Bar In Belgium Takes Customers’ Shoes As Collateral So They Don’t Steal Glasses

Photo: Attila Csomor / EyeEm (Getty)

Every bar that I went to when I was in college always had a mixed odor of bleach, vomit and urine. And that’s basically because that’s exactly what it was. So I can’t imagine walking around any bar while wearing no shoes, but that’s what one bar is making customers do.

The bar, called the Dulle Griet, and offers 500 different types of beer, makes customers hand over their shoes in order to ensure that none of their glasses are stolen.

“Anyone who drinks our house beer must hand over his shoe,” Alex Devriendt said. “We then put them in a basket that we pull up against the ceiling. The basket has now become an attraction, but for us it remains a guarantee. [The glasses] are quite expensive because we have them made especially.”

“We have to supplement our inventory every day,” Devriendt added. “Tourists simply want a souvenir. Some even try to throw those old-fashioned billboards off my wall. Certainly in the winter a lot disappears, they have thick coats on. In the summer they can hide the loot less well.”

And it’s a major issue, according to Philip Maes, who is in charge of the Bruges Beerwall cafe:

“We have lost at least 4,000 [glasses] every year. Especially the tourists liked to walk with them. For some reason, some customers think that when they pay for something to drink, they get the glass as a present.”

Wait, we don’t?

According to The Guardian, “It is claimed that a favorite for the tourists in Bruges are the glasses bearing the insignia of the Brugse Zot, the city’s only central brewery.”

I’ve never been to Belgium, but I guess we should expect to see a lot of barefoot drunks — which is usually what I see on the subway anyway.