Pis, across from a crooning sculpture of Jacques Brel, this welcoming, wood-paneled den pours a tight but savvy selection of Belgium’s finest. Up to 18 taps feature a mix of beers from the country’s smaller independent producers, including saisons, hoppy tripels, pilsners, and stranger things of mixed fermentation. The bottle list goes deeper with select breweries, always including several geuzes and other lambic beers.
Why it’s great: Those taps include a pair of British-style beer engines—a common sight in Brussels a century ago—pouring local ales cask-style, available by the half-liter. Breweries on draft typically include Senne, Lupulus, Verzet, and En Stoemelings. The nibbles are small plates of cheese and charcuterie, but there is more to keep you here until late: The beerophiles behind the bar are also audiophiles, deploying a killer vinyl collection featuring the kind of deep-cut punk, funk, soul, and rock ‘n’ roll that somehow makes you forget there were other bars you wanted to visit. —Joe Stange
Hours: 4 p.m.–midnight, Tuesday–Saturday; closed, Sunday & Monday
Address: Place de la Vieille Halle aux Blés 30, Brussels, Belgium