Molly’s – Antwerp’s oldest Irish pub

AudreyAudrey Molewska runs Molly’s Irish Pub on the Jezuitenrui. Nessascityblog got to ask her a few questions and the answers revealed not just some facts about a local business – but a story with a big heart.

 

Hi Audrey! Can you start by telling us about Molly’s -where and what sort of pub it is?

Molly’s (Jezuietenrui 4) is currently Antwerp’s oldest Irish Pub. A little off the main streets of Antwerp, we’re very much a hidden gem. We’re not so much a tourist bar; mainly more for the expats (although EVERYONE is welcome at Molly’s!).


interiorThe greatest thing about Mollys, in my opinion, is the sense of family: for a lot of us this is our “home away from home”, and the friends we make here are our family. Then there’s the regulars – those countless number of wonderful people-  friends- who have frequented this pub, some for more than twenty years. We’d never last without them. Our prices are fair, the Guinness is great, we showcase proper trad music, plus there’s more sport to watch than you can shake a stick at! Whoever crosses our door gets a warm Irish welcome that will keep them coming back for more. The staff care, the customers care….we’re family …Dysfunctional sometimes, but what family isn’t?!

 What about you? Where are you from and what’s your work background?

I’m from Swords Co. Dublin, Ireland and I moved here in 2012. It was a classic case of “Woman In Love Follows ‘Love of Life’” and sets up home here. I worked in a number of well known Irish bars  (bringing twelve years experience with me from home) but I never found the right fit for me. Staff and management in the larger bars never seemed to care about the customer, being more about the turnover. Something as simple as not knowing a regular customer’s name is unacceptable to me. I decided I needed to have my own place in order to stop working for people I couldn’t respect, and be able to really start giving people what they wanted…a PROPER IRISH PUB. I won’t claim to be the only one these days, and I’ll give a shout out to others operating with the same ethos: The Highlander, The Northerner, An Sibhin, and The Corner House. 

 

What do you like about living and working in Antwerp? 

jesuitenrui
Jezuietenrui, where you will find Molly’s

I LOVE living in Antwerp! My first six years were spent living in Limburg, and then Kasterlee (both beautiful places) but when I finally moved to Antwerp, it was the missing link! Finally, I had the support I lacked before, the city life that revived me, the acceptance and help I never properly received (in my busy life I’ve never fully mastered the language despite my attempts!). It’s never easy, but it’s easier than before!

I love how cosmopolitan Antwerp is. The people are so helpful and friendly.  In these times I see us all, as small local businesses, trying to  band together, regroup, and try to support one another!  Perhaps the “family element” of Molly’s is evident in a lot of places in Antwerp!

How did Molly’s survive the shutdown, and how is re-opening going?

With difficulty like many. Finances were a constant juggle, alongside supporting a family. We missed our customers and our family. We stayed in constant touch with regulars and friends to check on their health and to see if they needed help.

familybar
Near re-opening time, we put out an S.O.S to our lovely regulars to see who could provide some skills and help to make a “NEW MOLLYS” for our customers….the response was overwhelming!

We now have a whole new look; it’s spotlessly clean with a new-look terrace, and we plan to keep making more changes as the months go on.

We’re all hoping (touch wood!) that there will be no second wave – all being well, what are your future plans for Molly’s? 

 

As stated, more renovations and possibly an extension in the future to provide our customers with an authentic Irish Kitchen. This is “phase 1” as we call it….hopefully there’s more to come!! And to all who helped: you know who you are – Molly’s would be lost without you!

flag

 

Find Molly’s on Facebook
Email: mollysirishpubantwerp@gmail.com

 

 

Find & Follow #nessascityblog

ON: Facebook (Events in Antwerp)

Email: nessascityblog@gmail.com

& check out #nessascityblog on Twitter & Pinterest & Instagram

 

 

Special post: The Yellow Window

The Yellow Window Coffeehouse can be found in the old part of the city. Like all local catering businesses it has been much affected by the Corona Virus regulations and lockdown. Currently offering take-away, The Yellow Window should also be on your list of places to pick up a great coffee as restrictions ease as the coffee and the cookies are delicious.

Meet Dominic, who runs The Yellow Window.

Hi Dominic! Can you start by telling us about The Yellow Window-where and what it is?

IMG_20200601_142143
Dominic at The Yellow Window

The Yellow Window has been open since November of last year, located at Vlasmarkt 8, 2000. The Vlasmarkt is just off the busy shopping street Hoogstraat, where there is a range of international bars and restaurants.

