Special post: Leandro Targon @ Hardrock Cafe Antwerp.

 

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Leandro Targon

 

Where are you from and what brings you to Antwerp?

I’m from Mendoza, in western Argentina. My city is the proud wine capital of South America and lays at the feet of the Andes.

I first came to Belgium in June 2016 for holidays and during that trip met my spouse, who is from the Netherlands. Ten months later we were married in Antwerp!

Tell us about your job.

I’m the Sales & Marketing Manager at Hard Rock Cafe Antwerp. I simply love my job: I’m responsible for the 100% of the sales figures of our cafe (groups, leisure, corporate and individuals) and contracting with business partners. Being the spokesman and image of the brand in the Flemish region, I plan, budget and execute the yearly event calendar. I’m also responsible for the marketing communication of our cafe.

You are right at the heart of an area very popular with tourists. What’s that like and how is the tourism business faring in Antwerp at the moment?

We are indeed at the core of everything that happens in Antwerp. Tourism figures are growing considerably every year in the city, but at the moment there is a big focus on the business traveler, weekdays and weekend visitors from neighbouring areas who come mainly for shopping, people interested in the cultural aspects of the city, and plenty of foodies. Like many in the hospitality industry, we’re aiming for major growth in the long-stay leisure traveler segment, mainly the international one. That is certainly one big area of opportunity compared to other destinations in the Benelux, and hopefully with the increasing number of cruise ships calling at the port of Antwerp, there will be much better results.

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Leandro with Santa at the kids’ Christmas Breakfast

Can a place like Hard Rock be something that is both for locals and tourists, or do you think of them as being very separate demographics?

Combining the two of them is the exact key for what an authentically genuine Hard Rock Cafe must be. We are a worldwide well-known reference for tourists, and as such our cafes are an attraction. But the strength of our business resides in the local community; both Flemish and expats. Therefore our events and initiatives welcome everybody, without putting our guests into boxes. Hard Rock Cafe Antwerp is our house, and that’s how we like to be seen.

What are you looking forward to in 2019?

2019 is a year full of ambitions for us as a cafe. In March we will have been open for two years and that is something we’re immensely happy about. My personal and professional goal is to enhance our fans’ experience, and create genuine experiences that rock. Undoubtedly it will be an amazing year!

What do you like best about living in Antwerp, and what do you miss about your home country?

I totally love that Antwerp is such an international city; a hub for business, its also offers plenty of heritage and culture, as well as amazing shops and museums to visit, and I love the fact that is so beautiful. I’ve lived in many countries before coming here, and been out of Argentina for more than seven years… I wouldn’t say I really  “miss” something about my country because I receive visits from friends and family at least once a month, and I go to Argentina twice a year. The nature over there is breathtaking, so I try to reconnect with that every time I’m back.

Hard Rock Cafe is on Groenplaats, Antwerp.

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This Weekend: 29th, 30th & 31st January 2016

Friday 29th

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Photo from: Critical Mass Antwerpen

Antwerp has its own Critical Mass bike rides, which take place on the last Friday of every month. Cyclists assemble on Theaterplein at 6pm and cycle in and around the city together for around an hour, for a healthy and eco-friendly start to the weekend.

Afterwards, you might wish to head to An Sibhin on Nationale Straat where Croque Manouche will be playing at 9. The kitchen is going to be open later than usual and serving food from 6.30 (chilli con carne, beef burritos, veggie burgers and beef burgers) if you want to eat beforehand.

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“Pateekes” in an Antwerp shop window

The 29th January marks the start of Antwerp Patisserie Week (Pateekes week) which involves various bakeries, and tea & coffee houses round the town. This is an annual event and the way it works is that you buy a “Pateekes Pass” for 10 euros at the Tourist office on Grote Markt. This provides you with 10 vouchers (‘bonnetjes’) which you can exchange for cakes and pastries at the participating venues -you will be provided with a list of these when you buy the pass.

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Designcenter De Winkelhaak

At 6pm head over to Design Center Winkelhaak for a retro and second hand furniture & design market called Dubieus Design. It’s 5 euros in (includes a glass of bubbles) but is also on on Saturday from 10am -6pm for free.  

In the same building is the lovely Bar Oscar if you are feeling hungry or thirsty….

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Bar Oscar

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saturday 30th

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Kids dancing at LBWG

If you have children who like to move and dance you might want to take them to Little Brewers Winter Garden for Dansen Met Lotte at 2pm (all kids) and for children aged 6+ from 4.30pm. LBWG is a large, airy, pop-up bar, which is going to be open until the end of February. It’s a really nice, chilled space with plenty of room, but is likely to be busier and noisier when the kids’ dance event is taking place.

For adults who also love to dance there is a Flamenco festival at the Zuiderpershuis on both Saturday and Sunday night, it’s a little pricier than most events that I list here (36 euros pre-sale; 40 at the venue) but it is obviously an event that is a big deal if you are a flamenco fan!

At artist-run space Pink House Italielei 63, there’s a performance festival starting at 2pm, for 5 euros.

Sunday 31st

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image courtesy of Madam Woll

At 10am there’s Madame Woll’s monthly  knitting atelier for 8 euros (bring your own materials).

There’s also a big fleamarket on The Schijnpoortweg from 10-6pm, 2,50 entrance.

And Het Steen is open for kids (6+) for the free time-themed atelier which takes place above the café -walk in any time between 1pm and 4pm.

 

At 11am (-12.30) children aged 6+ can see the film Orla de Kikkersliker at Permeke Library for 2 euros.

And a cinema tip for grown-up film fans:  the Belgian-made film Problemski Hotel, which is now showing in Antwerp at Cartoons Cinema near the cathedral was warmly recommended to me by a colleague this week.

Weather is likely to be much milder in terms of temperatures, this weekend, but with the possibility of some showers in the afternoon on Saturday and Sunday (and breezy). Friday is forecast to be dry all day.

Do comment, mail & Tweet your feedback and suggestions -are there events I am missing? Let me know.

Until next Thursday 🙂

For midweek updates and Antwerp related tweets, follow me on Twitter @nessascityblog