It’s almost a year now that you can visit a new exquisite cocktail bar near Antwerp’s Cathedral. Head bartender and owner is Didier Van den Broeck who became third at Diageo World Class Belgium 2014. This guy is a hurricane, he manages two or three different conversations and making five individual cocktails all at the same time and you know what? They’re fabulous.
Seriously, the first thing, stepping into this bar, turned a smile on my face. I love the wooden bar ,the wooden backbar, the floor, the seats, the layout, the lighting, the music… everything. We were welcomed and sat down at the bar. A glass of water and a handwritten menu was offered at once. I was really tired that day and actually I already knew what I was going to drink before I entered Dogma. Old Fashioned, please! …Damn good! Geertrui had an amazing Manhattan, one in my top three ever tasted as a matter of fact. Deliciously complex, yet not unbalanced.
We were on a tight schedule, but decided ‘to hell with it’ and stayed for another hour. It’s that kinda place you know, you just can’t leave immediately. Everything in this bar breathes love for the craft, especially the bartender of course. Didier was almost a professional cyclist (Dogma is named after a certain kind of sport cycle), but injury forced him to take another track. He ended up in the diamond trade business, yet his heart longed for the art of bar tending and cocktail making. So he took the big jump and started his own bar. Alone, at the start of it, and we take our hats off for that. Serving craft cocktails for 60 people all by yourself is a serious physical and mental challenge. But Didier “Mad Dog” Van den Broeck pulled it off.
The more we talked, the more enthusiastic he became and it’s really a sight to see this man working his drinks. Stuff almost starts to levitate around him. There’s a really contagious positive vibe in this bar and The Cocktail Nation marks it off as one of his personal favourites. A must visit for any cocktail aficionado.
Dogma Cocktails: Wijngaardstraat 5, 2000 Antwerpen
Photography by Geertrui Van Goethem