We serve  breakfast and lunch dishes accompanied by high quality coffee which is supplied by a local micro-roasting company: Cross Roast. We have three aims: tasty food, great coffee and impeccable service (with a smile). One thing I learned over the past ten years of working in catering is that the customer always appreciates a friendly attentive waiter or bartender, and it’s something I personally appreciate when I’m out for dinner or drinks. 

What about you? Where are you from and what’s your work background?

I grew up in the midlands of Ireland (lots of green fields and cows) from the age of ten, although I’m originally from the UK. Ireland is home for me and I love it dearly. I always knew I wasn’t going to stay in Ireland after school, as I had that desire to travel and see the world. After school, I returned to London to work for two years in bars. I loved living back in London but It wasn’t going to be long term. I then went onto Spain to work two seasons in bars, nightclubs and restaurants (with way too much partying!). I then returned to Ireland for one year, working in a hotel.

I moved over from Ireland in 2015 and have been living in Antwerp for the past five years. Originally I intended to stay for six months to a year, but from the moment I arrived in Antwerp I fell in love with this beautiful city. 

What do you like about living and working in Antwerp? What are the challenges?

IMG_20200601_142332There’s lots I love  about living in Antwerp. There is beauty on every street, from the very accessible Meir shopping street, to the beautiful buildings throughout the city. The parks, the museums, the bars, the beers, the food, I could easily go on and on and on! 

Before I came to Antwerp, I didn’t know much about the city, the languages or the Flemish people, and I was nervous that it was going to be difficult to communicate with customers, or in the shops but I was pleasantly surprised that the majority of the community speaks English. I have met some of the nicest Flemish people during the past five years. 

The biggest challenge I have found since being in Antwerp is trying to learn the language. I do my best in certain situations and I can understand more than I can speak. Having my own business has motivated me to learn and understand more and more everyday. 

How has the pandemic and the shut-down affected The Yellow Window?

Other than the fact The Yellow Window was only opened for three full months before the shutdown, the effect has been huge! I have had to re-think and reorganise my business plan for the future. 

IMG_20200601_142347
The Yellow Window interior: soon customers will be able to come back inside

I have many ideas, with some already in place. I have been exploring many options for the future and I am very excited with what’s coming up at The Yellow Window. 

Now that the next phase of the government’s plan is going ahead on June 8th, I can look forward to (I hope) regaining a more steady flow of customers, even with the long list of restrictions. 

One thing I will say is – watch this space!

Lots of people seem to have become enthused about baking during lockdown. Do you have a great recipe for us to try?

IMG_20200601_142519
home baked cookies at The Yellow Window

Before the lockdown I never saw myself as much of a baker; now, I have made many batches of cookies over the past few months. I tried different recipes I pulled from the internet, making many mistakes along the way but I have landed on a recipe that is working well for me. I can’t take the credit, as it’s not my recipe. It’s this one from Sallys Baking Addiction. Sally’s recipes are very clear and easy to follow.

 

 

Find/ contact The Yellow Window:

At Vlasmarkt 8, Antwerp 2000
On Facebook

And on Instagram.

 

https://www.instagram.com/p/B808bENplUZ/

Find & Follow #nessascityblog

ON: Facebook (Events in Antwerp)

Email: nessascityblog@gmail.com

& check out #nessascityblog on Twitter & Pinterest & Instagram

 

 

 





LUDDITES: a new book shop & wine bar on Hopland, run by Richard & Jorien.

Hi Richard! Can you start by telling us about Luddites -where and what it is?

We’re at Hopland 34, which is in the city centre; the street that goes by the back entrance of Stadsfeestzaal. We’re a bookstore, wine bar, and hideout from the modern world, all rolled into one, and lodged in a beautiful 1902 townhouse.  We have classic wooden bookshelves and no wifi; hidden just upstairs is our wine bar, where you can lounge and read a book or converse with your friends and family over one of our delicious wines. The idea is that if you buy a book, or make any purchase of €10 or more, that first glass of wine becomes half-price. I find that wine drinkers get excited about that deal, whereas book readers are more indifferent and, if you are both, then you are over the moon.

Also, our book selection is about half Dutch, half English. We have about three thousand titles, so if you are looking for a book in English, look no further.

Luddites4
Luddites can be found at Hopland 34


What about yourselves? Where are you from and what’s your work background?

I moved here from New York, but grew up outside of Philadelphia, and studied mainly Classics and Literature. Naturally, there’s not much of a market for that, so I turned to contract killing. It worked for a while, but suddenly I was getting too much heat from the Feds, so I had to move to a city no American could point to on a map. Antwerp was an obvious choice. I had so many friends back home congratulate me on my big move to Germany.

