Even though Belgium is a small country compared to most nations out there, it has a lot of culinary and cultural heritage on offer. Belgian beers might be the country’s most famous legacy out there, with countless Trappists, brewers, and microbreweries to choose from. And of course, those beers are to be enjoyed in a fitting establishment, worthy of the products they’re serving. Therefore, it’s not a big surprise that Belgium counts numerous bars where you can enjoy one (or multiple) beers in an often very traditional setting. But one of the most famous bars is without a doubt the Dulle Grient in Ghent.
The Guardian has chosen Dulle Griet as one of the best bars in the world – that has to account for something. As far as looks go, it’s true that the bar located on the famous Vrijdagmarkt in Ghent has to be the archetype for Belgian bars. Beer plaques are covering the walls, intertwined with ancient wheels and hanged dolls that remind of the somewhat macabre history of the square it’s located on. As a customer, chances are you’ll be sat at an old barrow, seeming to be a necessary ingredient for any beer bar taking itself seriously.
But today we’re talking about a fairly new measure that has managed to make the news all around the world for being quite a fun fact. Because in an effort to limit beer glass theft – we’re not making this up – the Dulle Griet has put in place a very special device: customers ordering a beer have to give one of their shoes to the waiter as a guarantee, making sure they give back their glass before leaving. And if they don’t, the walk of shame through Ghent can begin.
Luckily, there’s some good news for those of us who are not so eager to take off their shoes in public, whatever the reason may be. The measure has only been put in place for customers ordering a glass of MAX, a beer that’s being served in a glass with a continuance of no less than 1,2 liters and that comes in a giant wooden glass holder.
That means that if you’re around the Vrijdagmarkt in Ghent and you want to order a beer without taking your shoes of, you still can. However, it’s a great story to tell to your friends and family afterwards, so maybe it’s still worth giving it a try.