Velodome, a Stylish LBS in Antwerp, Finally
Thursday night was the opening party at the newest bike shop / brasserie Velodome in the Berchem neighbourhood of Antwerp. It is in an old red brick structure of what was a disused pub and stable across the road from the De Koninck brewery. Very cool space with soaring ceiling, exposed bricks, wood and iron, as well as bicycle frames.
The new shop is very refreshing because it is in stark contrast to the nauseatingly naff, stale interior that is popular amongst shops and restaurants here in Belgium: they tend to appear bargain-basement-Peter-Marino. Velodome is an antidote to this common ailment of mixing naffness and staleness. And, it’s a bike shop. Imagine that.
This is the second shop that brothers Stijn and Maarten Heyvaerts along with Philippe Van Eekhout launched just over one year after they opened the stylish cycling apparel and accessories shop Bicyclette in Duffel where they also serve really good coffee unlike that bit of sewage that they call coffee at Starbucks. In Duffel, the apparel assortment includes Rapha, Santini and Craft. In Antwerp, they also carry Rapha apparel and accessories and added Castelli to the assortment. As at Bicyclette, the Velodome space is peppered with vintage rigs such as an orange, steel Merckx and a chrome Chopper.
This time, the retail concept has been expanded to encompass plenty of complete bikes such as Condor, Focus, Ridley and lots of BMC, including a Lamborghini x BMC. I generally do not understand the aesthetics of carbon frame sets (except for my friend Kevin’s incredibly chic ivory Lemond with classic, dark red accents), but I must admit that I think this one is a looker.
The brasserie is in the area where the pub used to be, with an outdoor area as well as an area with glass ceiling, in addition to the old rooms with wooden panels and flooring where the old bar still stands.
I forgot to mention that there is a changing room and showers in the cellar so you can get cleaned up after a ride. Wash, meet, greet, eat, drink and drop a few gold coins in the shop for a new rig, components, kit, accessories, books, magazines and nutrition.
And, what’s a bike shop without a service workshop, right? So, they’ve got one. (Apologies for the poor quality photo!) Maarten told me that they hired ‘the best mechanics in Antwerp’, which, of course, is a pretty tall statement in any city, but I trust that these mechanics are indeed very good.
I hope that Velodome is a success. It’s certainly the coolest bike shop in the Antwerp area and beyond. A stylish LBS. How cool is that?
Update: the brasserie is the revived De Pelgrim.