TramCrawl: we have been to the 1st Edition!

Pub Crawl Luxembourg started its first event in November little over a year ago with the idea of bringing party people together every month. Due to its great success and the need of constant improvement – indeed, in Luxembourg it gets easily repetitive to browse around same bars -, the concept changed recently and was transformed in the very first Tram Crawl, which took a place for the first time just after the Christmas holidays. I was very curious to see how this event looks like and be among the first people to witness this craziness. Also it was the first time for this kind of events to cross the border of the very city center.

As opposite to previous Pub Crawl events, the Tram Crawl was organized in cooperation with Manso group and had an entrance fee between 27 and 37 EUR, depending on how fast you were to get the early bird ticket or if you got yours just last-minute at the door. To be honest, I was quite surprised to see how quickly the event got sold out and saw a lot of people looking for last minute tickets on different Facebook groups – I admit I was also one of them but was lucky enough to also find a ticket on the “black market”!. The ticket price included drink tokens, free finger food at every bar and free entrance to Limbo, which I found a rather good deal.

The idea of Tram Crawl was to discover 5 different bars around Kirchberg ending at Limbo. I arrived 18.30 at Chimi Churri to meet up with my friends.
Upon arrival, we were given bracelets and divided up into different groups. The restaurant got quickly very packed and I went to order my glass of wine. On the event description, it said gathering time at the first place was until 19.45 but soon enough there were guys with the loud speakers ordering the first groups to leave already for next stop. I then rushed to ask what was going on and was told that different groups would visit all different locations at different times due to capacity constraints. This totally made sense but I wished this had been more clearly informed to avoid all the hassle at ChimiChurri.

The second place was The Game, where we received some fried finger food: mozzarella, calamari and onion rings. I again felt that we were rushed out to the next place way too soon (not sure if this was a fact or just my own impression as I didn’t keep track of the time).

This time we actually took the tram to the JFK restaurant where they had an indoor terrace set up for us. I remember it was super cold and the wind was blowing very heavily. To compensate this misery, we were offered free Jäger shots together with mini-burgers and fries.

Before leaving Kirchberg we visited next door, the Manso restaurant where it felt amazing to be inside. There we were offered mozzarella and tomato sticks and some other small tapas. I bumped into a lot of friends from the previous group who just had stayed to ”hung out” a bit more before moving to the next place. I guess it wasn’t a very big sin if you didnt follow your initial group all the way through 🙂

On the way from Kirchberg to the city center it was only like 21.00ish but we had already enough alcohol in our blood to sing Barbie Girl and make every other tram passenger to stare at us. Most of them probably found us just funny…right?

Limbo was practically empty when we arrived there as normal as I consider it as a place to go after everything else is about to close. Some brownies and a chocolate fountain with fruit sticks were waiting for us at the entrance. Despite the club being empty (ish) at arrival, it quickly got full when the rest of the groups reached us.

Over all, I had a lot of fun. I went there with a group of friends but also made some new acquintances (I noticed new messages from people whose numbers I hadn’t even saved the day after LOL). It was a very casual though a lot of people had made an effort to dress up since the majority of the bars were anyway a bit nicer. Most people were around 30ish but it was the first time I saw also some older people attend.

Personally I think the deal with food and drinks were great especially since you could have a lot of shots as well (if you want to, but who doesn’t?!). The only thing I liked a bit less was the beginning, when it wasn’t clear that the departure time to the next place was much earlier than 19.45 and caused some confusion. I also found the time spent in each bar a bit short and I think we could have stayed there just a bit longer especially as we arrived to a night club then very early. But for being the first time it was normal to have some small areas to improve!

I loved the Tram Crawl and I’d recommend the event for anyone who likes to party and wants to try something out of the ordinary!

Next Tram Crawl will take place on January 27th: check here.

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A Drink at Brasserie Philippe, Luxembourg City

Being in Luxembourg for almost 12 years now, I noted that there are restaurants/bars that have been the same for ages – notwithstanding the quality or level of prices – while there are some places that changed management / name / kind of activity very often in a short period of time. I can name few, but one example I had in front of my eyes recently was the brasserie located on Rue Philippe II almost at the cross with Avenue Monterey.

It used to be for long time an Italian bar – I remember I was going there to watch football matches when I did not have TV at home! – but after that it lost a bit the plot – ice cream parlour, brunch place, restaurant, after-work.. it was not really clear to me what it was and it looked in all the cases a very touristic trap. During one of these changes, I got in to have an ice cream and prices were mad and service unbelievably rude.

