5 of our favourite places to have a drink and read a book
Looking for a great spot to read a book? (Because what else would you be doing in this awful Belgian weather.) We’ve got some tips for you. Here are 5 of our favourite coffee (or wine :-)) bars where readers are more than welcome. In fact these places sell the books themselves, sometimes along with some other beautiful things like stationary or gadgets.
Wine and books: here are two of our favourite things. This new kid in town, housed in a beautiful historic building in the centre of Antwerp, not only offers the largest selection of English books in the city (alongside a great selection of Dutch books as well as some cool gadgets and cards); it is also a safe haven for people who want to escape the digital world. That’s where the name comes from: the Luddites were a 19th-century English society of textile works who destroyed textile machinery as a form of protest. Nowadays, the term is used for people who dislike new technology. So leave your cellphone at home (or tucked away in your bag), bring or buy a great book and enjoy some time off in this beautiful space.
This coffeebar and shop with its fresh and cosy vibe is a unique place in Aalst, loved by locals and visitors alike. Take a seat at the long wooden table and leaf through one of the papers lying around, or install yourself in the cosy Chesterfield or at the bar. Barista Jo will serve you the perfect cup of espresso, cappuccino or tea, and if you want a break from reading your book you’ll enjoy browsing Philimonius’ selection of books, gifts, stationary, jewellery and so on – don’t blame us if you end up buying something you didn’t really need, but just couldn’t resist.
'Livre ou Verre' means ‘Book or Glass’, but why choose? This unexpected and wonderful spot in the beautiful ‘passage de la Bourse’ is filled to the brim with books and comic books. The vibe is welcoming and creative, with small tables and a bar in the back, where you can order a local beer, a cup of coffee and/or a tasty slice of cake.
This cool cafe with big glass windows, brown patterned wallpaper and vintage armchairs looks like a fifties interior magazine advert. Located at the far end of Avenue Louise, it’s too far from the office hubs to serve as weekday canteen, but it’s the perfect place for a lazy weekend brunch, followed by a walk in the Bois de la Cambre, or to read the paper. They also sell a selection of city guides, if you’re looking for inspiration for your next trip.
Everyone who spends time in Ghent and knows good books, will surely know and love this bookstore with its carefully and personally curated selection and its coffee bar. Owner Bart Van Aken sees no point in stocking beststellers, but instead woos customers inside with unusual and eclectic titles. He also sells a small selection of indie CDs and a few bottles of his favourite wines, which you can, of course, also taste in the bar. On the menu you’ll also find coffee, cakes and sandwiches. When the sun is out you can enjoy the goodness and a great book on the large and pleasant terrace outside.