It's no secret that the Barfly and I are avid lovers of Belgian beer, so when we heard about a place that specialized in liquid Belgian bliss we had to check it out and see what it was all about.
Nestled in NYC’s East Village, the Burp Castle is a hidden gem that fits in very well with the eclectic hipster vibe of the neighborhood around it. Having passed it twice on foot, we finally found the stairway that led down inside and were immediately surprised by the ambience.
With a name like “Burp Castle” one isn’t sure what to expect – I was half expecting to see communal tables of bearded jovial beer hounds swigging ale while releasing thunderous burps in honor of the beer gods. What we found was the exact opposite. We were met instantly by a soft, reverent atmosphere complete with Gregorian chants and very low voices. Sticking religiously to the Belgian monk theme, the walls of the place were rich in murals of fat, hooded monks brewing and doing all sorts of other activities. The place was very quiet, cozy and relaxing and demanded that we pay homage to one of the world’s greatest treasures – Belgian Beer.
After a random happenstance involving a well-named bartender, I returned to the table with two chalices for myself and the Barfly. Perhaps afraid that once she goes black, she’ll never go back, the barfly went with the Blanche de Bruxelles while I went with the Tripel Karmeliet. We could have gone with a lot of different options as the Burp Castle offered a nice array of Belgian brews, but it turns out that our selection was perfect for the occasion.
As in every middle school, library, bus and office meeting room, the volume of the place started to rise shortly after I sat down and began enjoying my beverage with the lovely Barfly.
And then it happened . . . .the thing that will always make me remember the Burp Castle.
Sensing that the volume had risen to an unacceptable level, the Bartender put his finger up to his lips and loudly shushed the entire room ~
He moved in a slow, methodical arch from right to left and allowing his calming shush to wash over the now silent crowd of drinkers. The room instantly belonged to the monks again and the chants took over as soon as the drinkers fell silent, their voices dropping to whispers, punctuated by the occasional quiet giggle.
As one may surmise by now, the bar didn’t remain quiet for too long . . . .with rich Belgian ales providing social courage to those around us, the conversation began to rise again until ~
If one is looking for a different experience, a great Belgian beer, and an ironically named hipster (although ironic is so hipster that it is no longer ironic) bar, than I highly recommend the Burp Castle in NYC’s East Village. You’ll thank me for the recommendation . . . . .but do it quietly!