Anyway – the place I am talking about now has a new name, Brasserie Philippe and look more one of those neighbhood places you can find in Limpersberg or Belair, a nice, refined one.

It was not on the top of my “to try” list, but it happened that on December 26th I got back to Luxembourg in the afternoon. I was a bit too cold to stay at the Christmas Market – well, just the addendum in Place Guillamme was still on -, it was too early for dinner and I was not in the mood for getting into one of the usual bars in the Old Town.

As Brasserie Philippe was open and not empty, we said, why not to try.

The menu out of the meals’ hours reads several kind of drinks and some snacks. We started ordering two glasses of Montepulciano, followed by a charcuterie platter, a wine refill and a further platter of cheese.

Find quick pictures of our afternoon treat followed by my general impressions.

What I liked about Brasserie Philippe:

  • Service was very nice. As per above, you have more the feeling of being in a local brasserie than in a bar in the very city center. It was public holiday and it was over week end, so they had finished the normal bread, but before taking our order the waiter informed us, saying they had just industrial bread and if it was fine. I am sure in some other places they would have not cared.
  • Prices are extremely fair: wine glasses were between 6 and 10 euro while the shared platters were in a range of 8 / 12 euro. Definitely more than acceptable for a downtown bar!
  • Location is cozy and warm. I also spied a lovely mezzanine dining room.
  • Choice of wine and drinks again is pretty wide (table next to us had gin tonic prepared in the big glasses with cucumber) and reasonably priced.

What I liked a bit less about Brasserie Philippe:

  • Let’s face the thruth: while the place is very nice, due to the location the client basis is very mixed – hence you have tourists and families, nothing too posh or sophisticated. So the perfect spot if you are around for shopping and you want to have a drink / a snack, not the place I would plan in advance to go for a night out.
  • My mum is always saying: If you don’t spend much, you cannot expect much. So, while I definitely appreciated that the shared platters were pretty cheap compared to the Luxembourg average, at the same time you cannot say they have an amazing quality – and cheese was mainly just brie. Still, while kind of commercial, they were fresh and tasty.

 

In conclusion: The renewed Brasserie Philippe, in the very city center, is the perfect place for a stop during a shopping afternoon or in-betweens errands. The selection of drinks is wide and prices are extremely reasonable compared to the location. Bonus point: a very kind service.

New Year, Julio Cevicheria, Luxembourg

Well, let’s see how to start: first of all, happy new year! 2017 has been a great one for our blog – we have now a second editor, Jenni, who is helping me out with the events and interviews. We held our first blog party. We were part of the jury of Luxembourg Night Life Awards, we are writing for Easy-jet magazine and much more. Unfortunately, under the personal point of view, it was a pretty tough year for me and I realize the frequency of the posts were influenced by the ups and downs of my life. I hope 2018 will be a even better year for the blog but that we will be as well able to entertain you with more frequent updates!

So, before the end of the year, I moved in with bf and in my favorite area of the city – Place de Paris. You could have seen it coming 🙂 I happily realized there are more and more places opening in the neighborhood and the first one I tried was the brand new Julio Cevicheria. I was complaining with some friends already some months ago about the fact that an exotic and innovative cuisine that is the hype abroad did not yet have much space in the Luxembourg scenario. So, here we go, finally a new Peruvian restaurant in the city!

Since it opens, I have been to Julio Cevicheria three or four times, mainly for drinks, so I can tell you a bit more about my experience.

The place has a very low profile introduction on the street: just a steep staircase on the end part of Avenue de la Liberte toward the station. Downstairs, it is basically another story. A first main room with tall tables and armchairs separated by the bar on side and the dining room. Bright colors, naked tables, pictures on the walls. A separated VIP room – for private dining and parties – at the very end and, surprise, a lovely terrace on the back. The place is huge!

We actually went there just for a quick after-work but we decided then to eat as well something. We ordered Pisco Sour, the house cocktail, and I loved it (in fact I had four, LOL). We chose then Loaded potato with Beef, Nachos Peruanos, Fish and Octopus Chicharrones Tapa and Tapa Iberica (Ham & Cheese).

Everything was exceptionally good: I loved in particular the chicharrones with octopus, it was my favorite finger food of the night!

Some pictures of our informal dinner at Julio Cevicheria followed by my general impressions.


