Our pub is a fantastic venue to rejoice, to celebrate, to chat, to discuss, to listen to the music, to spend a good time with friends and to get one pint or two of refreshing beverage. We boast as well about having the best collection of Single Malt whiskies in the area, and we take up a gauntlet if someone claims otherwise!
The name of our pub, The Blackfriars, comes from how the Dominicans are called in Oxford – the black friars; a name derived from a black cappa worn by the friars on their white habits. It was also Oxford that gave an impulse to establish a pub in Louvain-la-Neuve. Although Belgium has its own longstanding tradition of pubs, it is there where a custom of professors and students going together after a lecture to continue discussion over a pint or two, is still very vivid. In order to introduce this custom to our university city we set up our genuine English pub.
But the story behind the pub comes actually from our tradition. It is said that St Dominic met with heretic Albigenses in an inn, which is in the pub, to discuss the doctrine of faith. No one would ask for a better place, would he? A fervent discussion lasted the whole night with strong arguments from both sides. Finally, our holy Father suggested the test by fire: ‘let us throw’, he said, ‘your Gospel and the Church’s Gospel into a big log fire – the one which survives, is the true one!’ And so they did. As you can easily guess, the books of the Albigenses went off with flames whereas the Gospel of St Dominic prevailed. Obviously, we do not burn books any more here but we are always happy to discuss the questions of faith even to the first pale light of dawn.