Autour de Marguerite

Autour de Marguerite

The estaminets

1 estaminet

Around 1890, there was only one house where the squares now are and it was already an estaminet! The Café des Cascades (with its competitor the Cabaret dit du Chalet) quenched the thirst of many people : those who worked in the sand quarry, those who were working to build the Squares, those who worked on neighbouring farms  and walkers who were passing by.

The Café des Cascades is probably one of the buildings on this postcard. Private collection.

2 estaminets

From 1897, Square Marguerite had 2 estaminets: Café-Estaminet du Square, later rechristened Café-Brasserie du Square Marguerite, which was situated on the corner of Rue van Campenhout and La Distillerie, on the site of the current grocer’s shop.

On the left, the Café-estaminet du Square, later Café-brasserie du Square Marguerite, run by Florent Hautphenne. Coll. J.-M. Schrynemakers

5 estaminets

From 1900 to 1901, 3 competing estaminets were set up in the Square. They livened things up until the years 1963-65!  

In 1907, at the junction of Rue Jenneval (no 17), a bar was turned into Brasserie Au Nouveau Siècle. Louis Mottiat, a former Belgian champion cyclist, took this on between 1938 and 1947 and renamed it Brasserie L. Mottiat.  It then became Brasserie du Ballodrome.

In the same block, at no 23 (on the same side as rue des Patriotes), Brasserie de l’Union became Brasserie de l’Esplanade in 1947.

Au Nouveau Siècle (left) and Brasserie de l’Union (right). Coll. Christian Dekeyser

Finally, at nos 48-49, overlooking Square Ambiorix, there was Café du Belvédère, renamed Café des Colibris in 1953.

Café du Bélvédère in 1911. Coll. Christian Dekeyser

But soon La Distillerie went out of business (1902) followed by the Café-brasserie du Square Marguerite (1907).

However, in 1908, Brasserie Marguerite made an appearance at the corner of rue le Corrège. It was called Brasserie du Limbourg between 1935 and 1947.

Brasserie Marguerite. Coll. Christian Dekeyser

You could not die of thirst in Square Marguerite, nor did all the bars sell the same drinks!

In La Distillerie, genever was available and if you wanted to drink Kriek, Gueuze (and champagne!), you needed to go to the Café du Square. Brasserie Marguerite had suggestions which included German and English beers, and also Blonde des Flandres and Bock de Koekelberg. Au Nouveau Siècle sold wine.

Brasserie Marguerite, run by Henri Lauwers, an excellent chef, also offered small dishes every Saturday: tête de veau à la vinaigrette and choesels au madère! In addition to that, in 1901, a dozen oysters would cost you 1 franc!

Estaminets and bars were also places of community life in the Square and the area. Brasserie Marguerite was used as a meeting room and library for the Université populaire du Nord-Est.  

Private collection

It also sold the local newspaper Le Nord-Est for the benefit of local poor people. In 1901, you could find out the election results there and a committee of those who supported the Boer War was set up! Later on, it hosted the rehearsals of the choir L’Orphéon du Nord-Est, which performed in the kiosk.

© Archives of the City of Brussels.

Le Café du Belvédère was busy with charity work. In 1902, it was at the forefront of a petition to ask for a doubling of the carriages on the trams and trains which stopped at the square. In 1925, it housed the administration of the Nord-Est Attractions association.

Le noyau du quartier Nord-Est”, the local savings club, moved in 1902 from La Distillerie to Café du Square Marguerite. Its tenant often gave away a bottle of champagne to the winners of the many sports competitions held in the Square.