What I loved about Julio Cevicheria:

  • The place is amazing and it is already one of my new favorite. I adore the cocktails – last night I ordered as well a Mojito Passion Fruit and it is full of flavors! Pisco Sour is also perfect to combine with the finger food, that might be a bit greasy somehow.
  • The food is yummy: large choice, from finger food to salads, from vegetarian to fish, and several of the dishes have different size possible (for example for chicharrones you have tapas size, starter size and dish to share size). I particularly appreciate this formula as not always you might want to have a full dinner. As said before, the chicharrones with Octopus were my favorite bites so far, but I look forward to have also main courses that looked very tasty.
  • The service is great: Julio Cevicheria is just a place where you enter and you feel home and you are greeted, first or 10th visit, as you are one of the family. A plaudit to the great team, from the barman who are checking if you are fine with the taste of your drink during the night, to the lovely lady who is taking care of your dinner and introduced us to the Peruvian food.

What I liked a bit less about Julio Cevicheria:

  • I liked everything, without exceptions. If you want to be picky, the service is Mediterranean style, so at dinner time not the place if you are in a rush. Also, during the two times I have been there for dinner, some items on the menu were not available – but in fact it is because all ingredients are fresh and very requested items might get sold out over week-end.

To sum up: I have a new favorite place in town and it is Julio Cevicheria. It is the perfect location for a drink and some finger food or as well for a Peruvian dinner. The location is lovely and the service is one of the best I’ve ever had in town. It is strongly recommended for business outing, family celebrations and date nights.

 

Where to: go for a date in Luxembourg

You don’t necessarily need a special occasion to arrange a romantic date. Whenever you have been in couple for long time or it is your first date, Luxembourg offers plenty of options to impress your partner.

Splurge

After-Work / Drinks

Le Sud (Rives des Clausen)

While their restaurant is very well known in Luxembourg, not many know you can visit the last floor bar of Le Sud even if you don’t have a reservation for dinner. The lounge, in fact, is open every day until 1 am and, over the week end, until 3 am. They offer a great selection of wine and cocktails, amuse-bouche bar to accompany your drinks and, during the warm season, one of the best terrace in town. Definitely worth the spent.

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Piano Bar at Le Royal Hotel (Centre)

This might appear as an easy choice, not it is not so obvious. Among several classy hotels in Luxembourg, under my personal point of view, Le Royal is definitely the one that offers the most accurate service and the most uptown ambiance. Drinks presentation is stylish and, during the warmer season, the terrace offers a calm and sunny background for a romantic date. Not to mention the elegant cigar room in the corner.

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Dinner

Bick Stuff (Clausen / Neudorf )

Bick Stuff was one of the first places where I had a date in Luxembourg, almost eleven years ago, therefore it kept for me very special memories. This restaurant has a very romantic allure not only for its cozy settings, but as well thanks to the amazing service (one of the best in town for me) and the refined French cuisine.

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Giallo (Centre / Place D’Armes)

Among several noisy and family-friendly Italian restaurants, Giallo has a distinctive characteristic to be THE different place. For a special night, don’t forget to book the table downstairs near the water cascade. On the food side, Giallo will not disappoint you as well, with a “wow” presentation and great combination of tastes. Don’t miss the Italian bubbles to surprise your companion.

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Mid-Budget

After-Work / Drinks

L’Avenue (Kirchberg)

In the heart of Luxembourg financial district, with its amazing terrace and stylish interior design, L’Avenue is the perfect place is you are taking your date out straight after-work. Enjoy the sun on their lovely terrace and accompany your drinks with “a la carte” yummy tapas.

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Franz (Hamilius / Centre)

I ended up a Franz one night slightly heartbroken and decided after couple of gins that was not definitely the place for me on that specific night (joking!). Indeed, if you are on a date, the atmosphere is very romantic, Ronan Keating singing in the air and they have one of the best drink selections in town together with delicious platters to share at the after-work. It might happen, like it was for me that night, also that some brave couples are even dancing at the bar near closing time.

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Dinner

La Grappe D’Or (Dommeldange)

This Portuguese restaurant off the beaten tracks is for me a hidden gem, a very well preserved secret. The kitchen is mainly concentrated on fish, with great classic dishes and grilled platters to share. But the value point is definitely, during summer, the incomparable view, one of the best of the whole Luxembourg – get there on time to enjoy the sunset.

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La Cantine du Châtelet (Hollerich/Gare)

If you are looking for a place with a wow effect on the atmosphere and food side, but not on the bill, La Cantine is the perfect place to take your partner out. You can eat at the restaurant for a fancy evening or in the lounge bar room for a more informal date. The point in common between the two is the lovely service and the amazing wine list (with fair recharges). The dinner menu is refined and creative but tapas are also available if you are more into your partner than into food.

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Informal

After-Work / Drinks

Cafes Des Tramways (Limpersberg)

Candles: that should be enough to ensure you all the atmosphere and at Cafes des Tramways you definitely have a lot of them. Slightly out of the city center, in the posh district of Limpersberg, it still maintain its original relaxed allure. If your other half is not into dressing up, this is definitely the place you might want to take him / her.

