Pop and geek culture in Brussels

Pop and geek culture in Brussels

Are you a fan of manga, comics, video games or retro pop? Brussels is not short of places of places where you can discover pop culture. Whether it is amusement arcades, adventure games or events, you will find something you like. Discover our selection of activities to enjoy in the capital.

  • © Made in Asia

     

    Rediscover the pleasure of video games and pinball machines

    Are you a fan of the 1980s? In that case, step back into the past thanks to amusement arcades! At Supercade, in Ixelles, rediscover arcade games from the 1980s and 1990s, and discover recent games such as Mortal Kombat 11, Tekken 7 and also Dragon Ball FighterZ. Supercade is the ambitious project of Mustafa Al-Darwich, alias Tonton Gaby, which gives you access to arcade machines. They have been produced by Owen, a handyman who is passionate about video games, who has also configured them on HD screens. Thus, there are no machines from the period or cathode-ray tube (CRT) screens, but optimum conditions for running the games and enjoying yourself.

    Staying with games, rediscover pinball at the Brussels Pinball Museum in the Royal Quarter. Do not go by the name, it is not a museum but a space in which to have fun. You will find pinball machines on which you can play all day if you wish. If you want to get your own pinball machine repaired or purchase a new or second-hand one, drop by the repair and sales space located next to the "museum".

    Rediscover video games and their history at the Pixel Museum, located in the heart of Tour & Taxis. An exhibit displaying vintage consoles, accessories and also related products but also presenting the current video gaming trends through local and regional digital achievements. Perfect for a visit with family and friends! To find out about the future of video games, try out some new ones, participate in workshops and meeting and also give free reign to your creativity in the co-working space.

    Supercade à Bruxelles
    Supercade

    Experience virtual reality

    At Zero Latency, in Ixelles, experience "free-roam" virtual reality. Explore virtual worlds and immerse your body in the game. In Zombie Survival, Undead Arena and also Outbreak Origins, confront the zombies taking over your fortified city. Conversely, become a zombie at Virtual Room Bruxelles and fight with your team for the survival of your species. Avoid being eradicated with an antidote developed by scientists. Go to Brussels city centre to give yourself a fright! For more virtual reality adventures, discover our selection of rooms in Brussels.

    Digital Spring is an annual event at Brussels Expo, in Heysel, which give you the chance to experience augmented reality. You will have the opportunity to try out new digital tools and even learn to create your own video game! By participating in this event, you will learn a lot about the digital technology world.

    Printemps Numérique 2021 à Bruxelles
    © visit.brussels - EDanhier photography

    Attempt to get out of an escape room

    Having been trapped in an escape room, solve puzzles and complete your mission within the one hour time limit, in order to get out of the room. At Escape Rush in Ixelles, you have o save Tokyo from a deadly virus: in the heart of the Japanese capital, infiltrate a clandestine laboratory in order to neutralise the virus, because otherwise it will escape and infect the entire population of Tokyo. Stay in Japan with Escape Hunt in Saint-Gilles: put yourself in the shoes of a detective and find the artefacts, hidden by the malicious architect, in the Japanese Tower. Would you like more missions? Quickly discover our selection of escape games in Brussels.

    Escape Rush
    © Escape Rush

    Combine fun and food and drink in a games bar

    If you like board games, then game bars are for you! The principle? Usually, playing board games while enjoying a beer. A great combination of relaxation and exercising the brain! Kings and Queens Café is a beer house in Brussels city centre that gives you access to its games library of several hundred games of all difficulty levels. Facilitators are available to advise you and get your game started. In terms of flavours, the bar offers classic and speciality beers, and beer cocktails as well as snacks, including pizzas cooked in a stone oven. Le Bar à Jeux, in Saint-Gilles, also lets you play games and enjoy their beers. It is also a shop where you can order your new games. La Luck is another fun brasserie, in Ixelles, that give you access to its games library of over 1000 to choose from. Here, you enjoy a cocktail, a mocktail or even an organic cola while "game sommeliers" come to your table and serve you board games. Savour too this brasserie's Quebec-inspired food, which is all homemade using local products. If you are a beer fan, discover our selection of Brussels brasseries.

