Wednesday, 18 April 2012

La Capsule Lille

Six silver stainless steel tubes stand on the bar at La Capsule in Lille and reflect the world — 18 inches high, miniature silos, places of storage from which beers such as 5AM Saint, Duchesse de Bourgogne and Mikkeller Snowball emerge. The tubes reflect a distorted world, a world that exists as long as these tubes keep being polished, a looking glass world filtered through a post-industrial gauze. Alice fell down a hole and took up a job selling credit-enhanced dreams long ago, so these six tubes at La Capsule will do.

And what do they reflect?

Two men, out on a Monday night, laughter brought along like an extra friend, guttural northern French, glasses of St Bernardus’ fragrant, orange blossom witbeer to hand, a bright bosomy beer that emerges from the glass and demands a chicken samosa; meanwhile a quartet of students, two guys, two girls, sitting at a high table near the door, one of them darting in and out with her mobile, quench their thirst on what I know from overhearing their orders is Roman’s Epsom salts fury of a Pilsner. I and son sit in a corner, I with a Abbey Des Roc Brune, he with a cola, talking over the day’s battlefields.

There’s a definite Belgian beer bar feel about La Capsule: dark wood along with the shining stars of stainless steel mix and merge; the lighting is dim but the music is refreshing different, being what seems to me a nostalgic soundtrack of Antwerpian hardcore metal disco from the 1990s.

And it strikes me, as I have another glass of Vivant’s luscious, sensuous triple, that the sort of beer or bar I like is reminiscent of a tilted smile from a beautifully imperfect woman; a feeling that has its ups and downs and peaks and troughs and rough edges and smoothed out corners, all of which make life more interesting than if you are married to Barbie who makes the perfect dinner every time but really leaves you feeling: is that it? It is a beer or a bar that is worth taking a journey with to see what happens as time passes.

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