Kafka is just perfect for starting - or indeed finishing - the night off on a gentle note, despite stocking enough varieties of vodka and national beer to sink a fleet of battle ships. As always, these establishments such as this which eschews the pretension and does not put on any airs, are almost invariably more relaxing than more highly-strung trendy haunts. Here, one is given time and space to unwind in peace. It has been ploughing its own furrow since 1985, when a certain Katrina conceived the idea to dedicate to the bar to Franz Kafka. The decor is traditional. Oaken tables, oaken bar, old piano in the corner, panelled booths, a spiral staircase- it is all a welcome corrective to the tired formulae of the modernist. Just right for knocking off a few postcards or perhaps a line or two to your novel, a homage to 'The Metamorphosis.". In truth, though, despite huge projections of Kafka's face there's nothing particularly Kafkaesque about it, which is probably a good thing, one feels. In fact, it's all rather jolly. Live music-Jazz and swing and best of all classical, in the main- and poetry nights adds considerably to its charms. The later goes by the colourful name De sprekende ezels' ('The talking Donkeys') offering one a stage for word, music and comedy. It is also worth noting Stoemp, a cultural body which organises concerts in the cafes of Brussels, use it as a venue for their free performances. We were rather hoping to share our tipple with a man who has awaken to find himself an insect.