    Kings and Queens Café
    © Kings and Queens Café

    Visit specialist shops

    Numerous shops in Brussels offer manga and other products relating to Asian and Anglo-American cultures. Whether it be bookshops, "Japanimation" or specialist video game shops, you will find several in the Sainte-Catherine district, around the Bourse and in Ixelles: Super Dragon Toys, Librairie UTOPIA, Manga Brussels, Smartoys / Road Sixty Geek and Candy Pop in the heart of Brussels, and also Super Gaby Games in Ixelles. There you will find manga, comics, figures, Funko Pop, postcards, DVDs, video games, katanas, fashion items and retro pop items, etc.

    Super Gaby Games
    © Super Gaby Games

    Take part in unmissable events

    In Brussels, there are several annual events devoted to pop culture. Made in Asia is the festival for fans of manga, animé, video games, YouTubers and cosplay. It takes place each year at Brussels Expo, in Heysel. Comic Con is another event not to be missed, also aimed at fans of manga, comics, gaming, cosplay, cinema… Taking place at Tour & Taxis!

    Anima, the Brussels International Animation Film Festival, is devoted to this film genre in all its forms: animated cartoons, puppets, modelling clay and digital, in advertising, clip or feature-length format. The films on offer come from all over the world and are aimed at all audiences: children, adults, families, professionals… It is the only event in Belgium devoted to animation film and is one of the biggest in Europe. It is authorised to select nominees for the Oscar for best animated short film. It takes place each year in the Flagey building, in Ixelles. If you are a fan of fantasy films, the BIFFF, the Brussels International Fantastic Film Festival, is perfect for you! Each year, discover films of this genre but also science-fiction, fantasy, thriller, horror and surrealism. Attend screenings in several cinemas, visit exhibitions and discover street theatre, take part the in vampire ball…

    The Brussels Games Festival promotes games in all their forms: board games, figurine games, educational games, wooden games, games from around the world, live action role playing games, customised games offered by professionals, etc. It also organises tournaments, a games market, an exhibition, conferences, discussions… This festival also stands out due to its desire to promote game playing for everyone. Its culture section sets up initiatives for cultural mediation, continuous education and social cohesion around a given theme, as part of the event.

    Made in Asia 2019
    © Made in Asia

    Have a quick bite

    If you love Asian cuisine, visit restaurants and cafés that offer delicious dishes and desserts that will indulge your taste buds. At Bobbi Bao, near the Bourse, you can enjoy… baos: traditional bao, katsu sando and also banh mi. Old Boy is anoher Asian eatery, in Ixelles, where you can get baos but also wontons and squid noodles, among other dishes. If you are vegan, visit Liu Lin, in the Sablon district, which offers 100% vegan Taiwanese cuisine. You will certainly be familiar with tofu, soy sauce and shiitake. For something sweet: Kaki. Cake Bar is Brussels' first Asian cake bar and is located in Saint-Gilles. Its speciality is the Ka Bao, a pastry combining the Chinese roll cake and Taiwanese bao buns. The chef also offers sandwiches, Japanese cheesecakes and also roll cakes. Have a Ca Phe Phin, a Thaï Tea Latte or a coconut water alongside your snack or dessert.

    Bobbi Bao
    Bobbi Bao

    Explore Brussels' Chinatown

    Again for fans of Asian culture, be aware that Sainte-Catherine is the Asian district of Brussels. More specifically, it is located around rue Sainte-Catherine. There you will find Asian supermarkets and other shops, but also restaurants serving Chinese, Thai and Vietnamese cuisine… Find out everything you should know about this district here.

    Place Sainte-Catherine, dans le quartier du même nom aussi appelé Chinatown, à Bruxelles
    © visit.brussels - Jean-Paul Remy