Location: Parijsstraat 34, 3000 Leuven, Belgium
Venue Type: Café Bar
Choice/Quality of Drinks: 8/10
Style & Décor: 7/10
Character, Atmosphere & Local Life: 7/10
Amenities & Events: 6/10
Value For Money: 6/10
Our Overall Rating: 7.6/10
Quality of Drinks
|Value For Money||❤️❤️❤️|
|Description||Leuven’s call to arms in terms of nightlife is the Oude Markt, a traditional Flemish square lined almost nose to tail with bars, and claiming (as many do) that it represents the biggest number of bars per square kilometre. Being a university town in Western Europe, the obligation to fulfil drinking and partying needs obviously has something to do with that.|
While there’s clearly something to be said for the atmosphere on the Markt, most of bars themselves don’t really stand out, and simply churn out a fairly familiar café bar feel, presumably as they have a captive audience and a slightly transient one at that. The terrace is the market square, which is the event space, really.
The best pub I could find in the centre following the closure of De Fiere Margriet was just off the Markt. Metafoor seems to have carved out a careful niche attracting the snoozy one-beer an hour chin stroking sorts that frequent brown cafes (ie. me), and offering a fairly friendly, upbeat space and mood that gives it the facility to change pace when the hordes of boozers arrive.
Although the bar is a pleasant place, there is itself a little further room for improvement, as I didn’t really feel the place was exploring a sense of identity enough, and still felt rather upright. Perhaps too much light comes in from the indoors during the day, and some of the homely pub qualities it could be taking on is lost.
There is no doubt the place becomes packed during the evening as the bar area has that natural footfall type space that you can see has been hewn over the years.
The beer choice is selective, but very well chosen, with a few interesting selections on tap such as Rodenbach Grand Cru, other ales on rotation and a modest but again well-selected bottle menu. It’s Belgium, so we’re starting at a very good point anyway.
Leuven lies somewhere between large important feeling town and provinciality, and Metafoor is like the bar equivalent of that, with plenty of likable elements, and certainly a superior option even when taking Belgium in general. It would be remiss though not to point out the opportunities that are there for it to be even better.