While The Lucifernum in Bruges, Belgium is the private home of Barnum-esque provocateur Don “Willy” Retsin, the local celebrity often opens the doors of his repurposed Masonic Lodge to wild parties among the strange portraits and curious artifacts he has accumulated. Thanks to him and his Peruvian wife, who you are surely to meet once inside, a truly interesting combination of live performance and libation awaits.
As Retsin, a self-described “vampire,” describes it, his house originally housed a chapter of the Freemasons during the time of Napoleon. However during his residence in the space, he has refurbished the rich interior to resemble a living cabinet of curiosities. The walls are covered in huge portraits of vaguely sinister figures like something out of a particularly ominous nightmare, and the surfaces are covered in countless statues and figures that seem to have been collected from a wide range of eras and areas (and possibly horror dimensions). Retsin himself consideres the space to act as a sort of museum.
There is also a distinctly Cuban flavor to much of the space and the events inside with rich rum cocktails served from the old bar and Latin music playing. This owes to Retsin’s professed past of textile trading in Central America. Regardless of the origins, the sense of Havana nights decadence pervades the home although it has been filtered through the morbid sensibility of a living oddity/most interesting man in the world.
Today The Lucifernum is open to the public on Sundays from 8 p.m to 11p.m. when daring party animals can ring the bell and be welcomed into the vampire’s lair.