I was recently in Brussels conducting fieldwork, and like many Americans doing research abroad, immediately looked for a place outside my hotel where I could work and grab an espresso for a few hours. Find a place where pulling out your laptop (or ipad, in my case) is acceptable is not that easy, but in my travels I discovered a number of places that work quite well.
Karsmakers is the closest thing I’ve found to a Brooklyn coffee shop – it features excellent coffee, a series of wooden tables with lots of space, and an enclosed patio area in the back that lets in the sunlight. Plenty of solo readers were spending time there, and I saw a sign that hinted at the availability of Wifi (I did not test, however).
Rue de Treves 20,
1050 Ixelles, Belgium
Nearest Metro: Trone
Wet 89 is a hidden gem in one of the business sections of Brussels. There aren’t many shops or restaurants around, so the normal traveler wouldn’t pass by. But the vibe here is very nice, and space isn’t a problem.
Wetstraat 89 (or Rue de Loi 89)
Nearest Metro: Maelbeek
Filigranes is a reader’s paradise – it’s a very large bookstore, open every single day of the year, with a café in the center. This was my salvation when I happened to be in Brussels during Whit Monday, and they even have a substantial English section downstairs. New York has the Strand, Brussels has Filigranes.
39-40 avenue des Arts, 1040 Brussels
Nearest Metro: Trone or Arts-Loi
I think this is the name of the Café, it’s kind of across from the Delhaize on Rue Anspach. This is a great place to hang out in for the afternoon. Many tables with comfortable chairs, and two areas of seating (upstairs and downstairs). Music selection is a bit interesting, though – last time I went they were playing Christmas songs.
On Rue de Marché aux Poulets, between Rue des Halles/ Blvd Anspach
Nearest Metro: Bourse
Stumbled across this when I was jet lagged and looking for a grocery store. Conveniently located in City 2, a large mall with shops and a convenient food court (and right above the metro station Rogier, you can access it by going inside the mall). This is a busy coffee shop, but has an excellent cappuccino (with crème fraiche) and doesn’t seem to mind when tired Americans hang out in a corner and access the Wifi coming from who knows where.
rue Neuve 123
Nearest Metro: Rogier (located inside)