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Bellamy – Bar & Cookery (Old Town)

The last born of the Goten/Tube family is a cozy, tiny bar on two floors in the old town. Over week-ends, it might be packed, but if you managed to gain a seat at the counter or in one of the corners, nothing can ruin your date. The service is on point, cocktails are delicious – and you don’t have to stay with your classic Gin Tonic, the card offers more extravagant choices – and if you need something more than butterflies in your stomach, they can prepare for you yummy tapas (order the avocado fries if available, it’s a win win).

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Dinner

La Briscola (Gare)

The thing I appreciate most, when I am invited for a date, is the capacity of my partner to surprise me with non conventional choices. La Briscola is a brand new place that opens recently next to the station. While the area might be not really appealing, once inside you will definitely forget about where you are. Friendly atmosphere, great selection of Italian wines at fair prices and a tasty innovative authentic Italian cuisine are making the rest.

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Beim Siggy (Clausen)

If you’re date is coming from out of Luxembourg, there is no better place to take him/her than Beim Siggy. The brasserie offers definitely the most stunning view in town together with a French / Luxembourgish kitchen, perfect if you wanna try local tastes but you want to maintain a classy profile – my recommended dish is definitely their beef tartare.

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What about you? What are your favorite places for a date in the City?

 

 

La Biblioteca, Clausen, Luxembourg

Taking advantage of the visit of one of my best friend, on a relatively quiet Friday night – after a Thursday ended up at Saumur – we decided to try the new Mexican restaurant in the Rives de Clausen area, La Biblioteca. The restaurant opens its doors just the Tuesday before.
You can book your table online – thanks God, finally this is starting to be common as well in Luxembourg – and we got there ready and hungry at 8ish.

The place was still calm and we were allocated to a table indoor – unfortunately the terrace was already fully booked. The location is very cozy: forget Calavera and sombreros around, the place is all dark wood, books (La Biblioteca literally means The Library) and linear, minimal décor.

We started with a Corona beer and ordered a guacamole starter. The menu choice is limited: together with some entrée to share, you have a selection of main ingredients (chicken, beef, vegetables, etc.) to apply to the main course, in the shape of a burrito,  tacos or quesadilla. I went for a carne asada quesadilla, while M. went for a burrito.

We concluded with an espresso and a cognac and our final bill (starter to share, two beef mains, 3 beers, one bottle of water, one espresso and one cognac) read slight less than 90 Euro, 45 Eur per person.

As routine, pictures of our dinner are followed by my impressions on the restaurant.

What I liked about La Biblioteca:

  • I loved the mood of the place: finally an “exotic” restaurant with no cheesy decorations and music. The terrace is lovely, reminds me of some intimate places around Southbank in London. The service was friendly and all smiling, while kind of fast and a bit apprehensive, but the restaurant has been just opened for couple of days, so definitely understandable.
  • I loved the food: as it’s clear from my reviews, I definitely don’t appreciate much restaurants with an infinite menu choice. I prefer a shorter list, that maybe provides you with limited decisions, but definitely with fresher ingredients. Having been to Mexico, I was finding my quesadilla so similar to those I was eating in Cancun with my feet in the ocean (take me back please!) as much as I loved the guacamole with its nachos – forget processed food, this was truly delicious. I also loved the fact they did not provide you with French fries as side as basically everywhere around Luxembourg, but rice and a tasty, seasoned salad were in the dish.

What I liked a bit less about La Biblioteca:

  • For being a place that opens just in the same week, I feel things are almost all perfect. Definitely a bit of finishing here and there might be needed. The thing that might be less than impressive is how close tables are indoor. If you are booking on the week end for a romantic date, you might want to consider it. And a spicy sauce option with the main would have been highly appreciated on my side 🙂

 

In conclusion: I really liked La Biblioteca and I am looking forward to come back soon: it definitely has the ambience factor and the food is tasty and authentic. Remember to specify in your reservation if you want to dine on the terrace – I would do it next time – and definitely perfect if you are looking for a new, different informal place for a dinner with friends.

After-Work at L’Avenue, Kirchberg

Couple of weeks ago, on a Wednesday night, we had a business meeting to plan and as we were already around Kirchberg area we decided to try for the first time L’Avenue, the modern new bar – restaurant in Arendt building, near Auchan.

The design of the venue is stunning: modern, clean, bright, slightly posh but exceptionally client-friendly. Entering, you have in front a luminous and striking bar counter – reminding me of some “Made in Chelsea” favorite drinking places -. On the left, the bar area, on the right the restaurant tables.

