A unique, atypical and cosy 18th Century Speakeasy hidden in the centre of a small industrial city
If there’s one thing that would summarize the Ravazjol, then it’s the fact that it doesn’t really fit into any category of cocktailbar you’ve seen before. “The Ravazjol is the Ravazjol,” is the answer you get from locals when you ask what kind of place it is. And it’s true. This place has been a watering hole for almost 400 years and it really carries its history, you can feel it when you enter, it envelops you.
At the end of the 17th Century a new inn was started in St. Martin’s Alley next to Saint Martin’s church in the centre of Alost city. The inn was called the Rosemary and quickly gained such a reputation that some decades later the small street received an official name change, from then and until now to be known as Rosemary Street. There’s almost nothing left of the original inn, the building is an 18th century core which was transformed into several houses in the 19th century. What’s left inside is an 18th century staircase leading to the mezzanine and a 19th century rebuilt of the fireplace, plus some of the woodwork in the ceiling. But the atmosphere never left, it still feels like an inn, a place where adventures start, you know (or end).
And this history and atmosphere is reflected in the concept of the bar. This is not a polished, neo-hipster, fancy place that serves floating carrot smoothies with a whiff of juniper spawned from their private laboratory. Don’t get me wrong, I also love these places, but the Ravazjol is just another category altogether. Here, you’re not hushed to your seat by a mustachioed, Neo-Edwardian waiter who immediately starts to hydrate you with gallons of naturally sourced springwater like you were Moses himself having a beverage after 40 years of desert (again, don’t get me wrong, we always admire a good ‘stache and love being over-hospitalitised). Ravazjol is not that kinda bar, it’s actually more of a dive bar… with cocktails.
A dive cocktailbar, as it were. You know, where the high and the low rub elbows together and happily socialize with each other on the tunes of classic rock, alternative, indy and blues mixed with jazz and the occasional soft beat. It also reflects in the menu, Ravazjol serves classic cocktails and very good ones that is (al zeg ik het zelf 😉 ), most of them with a twist. The list is followed by some custom cocktails that became so popular we were politely urged to add them to the menu. Most of the customers, especially the regulars order ‘customs’, also known as the MMMI (Maak Mij Maar Iet), which means as much as: ‘Go ahead, fix me something, anything.’ We consider it a compliment, for it shows how much the patron trusts the bartender to know his or her likings and they know they always get something new.
Mocktails are another thing that sets the Ravazjol apart from other bars. The mocktail list is quite long and they’re real cocktails, you know, not just fancy lemonades or virgin versions of standing classics. And they’re so good, it quickly became a selling point of the Bar. All credit for this goes to Bar Owner and Mocktail-Mixologist Tine Stevens, who is also responsible for the baffling array of home made syrups, shrubs, coulis and saccharrums.
So, when you’re curious come and visit us after this Corona Horror has passed. That is, if you can find the entrance of course! To find the Ravazjol you have to the biggest church in town and locate a busy dance club nearby, called ‘Den Heiligen Gheest’ (The Holy Spirit). Walk all the way through the thumping beats to the back of the club, past the DJ booth and there will you find a wooden sliding door. Open it and… welcome to the Ravazjol, the sanctuary where the angels meet the rebels and have fun together.
If you can’t hold yourself you can also order some of the cocktails online, on the webshop: Ravazjol Webshop.