A terrace in exotic wood, long-limbed waitresses, atmospheric music, free-flowing cocktails, large beds to stretch out on and enjoy an unrestricted view of the sunset… These days, any capital city worthy of the title must have a rooftop overlooking the urban landscape, a seventh floor to make you feel like you’re in seventh heaven.
Where does this obsession come from? That’s a question for the sociologists. In the age of globalisation, in which the city is always on the rise, it seems the average person wants to take stock of their living environment by observing it from a height. Ride the lift to the very top and you’ll experience a sense of impunity coupled with a feeling of dominance. Viewed from above, the bustle of humanity seems pretty insignificant. This is no doubt a reassuring perspective for an individual who is under constant social pressure.
Brussels also has a few rooftops that fit the bill. We won’t return to the subject of the Beursschouwburg and its lofty and often lively terrace. Credit where credit is due, we will begin our tour of places from which to contemplate the city with Là-Haut Viage. Entered through the Nouvelles Galeries Anspach, this new and highly popular enterprise has taken up residence in the same building as Grand Casino Brussels.
Situated on the seventh floor, this 225-square-metre space, capable of accommodating 400 people, boasts a terrace and an unbeatable view of the city. What sets this place apart is that the organisers – four friends who previously brought us the J’Peux Pas J’Ai Piscine drinks on the roof of the JAM hotel – commissioned the interior designer Michel Penneman to create a genuine “hanging” garden.
On entering the main room, you are immersed in another world. Vegetation on the walls and on the ceilings, creepers, branches, climbing plants, wicker armchairs, furs, filtered lights nestled in the foliage…a complete change of scenery. For food, there is a Deliveroo stand offering a selection of snacks through its partnerships with outlets such as L’Oriento and Be Burger. As for the drinks, it’s the cocktails that steal the show, especially the spritzers.
Another initiative that deserves a mention is Play Label Rooftop. Set up by Crosly and the record company Play Label Records, this event takes place on the south-facing roof of the famous bowling alley. There is no fixed programme, but you can download a “Play Label Rooftop” app, which will send you a notification whenever a soirée is happening – between 5 pm and 10 pm – thanks to good weather.
By far the best thing about it is the somewhat edgy electro playlist provided by in-house DJs including Exon Bacon, Latence, and Red’Out. We love the excellent homemade-style decor with its synthetic grass, wooden hut, parrot, deer antlers, and hanging fabrics. What to drink? Without a doubt, the mojito, which ticks all the boxes. The place is not huge, so it’s better to arrive early; if the venue is full, the organisers apply a “first in, first served” policy.
A stone’s throw from the Charleroisesteenweg/chaussée de Charleroi, the Pantone Hotel puts on the Panoramic by Le Toit after-work drinks. The famous colour chart was the inspiration for the design of this boutique hotel, which contains 59 rooms and suites. Each floor has its own colour scheme, which you can choose according to the mood you’re in. In the summer, two rooms on the top floor are made available to party animals, offering a magnificent 360° view of the city.
The particularly stunning view of the Justitiepaleis/Palais de Justice is not to be missed. Once again, there is no fixed schedule: it is best to visit the “Le Toit – Rooftop” Facebook page for information. Everything in this place invites you to relax, from the poufs by Fatboy to the cool minimalist electro soundtrack and the spritzers, which have a nice kick to them.
Then there are rooftop cocktails of a more exclusive nature: Summer Set. Started by Benoît Sauvage, the main attraction of this event, to which you gain access by signing up on the website, is the location, on the ninth floor of the Residence Palace, a building on Wetstraat/rue de la Loi which also houses one of the seats of the United Nations.
It offers a 360° view from the heights of Schumann. It’s worth noting that this one is an actual rooftop in that there is no indoor room to retreat to. Your best bet is to check the Facebook page for the event regularly. Be sure to check out the openwork wooden structure which frames the terrace. Further selling points are the fact that they take their cocktails seriously – there are evenings devoted to gin and tonic – and the availability of snacks, which are provided by a burger corner.
Our final recommendation is for a sweet little rooftop that is not in the business of supplying aperitifs: Peas & Love. It offers anyone in Brussels the opportunity to become an urban farmer by proxy. This is a chance to rent an allotment plot on the roof of the Caméléon shop in Sint-Lambrechts-Woluwe/Woluwe-Saint-Lambert and harvest your own crops, just like in the countryside.