Brasserie or Brassiere... Too confusing?
Updated: May 24, 2018
If you have ever been to France, you must have seen this word, “Brasserie”, all over the large, busy downtowns and all the way to the most remote villages. And, if you are like one of my restaurant guests or one of my language course students, you may be puzzled by it. They often would ask me to please explain why we people in France advertise “Brasserie” (and most of them would actually mispronounce it and say “Brassiere”) in all these places that truly look like cafés more than anything else?
The word “Brassiere” does exist in the French language, and it means a new-born size, usually knit bodysuit or jumpsuit for a baby boy or a baby girl.
As for the word “Brasserie”, it comes from the verb “brasser” which means to brew.
In the same way as a brewery is a place where they serve beer and/or a place where they brew beer, a “brasserie” in France is a place where you find… beer! So, from now on, think of a “brasserie” as a “brewery” where you can find beer and food, because that’s what it is!
As long as the ancient and newer civilizations have harvested grain, beer has been consumed for thousands of years. It was actually called the liquid bread in Mesopotamia. And as long as we have had places in France where they serve beer, those places have been called “brasseries”, not to be confused with “brassieres”…