Nestled in a back alley in the historic center is an old pub called Quinten Matsijs. The building dates back to the 1500′s and is considered the oldest pub in Antwerp with glass-in-lead windows, sturdy wooden tables and chairs, a huge chimney and a number of different specialty beers on tap.
Walking into the pub one could sense that some of the characters had been around for a while. And sure enough…how about for the past 17 years? Every Saturday and Sunday they meet, drink beer, and fill the pub with stories and laughter. I received a personal tour from Jozef who showed me how to play on a 250 year old gaming table called a tonspel (where the goal of the game is to score points by throwing small discs in holes each worth a certain amount of points) as well as explaining paintings and other relics on the walls.
Visiting with this group on both Saturday and Sunday afternoons while in Antwerp was an experience of a life time. Having some great beer with the locals, understanding every other word (or at least one in three!) and laughing like no tomorrow. Priceless! Thank you Jozef, Freddy and Roger (and out) for your hospitality!