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Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

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brasserie a word which dates back to early medieval times, originally referred to premises where beer was made, but acquired by extension in the mid-19th century the meaning of a place where beer was served, and then, more recently, of a ‘cafe-restaurant’ where beer would certainly be available but in which the serving of meals might be the dominant activity. A brasserie alsacienne is a common feature of French cities, Alsace being the home of famous beers.

A brasserie can be and often is quite modest, although large and relatively pretentious examples can be found. Drawing a line between a brasserie and a bistro is no easy matter.