Brussels-City calls a halt to new bars and restaurants


The city council is no longer granting food service licenses in certain parts of Brussels’ city centre in order to avoid a glut of bars and restaurants

No new restaurants around Grote Markt

Brussels-City municipal council is no longer accepting applications for new food service businesses, according to trade alderwoman Marion Lemesre. According to the council, central Brussels already has enough restaurants, snack bars and cafes.

The question arose when the owners of Wasbar, a combination launderette and bar, with locations in Ghent and Antwerp, said in an interview that their attempt to find premises in the Dansaert area of Brussels was being hampered by the council. Lemesre has now confirmed that claim.

The council wants to maintain a healthy mix of commercial businesses in the centre, she said, and avoid the creation of more food-only areas, such as exist in the area of Sint-Katelijneplein, including the adjoining Baksteenkaai and Brandhoutkaai (pictured). The area around Sint-Goriksplein is the scene of a constant battle between residents and local bars.

The council’s ban concerns new licences, explained Lemesre: Restaurateurs are welcome to take over premises already licensed for food service. If Wasbar finds “a building that already has a licence, there’s no problem,” she said. “But if I allow them to take over a new building, and they move out within a year, I would have no ability to take action to stop yet another snack bar from opening up.”

The restrictions apply to the Unesco area around Grote Markt, the area around the Sint-Katelijneplein and the Sint-Jacobs area, between Anspachlaan and Sint-Jansplein.

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