The cocktail bar Marigold opens its doors on Antwerp’s Vrijdagmarkt: “A timeless cocoon where you don’t know what year it is” (Antwerp)

In the shadow of the Plantin-Moretus Museum, owners David Vanheesbeke and Nicolas Oorts opened the doors to the cocktail bar Marigold on the Vrijdagmarkt at the beginning of September. In a small building, where for a moment you imagine yourself in Quentin Tarantino’s world. The duo have been working together in the cocktail sector for some time. “We have been making drinks for events with Miraeus Cocktails for ten years now. It’s primarily about adapting to what the customer wants,” says David. “It’s great that we can pamper ourselves creatively here. When we came across an empty building on this top square in Antwerp, we immediately seized our opportunity.”

The smaller case was a challenge for the architectural firm Studio Stranger. Yoeran, the man behind the controversial interior, has gone above and beyond with his design. “Some architects thought the space was too small to make anything of it, but thanks to Yoeran’s puzzle, it has become something that people look at with big eyes,” says David. His words are not yet cold when a couple is already looking in the door and asking if they can get something to drink.

The interior is a nod to Hollywood’s golden years. © Patrick De Roo

Old Hollywood

Yoeran was inspired by the golden years of Hollywood. “In addition to the clear reference to old Hollywood, there is also a nod to cities such as London, Paris and Barcelona,” says the architect. “It’s a timeless cocoon where you don’t really know what year it is. The bar exudes a certain calmness, nothing is loud or expressive,” says David. In the future, another terrace will be added to the whole. “Not a large terrace that extends to the square, but an outdoor space that matches the atmosphere of the marigold,” says Yoeran.

With 25-year-old Thomas Van Opstal, the owner duo choose a young company manager. “Thomas was interning at Miraeus Cocktails and we quickly knew we couldn’t let him go,” says David. “He is one in a hundred thousand”, agrees Nicolas.

The owners have given their suppliers quasi carte blanche throughout the process. “We have left the experts to themselves, they know what they want,” says Nicolas. David’s brother Roeland was approached for the branding, logo and menu. “We offer a wide variety of classic cocktails that are beyond a porn star martini or a daiquiri, but still accessible,” says David. “Signature cocktails are specially developed by us for Marigold, we have been fine-tuning them for months,” adds Nicolas.

© Patrick De Roo

Cocktails and sharing dishes

In addition to a wide selection of cocktails, the gentlemen also offer quality wines and beers and snacks. “We want to be an accessible bar for everyone who likes to spend on quality products without being posh. Anyone who wants a good glass of wine at a decent price or who wants to drink a fresh draft beer is definitely welcome here, ” says Nicolas. “We ourselves have missed cocktail bars where you are not looked at when you order a draft beer. And from that lack, Morgenfrue arose.”

“Bars offering snacks are very common in other countries. Here there is often still a high wall between food and drink in cocktail bars, which we would like to break through,” says David. In addition to a glass of Marigold, you can also enjoy a portion of tasty meatballs or a toasted puttanesca. The well-stocked menu makes it easy to spend an evening at the Vrijdagmarkt. “We are not only an aperitif bar, but we can also create an evening program.”

The music selection also contributes to the authentic atmosphere in the bar. “Everything is played on vinyl,” says David. “The bartender makes a cocktail and puts a picture on it behind the bar. It creates a very homely atmosphere. You immediately listen to a full album, which is also something else than a playlist,’ says Yoeran. “The silence that occasionally falls as a result creates a momentum,” says David. “You have to feel like you’re in your own movie.”

Cocktail bar Marigold, Vrijdagmarkt 18, 2000 Antwerp. @marigold.antwerp on Instagram. Open Wednesday-Friday from 16.00 to midnight, Saturday from 2pm to midnight.

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