Potemkine: Where the Hipsters of Saint Gilles Come to Roost

Cairo life is on hold for a few weeks as I give my lungs a break, remind my palate of long forgotten tastes and faff about in leggings without enduring overwhelming public male scrutiny. Brussels is the first stop on my journey and will serve as a base as I satiate my nomadic stirrings and get my Euro-groove on. One day in and no complaints here.

Life is good.

Today was a whirlwind of activity that included walking between the neighbourhoods of Forest, Saint Gilles and Ixelles. By late afternoon my walking buddy and I found ourselves roaming around the multicultural hub of Saint Gilles. After spending 5-10 minutes being locked outside on the top floor of the Porte de Hal medieval gate (story for a forthcoming post) we were in need of a coffee/tea break in order to recharge our batteries before heading home. Luckily for us, there’s no shortage of noteworthy cafés in Brussels and given that we had just finished with our Porte de Hal adventure we sought some respite at one of Saint Gilles’ nearby hip and happening endroits.

The entrance to Potemkine lies just opposite the 14th century Halle Gate (Porte de Hal).

Potemkine is located at 2-4 Avenue de la Porte de Hal and it’s a place with funky decor, smooth beats, solid service and a laid-back hipster vibe. With an extensive drink menu (hot + cold beverages, hard liquor, wine and beer…including Volga) it’s a place where Belgian 20-somethings keep abreast of each other’s whirlwind lives, the 30-something set indulge in a glass between the office and home and 40+ somethings rest their feet and bury their nose in today’s De Standaard or Le Soir.

It was 16:37 and this was just what was needed.

Close up of the coffee and speculoos. My friend is a raging un-Intolerant. Lucky woman.

In addition to the extensive indoor seating area, Potemkine has a projection room on the second floor where they screen classics and art-house films They also offer free Wi-Fi, set up tables outside in Porte de Hal square during the summertime and the café is host to a variety of DJ’s and up-and-coming musicians every week/weekend.

There used to be a huge (faux) whale carcass hanging over the bar. Wonder where he went…

Prices are extremely reasonable, however food choices might not be ideal for the Intolerants since daily offerings (including Sunday brunch) is quite gluten and dairy intensive. Instead of showing up at Potemkine hungry, view it as a great place for a drink and to catch up with friends, catch your thoughts after a busy day or catch your breath after being locked on the top floor of a medieval tower. Fabulous.

Let’s see what tomorrow brings.

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