L’ Espérance is one of the most authentic Art Deco cafes in Brussels situated somewhat unfortunately in an unprepossessing side street off the charmless shopping thoroughfare of rue Neuve. The ground floor of the eclectic 1874 building was transformed in the 1930s by the architect Léon Govaerts who was responsible for the Art Nouveau entrance to the Hotel Gresham in Place Royale.
The marble and glass facade with its awning incorporating the bar’s name is a thing of beauty but it is the interior which truly dazzles. Banquettes and armchairs upholstered in green are surrounded by radiator covers and flower boxes in bold Deco lines. Elegant lamps embedded in the wooden panelling exude a warm glow. Behind the bar stained glass in a geometric pattern is echoed in the panels of the door leading to rooms upstairs.
It’s a shame that the food being offered on the laminated plastic menus doesn’t quite live up to its surroundings. Visitors would be advised to settle on a coffee or a beer and bask in the beauty of this Art Deco gem.
Rue du Finistère 1, 1000, Brussels