Wellington’s Belgian Beer Cafe Turns 20

Wellington’s Leuven Belgium Beer Cafe, with its original decor still intact, is turning 20 this week. To celebrate, the pub is stepping back in time with prices from its opening days.

Owned by Russel and Elwyn Scott, Leuven opened in 2000, and manager Todd Hunter has worked there for 16 years. Over twenty years the cafe has sold more than 400,000 kg of mussels, a staple dish that will drop to its year-2000 price.

The decor, all imported from Belgium, along with the tradesmen who painted the place, has stayed the same for two decades. Furniture, tiles, even lampshades were imported at its opening, and have stayed intact since.

“Nothing has changed apart from the staff and the prices,” noted Hunter.

The beer cafe has served more than 500,000kg of frites, countless litres of mayonnaise, more than a million litres of Belgian beer, and had hundreds of beer glasses stolen over the years.

This year had been the hardest year in the pub’s history, with their customer base entirely dropping away over lockdown, and slow to return to normal even now. Hunter hoped the 20th celebrations would encourage people back through their doors.

There will be a ‘karma keg’ on sale, raising money for the Karen Louisa Foundation, a charitable trust which honours the life and aspirations of Hunter’s wife, Russel and Elwyn’s daughter, Karen Louisa Hunter, who died of breast cancer in 2015.