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“Avoid this place”
Review of Kulminator

Kulminator
Ranked #1 of 34 Nightlife in Antwerp
Certificate of Excellence
Attraction details
London
Level Contributor
37 reviews
17 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 46 helpful votes
“Avoid this place”
Reviewed 18 July 2013

A few of us visited over the weekend and before we could order a drink the barman started yelling and shouting. This was the middle of the afternoon. He may have thought we were someone else or had a bad experience with tourists, this was never made clear. We had just entered the premises and were looking to order a drink. We were made more than welcome in all other places we visited while in Antwerp.

With so many decent places to stop for a nice beer in Antwerp this place is to be avoided at all costs. Will not allow the bizarre behaviour of one landlord to spoil my city break.

Visited July 2013
Helpful?
8 Thank Chris M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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184 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Traditional) first
  • Danish first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Greek first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
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  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Cardiff, United Kingdom
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Worst european bar experience I've ever had”
Reviewed 9 July 2013

On the surface this looks like it should be one of the best bars in Europe, an absolutley incredible selection of beers in an eccentric surrounding. However I never got my hands on a drink, a misunderstanding over a reserved seat led to the landlord screaming at us, no polite request to move, no polite request to leave, just shouting. Being fair, his wife was very apologetic and almost embarrased, however I'd save yourself the hassle of finding this place and enjoy a drink in one of the many, many other fantastic bars in Antwerp where we experienced nothing but first class and friendly service.

Visited July 2013
Helpful?
6 Thank PatScott77
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“Rude, nasty and unhinged landlord”
Reviewed 8 July 2013

We had had a lovely trip in Antwerp thus far visiting many pubs where the staff could not have been friendlier. We visited this place on recommendations and one of our party accidentally sat in a seat that was reserved for the landlord - it was not clear that this was his seat. He came out roaring obscenities and screaming 'OUT, OUT, OUT'. We were more than happy to move but, like some deranged lunatic behaving like he'd be more at home in Ward 8 at Broadmoor, the landlord insisted we go and without provocation threatened to alert the police. We got an apology from the landlord's wife for his unhinged behaviour but his behaviour was completely unacceptable and temporarily tarnished what was a very enjoyable day that we were all having.

Visited July 2013
Helpful?
10 Thank Major070712
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Minnesota, United States
Level Contributor
61 reviews
17 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
“Incredible beer selection but we picked the wrong day to visit”
Reviewed 19 May 2013

After a day with a medieval castle and a canal tour in Ghent, we headed to Antwerp to spend the night and drink at the Kulminator, a world class bar with free roam cats--perfect. Or, so we thought. Easy walk from our hotel in the historic heart of Antwerp, which was terribly confusing to drive. I would take a train next time. Entering the bar, it may be the highest density of beer I've ever seen. Taking a seat in the back patio, it was hard to decide what to drink. Just so many beers to chose from that it can be paralyzing.

So I started in familiar territory and ordered a La Trappe Quadruple. This 1995 bottle was poured hard at the table without a decant. Small bottle. Head falls flat quickly and there was only the faintest pop on the cap. Dusty, dirty bottle with a label style that I haven't seen before. Musty, oxidized cherry and port like flavors. The normal oiliness and full flavor has dissipated. Lighter bodied, as if the yeast had thinned it out. Alcohol not apparent either. Interesting but I won't let quad bottles at home go this long.

Then, so I could justify being at the Kulminator, I ordered an Evolution of Chimay bottles: 1992. 2002 and 2012. Very fun side by side tasting, including the oldest aged beer that I've ever had at a 20 year old Chimay. The young Chimay is fresh, but the better than adequate beer that I've always thought it to be. It doesn't match up La Trappe for me. The 10 year version is showing some signs of age with clear cherry and port notes from oxidation and the alcohol is apparent in the nose. The 20 year old is very flat though a small head appeared briefly on the hard pour and the oxidation of the 10 year old is in full bloom in the 20. Comparing similarly aged bottles really made the differences from the cellar clear and apparent; it pulled together years of tastings from my own cellar. On a learning level, very worth the trip. It's an extraordinary experience without having to wait for 20 years in my own cellar.

Kulminator in a fine place with an amazing list. However, I will never return during the summer, particularly to avoid the gnats lurking the plants and the uncomfortable lack of air conditioning. The bar is hot and the beer served at room temperature, which affects the aging process. Today is clearly beyond any recommended temperature for aging. I'm not sure where the bottles are coming from but it seems to be just from the shelf; the bottles are clearly room temp on sweltering day. And, no kittens for most of the stop. They made a late appearance and were not very friendly.

Returning to our hotel the Hilton Antwerp, the AC was not keeping up, so we moved to a colder room. While walking, the desk clerk said it was the hottest weekend since 1994. Talk about hitting a bad day at an open air beer bar. With a beer geek dream of a cellar, I see why it's so revered but it's not my favorite bar. I would happily prefer a day at 't Arendsnest in Amsterdam, the former Brickskeller in DC or Rattle-n-Hum in New York. Another day, another time, especially in winter, I would like to give the famous K another try.

More at http://pintsizedrevelations.blogspot.com/2013/03/kulminator-antwerp-belgium.html

Visited July 2012
Helpful?
1 Thank CalVH
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Tokyo Prefecture, Japan
Level Contributor
115 reviews
57 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 65 helpful votes
“take it all in.”
Reviewed 13 May 2013

Likely the best beer bar in the world, which is what you're looking for if you're traveling in Belgium, yes? Beer lovers will be in heaven but novices should have an open mind, as the very homey atmosphere and encyclopedic menu can be overwhelming. I agree with other reviewers who say that if you show respect and trust the experts, you'll be given respect and rewarded with the perfect beer (and cheese, sausage, and board game selection) you may or may not have known you were looking for. We had a De Dolle Oerbier Stille Nacht from 1987, if any connoisseurs are interested, and it was absolutely fantastic.

Visited May 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank Julia D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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