Jorien was a librarian in a small Flemish town for a number of years, so she is keyed into the Dutch book scene, and has been dreaming about opening a bookstore since she was an adolescent. 


Ja, Antwerpen ist sehr schon: what do you like about living and working here?


It is cosy, perhaps sometimes too cosy. The city has this way of sucking in unsuspecting people, such as myself. I was only supposed to spend two years here, and when I first moved to Antwerp, which was during the winter, I didn’t think I would make it that long. But then the summer hit, and I experienced the beauty of the city: the long, warm nights sitting with friends on terraces, the thriving arts and music scenes, all of the great restaurants and shops. You could feel the collective sigh of relief from everyone after the first rays of the spring sun hit—followed, of course, by a mad dash to the closest terrace to bask in them. I realised that the city had been hibernating all winter, and that I had to re-evaluate everything I thought I knew about it. Now, it has been six years.


What do you read yourselves? Any good book recommendations for us to keep usLuddites3 occupied during lockdown?

Well, we try to cater book recommendations to the tastes of our customers; Jorien is exceptional at that because of all of those years working as a librarian. Personally, the last book which struck me as poignant and left me wanting more was Paul Auster’s 4321, in which he examines the four vastly different arcs one character’s life can take, based on small decisions by his parents. The first one hundred pages are a bit of a struggle, but then you get hooked (I guess I have a type). At 880 pages it is a whopper, so it is great if you are stuck inside with nothing to do. Perhaps also Crime and Punishment? We have this lovely Norton Critical edition of the novel, which provides a lot of footnotes and makes the classic much easier to digest. Now, I think, is the time to read those long books that have been on your list forever—those books that are marriages rather than flings—because if you don’t read them now- at this perfect moment for them- when will you? 


5) We can’t -unfortunately- avoid mention of the C word. It must have been gutting for you to have to close so soon after opening, because of Covid 19. How are you planning to cope over the next few weeks, and are there still services you are able to offer?

Good question! I’m frantically building a webshop (update: it’s now live- see links below) at the moment, but that probably won’t be up and running for another week or so. In the meantime, people can still inquire and order books (and wine) from us through our general email address (hello@luddites.be). We offer free delivery within the city of Antwerp, and delivery at cost everywhere else in Belgium. I’m also in discussions with a couple food delivery services, so in a few days you should be able to order our wines through your favorite food delivery app.

Luddites5

Lastly, if you want to support us now but would prefer the full Luddites experience, you can order gift cards through that same email address, and come visit us when our doors are open again.

 

 

Links & Contact


Website: https://luddites.be/

Webshop: https://shop.luddites.eu/

Facebook                                   Instagram

Email: hello@luddites.be

All images in this post courtesy of Luddites.

Find & Follow #nessascityblog

ON: Facebook (Events in Antwerp)

Email: nessascityblog@gmail.com

& check out #nessascityblog on Twitter & Pinterest & Instagram

 

This weekend in Antwerp: 11th, 12th & 13th October

Nessascityblog: A Market Edition

It seems to be market weekend in Antwerp so keep reading if you enjoy food markets, retro markets, browsing  for second hand goods or visiting lifestyle markets: there’s loads to choose from this weekend. And if you need to stop for a snack, Smaakmeesters 2019 Food Festival -a two week food event at various locations around the city- finishes up this weekend.

What’s your favourite market? If I’ve missed one, let me know!

DOKMARKTF
Dokmarkt

Dokmarkt is the market where you can also start your weekend: food and drink stands

sell everything from curry to cavas for consuming on the spot with friends, but a number of stands offer local products to purchase and take home. My favourites are the pickles and chutneys from Spijs & Valies, and gin from Save The Queen.

Saturday

The Mega Grote Rommelmarkt on Sint Jansplein from 10am- 6pm is indeed mega-big: you can find anything here, from clothing to bikes to electrical parts. It’s a busy, local market in a diverse area of the city. If you’re stopping for a drink after the market, I recommend the bar Rode 7 which is also on the square, and also serves good, fresh food. Rode 7 supports local artists by displaying their work.

Screenshot 2019-10-09 at 16.17.23
Sint Jansplein

Back in the city centre, Swan Market is a totally different type of market: the stalls are held by individuals, start-ups and local creatives, some of whom come from The Netherlands, where Swan Market also hold events. Swan Market is hip, and always insta-ready. You can find stationery, accessories, clothing, jewellery, household items and food stands. There’s usually music, and it’s quite kid-friendly too. Swan Market is on Grote Markt from 11am- 6pm.

