“I’d like to make a withdrawal please”. This actually isn’t an odd comment to make in what was once a bank dating back to 1901 when the neo classical style building was built on LE1’s High Street. Now rather than stocks, bonds, shares and cash you can still make a withdrawal from the now styled Bruxelles but in the form of Belgium beers, 34 to choose from, unique cocktails and a rather heavenly Belgium hot chocolate, supplied by the indulgent chocolatier, Cocoa Amore.

Ok, so we hear of many places that offer great cocktails and specialist tipples from the continent, but before we get into that let us stop to marvel at the décor of the former bank. Bruxelles’ most iconic legacy is its stunning dome, carefully maintained by the current owner and his team. The dome could quite easily host an Agatha Christie mystery or a scene with the Dowager Countess of Grantham character played by Dame Maggie Smith, CH, DBE. If you love ‘old world’ then you should definitely pop by for a drink and a gawp at the dome in the former banking hall, proudly standing amongst the busy High Street, senior to its modern peers. If you are very observant you will note a whole range of original décor from original brass fittings, glass work and plaster.

The grand brass chandelier adds to the opulence and atmosphere which has attracted a recent offer of £10,000, but owner of Bruxelles declined the offer, acting as a true custodian to this architectural gem. There is also a great garden area, one of the nicest in the city perfect for a cocktail or 5, or once we get warmer weather a barbecue, you can even hire the whole space for a party or a more refined business affair, but wait there is more; every bank has a vault and Bruxelles is no different. Directly under the main bar in the banking hall is the original vault, which is a great area to use, host or party within, with your own bar, DJ. The vault has been used for awards ceremonies, birthdays and corporate events and don’t worry Bruxelles aren’t going to charge you PPI, they offer some great menus for catering and no hire charge.

Ok, so we are getting thirsty so let’s talk drink. If you’ve read our articles before then you’ll know if chocolate comes from Cocoa Amore then its going to be excellent and its true, Bruxelles offer a deluxe hot Belgium chocolate, one we hear attracts a lot of attention and compliments and alcohol free, so remember to pop in on a blustery day, even if you’re driving. On to the hard stuff, like beer? Well firstly proper beer isn’t lager, so don’t pretend! Bruxelles offer an excellent selection of Belgium beers, 34 of them to be precise and if you are like us and usually opt for wine and something a little more genteel then don’t, try one of the beers, sip and savour is what we are told whilst tasting a surprisingly dark brewed beer, giving coffee and chocolate aftertones. The Belgium beer selection is the best in the city and wider county with many of the beers being exclusive to Bruxelles, many with their own glass shape that gives the perfect balance of beer and head, so all in all another rather good reason to go in and try.

Cocktails, so we are quite hard to impress and know our stuff, but at Bruxelles you can have your own bespoke cocktail shaken or stirred to your own tastes, so we did (of course). Having given a list of flavours, likes and dislikes I was presented with an intriguing concoction, topped off with a blackberry. Now, not wanting to sound snooty but we have supped cocktails at The Ritz topped with real gold leaf, but Bruxelles GM Nick whizzed up a fantastic tipple which could easily be offered at any of the top luxury establishments of the world. Our cocktail consisted of gin, champagne, a lychee liqueur, sugar and citrus syrup and a homemade red wine and balsamic reduction. You might not think this cocktail is quite for you but neither did we, but it’s marvellous. Bruxelles are forever changing their bespoke cocktails with at least 14 on offer. On our visit there were two new specialist liqueurs, 2 new Gins, 3 new Vodkas and 1 new Armagnac that had just come in, so nothing ordinary about the Bruxelles cocktail offer and if you’re really fussy then have your very own tipple created just for you, we did, oh does that mean we are fussy? No just high standards, ok so we are just greedy. There are whiskey and cheese evenings on Wednesdays where you can taste £90 whiskeys, scotch and bourbons for just a few pounds, with a Retro Games night on Mondays, acoustic acts and special offers on wines and prosecco.

There is so much to say about Bruxelles, so much to taste, so much offer and so much flavour to explore, albeit with a dash of euro style grandeur, befitting a grand diva to a passer-by or CEO, all are welcome here and if you only try one thing, then go in grab and a drink and just stare up at the dome and let the world fly by.

Bruxelles Leicester, 90-92, High Street, Leicester. LE1 5YP

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KuKu Connect Members receive 15% off drinks and no minimum spend on private hire of the Garden, Vault or a booth with your Privilege Card.