When we arrived, the bar area was already totally packed – we requested to the waiter a table for three people, but he was unable to find one, so we moved to the terrace. Indeed the terrace is one of the bonus point of the location but unfortunately on that specific night the weather was not compatible with a long stay. Our waiter was really nice: we started ordering two glasses of red wine – a nice Italian Primitivo – while waiting for our guest  and when our waiter saw I was actually shivering, he called us inside after having found a table.

Even if the bar area was packed, the tables allocation inside is really comfortable: you don’t get the impression to be suffocated by other people standing, like it happens in similar places and still have a good view – isn’t people watching one of the favorite hobbies in Luxembourg?

With the second round of drinks, we ordered as well some tapas: the kitchen was about to close, but we were still able to have some vegetable tempura with their dip. The presentation was very accurate, the portion quite fair for the price and the taste surprisingly good.

Some pictures of our evening followed by my general impressions – and for more pictures of the venue just check out L’Avenue FB page.


What I liked about L’Avenue:

  • The design of the location is “wow”. I really love the place and I cannot wait to be on the terrace during the warm season. It is the kind of place you might like to go straight from the office or after a business meeting like we did.
  • The service is extremely friendly: even if the place was packed and the waiter serving the bar area only one, we never felt we were forgotten and we got everything we needed on time and with a smile. Well done!
  • The drinks list is wide, including appealing cocktails and great gin selection. Tapas are served after-work and have several choices – including veggie – at a small price. Perfect if you are having dinner afterwards – and cannot wait to try the dining area in the next future.

What I liked a bit less about L’Avenue:

  • We had a super pleasant night so nothing to complain about, definitely. Maybe it would have been nice, even if you don’t order tapas, to have some chips or peanuts to snack while having your drink, but as usual this is one of the silly points of mine – I have an addictions for chips, I admit.
  • Not a real downside, indeed, but only a suggestion if you plan to visit the bar. Even if prices are very fair, it is a classy place, you cannot deny it, and being in the financial district, the customer base is mainly composed by lawyers and bankers. If you have gym-wear and sneakers on after having shopped at Auchan, it might not be the place for you. Come with high heels ladies 🙂

In conclusion: L’Avenue bar is the perfect for a fashionable drink in Kirchberg, with friends, colleagues or business partners. The lovely terrace and the stunning interior design, together with the attentive service, are making this place one of our favorite for after-working in town. 

An easy night out: Brooklyn Bar, Luxembourg City

Last week we had finally the opportunity to visit Brooklyn Bar, a cozy new American bar that opened last year in avenue de La Gare. The occasion was a live show of my friends’ duo, On Two Feet, who were playing there on a Friday night.
Together with F. we decided then to book for dinner ahead the event: the restaurant has a very simple system of reservation online, valid as well for the same day, and we got a very quick confirmation via email.

We got to Brooklyn around 8 pm – watch out, the parking situation is quite tragic at the moment in the area and you might want to get there via public transportation – bus n.3 stops just on the corner.

The atmosphere were very warm and friendly: we were reserved a nice table on the windows, and started our evening with soft drinks and beers. We ordered a starter to share (“Partners in crime”), composed by chicken wings, nachos, mozzarella stick and much more. The dish was pretty big and even if some products were clearly frozen, the quality was good. We continued with two burgers, prepared with ciabatta bun and with gorgonzola cheese and Parma ham topping. We concluded with coffee and moved then to drinks while listening to the music show and being joined by other friends.

Pictures of our dinners and couple of the live show – from Brooklyn fan page on FB – followed by my impressions.

What I liked about Brooklyn bar:

  • I loved the easy going atmosphere and the variegate client targets. This is definitely the place you come straight from work in your suit or when you don’t want to dress up with trainers and t-shirt.
  • There is a very good selections of drinks – if you come in just for a drink – and the food menu is also interesting – starters, burgers, meat and veggie dishes, anything sophisticated but the care about the food was impressive and my burger was OMG!
  • The bill comes very fair compared to other lookalike places in the city – being there from 8 pm to closing at 1 am, had friend joining for drinks and spent around 100 euro for all the table (food for 2 and drinks for 4).

What I liked a bit less about Brooklyn bar:

  • As said, the mood of the place is really cool but accessible hence the service is pretty much relaxed. Might not be the right place if you are in a hurry.

 

In conclusion: Brooklyn bar is the perfect place for an easy night with friends – they have live music shows, great drinks selection and their burgers are definitely worth a try. Highly recommended and will come back soon!