Foodies will also enjoy Kraakvers on the Sint Andriesplaats from 10am -3pm. Kraakvers also sells locally made food products -including beers, preserves and bread – as well as fresh fruit and vegetables.

beetroot-3490809_640
Sunday

Cyclists will enjoy this small bike market on Giraffenplein (behind the zoo) from 10am- 5pm. Hosted by Vitesse Coffee Bar, you will be able to browse vintage bikes and pick up any spare parts you need for your bike.

Markt van Morgen is a little like Swan Market, but I like it better -it’s smaller and less busy and stressful, but does a great job of packing in a wide variety of nice products into a small space. The location is also nice, and many of the shops along Kloosterstraat are worth browsing while you are there, especially if you like antiques.

MvM13oct
Markt van Morgen (image source Facebook)

Lovers of all things retro should make their way to The Vintage Market Live -6th Edition at the Sint-Jan-Evangelistkerk (aka De Peperbus Kerk) in Borgerhout. Vintage clothing, toys, design and furniture will be for sale. This is the only market that isn’t free, but it’s only 2 euros to go in.

Goegekregen is one of the best known providers of second hand markets in Antwerp, holding frequent events across the city. This weekend they can be found along the Singel (Desguinlei/Kielsevest) from 9am-6pm. This is always a big market offering clothes, toys, furniture and household goods. There’s always a stand selling food and drinks at Goegekregen markets too, and a friendly atmosphere.

We could see some scattered showers on Friday, but temperatures will rise on Saturday (18 degrees max) and Sunday (23 degrees max) when it should also be dry (though cloudy).

Miscellaneous

For details of other regular Antwerp markets see  Visit Antwerp

Screenshot 2019-10-09 at 16.24.35

English speaking bookworms: this reading club has just begun holding sessions in Permeke Library. Meet at the main desk at 10am on the dates listed on the link. It’s free and you don’t have to register, but it’s recommended that you do via info.permeke@antwerpen.be or tel: 03 338 38 00

Find & Follow #nessascityblog

ON: Facebook (Events in Antwerp)

Email: nessascityblog@gmail.com

& check out #nessascityblog on Twitter & Pinterest & Instagram

Guest blog post: Glass blower, Frederik Rombach

image1
Frederik Rombach

Hi, my name is Frederik and I am the owner of Rombachs Glass. I was born in Belgium, and raised in Benoni, Johannesburg until the age of 14 . From there, my parents and I moved to the Netherlands where I learned to speak Dutch. At aged 17 I decided to continue traveling the world and spent time living and working in San Diego, and later on in Puebla, Mexico. Leaving the warm Southern Hemisphere I spent time living and working in Bergen, Norway. About 6 years ago I moved to Antwerp and decided to settle down here (…for a while at least).

Rombachs glass studio is the first public glass studio in Belgium that works solely with waste glass. We host demonstrations where we make sculptures out of waste glass such as boxing gloves, scorpions and all kinds of other weird stuff! We also host team-building events for large and small companies looking to have some fun together and make a communal object out of glass. If you feel like do something fun after work then you can also check out the workshops that we do in the evenings!

03-ombachs-mesa-antwerp

We are also setting up an exciting new experiment where we help people learn Flemish through glassblowing. If you are interested in this trimester program then please get in touch for more information!

But that’s not all we do: we also make company gifts. If you and your company are looking for a lasting memento, and want something truly unique then we will be able to help!

So, from sculptures to events, and a mix of products in between, that’s pretty much what we do -and we do it all with waste glass!

Please feel free to get in touch if you have any questions, ideas or projects you would like to pass on.

03-rombachsglas-workshop-hotglass
a workshop at Rombachs Glass

Last but not least, on Sunday 14th of July we will be hosting our monthly Second Sunday, from 2pm – 5pm. We ask a 5€ contribution which is also your raffle ticket! At the end of the demo we will raffle off the pieces we made to a few lucky winners!

Check out our Facebook and Instagram pages and do come to see what we do LIVE!

Rombachs Glas GCV
Frieslandstraat 23,  2660 Hoboken BE
T  0032 4 86 95 96 54
www.rombachs.com

 

Find & Follow NESSASCITYBLOG

ON: Facebook (Events in Antwerp)

Email: nessascityblog@gmail.com

& check out #nessascityblog on Twitter & Pinterest & Instagram

 

newcard2