Belgo Zuid
Ladbroke Grove Tube Stop
London, UK

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Belgo Centraal in Covent Garden may be the place that most people think of when you mention Belgo, but we prefer the atmosphere at Zuid. And we’ve sampled our share of Belgos … Noord, Dublin, a number of the Bierodromes, and not to mention the ill-fated Belgo Nieuwe York.

What makes Belgo Zuid special is the atmosphere. The ceilings are high, and with no offense intended toward our German friends, Belgo Zuid is what a beer hall should be … great Belgian beer and no oompah-band.

Speaking of the Germans, even when Brian hasn’t been on the drink, he enjoys the taste of his foot in his mouth. I remember a trade show in Germany in 1996. Brian was proud of a new UK mailing campaign that he was sending out for an e-mail product line that we were representing. It looked like a greeting card, and on the front cover was a 1940’s era picture of a woman reading a letter. Our ever curious German business partner was examining the marketing piece and asked, “Vas … Vas is she reading?”

Without missing a beat, Brian chimed in “V-Mail … you know, Victory Mail … from when we won the war.”

“Yeah, we would have to change the picture here.”

Needless to say Brian is an expert when it comes to international business. He can offend persons of any culture without even really trying. Who could forget lunch in the Chinese restaurant when Brian told us his stories of business in Korea and China, and warned us “that you just can’t trust the Chinese!” He could have waited until after the food was served before sharing that gem of advice, and maybe kept the volume down a couple of levels. But Brian is the mouth that roared … an inspiration to Spinal Tap guitarist Nigel Tufnel, Brian’s mouth goes up to 11, especially when he is saying something offensive.

Like another business trip, and Brian explaining another excellent marketing idea. Pearl Harbor had just opened in theaters the prior weekend, and Brian had probably already seen the movie 4 times. As some Japanese colleagues also en-route to the same meeting sit down in the airport waiting lounge directly across from us, Brian shouts “Tora! Tora! Tora!” I don’t think he ever told us the rest of that particular marketing idea.

What does this all have to do with Belgo Zuid? Well, Belgo Zuid is a good place to go have a few Belgian beers, and some moules and frites, and to recount stories like these. That is, unless the 2 gits are arguing about quantum mechanics on that particular evening. The only known cure for a git argument over quantum mechanical theory is Rochefort 10 (Westvleteren 12 also works but its harder to get, and even harder to keep … don’t ever let Brian store some of it for you in his shed … you’ll never see it again … but I digress). Anyway, if Belgo is out of the Rochefort 10, and only has the Rochefort 8, then quantum mechanics can make for a long evening. Rodenbach Grand Cru can usually cure one of the gits of these discussions, and if all else fails, order a schnapps stick, as at least it will put you out of the misery.

The beer selection isn’t as good at any of the Belgo’s these days. I still remember one Sunday afternoon where we tried to do as many Belgo’s as we could in a single day. I think we only made it to three … started off at the Bierodrome in Islington, then down to Covent Garden for Centraal, and finally ended up at Zuid. I think we tried to make it to Noord in Camden, but got there before it opened or some such nonsense.

Anyway, the thing about Zuid is the atmosphere. There’s something about the omnipresent Belgo guy in the rain hat looking down over you that offers comfort. Which reminds me, we’ve got to find somewhere that we can buy one of those hats.

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