Like a fairy tale town, it’s a wonder Luxembourg is not more renowned and bustling with tourists.
The misty, damp weather suited the city.
It doesn’t get much more ‘Brown café’ than Café ‘t Monumentje.
This chthonic little brown café in the labyrinthic Jordaan is a mess of stained-old crap that becomes charming when brought together in this way.
Covering nicotine-stained walls with miscellany is certainly not unique to “‘t Monumentje”, but here the practice feels somehow more genuinely careless and of wanton cobbling together, rather than designed for an effect of age and style.
There is also a small, very dusty cage fixed to the wall and imprisoning four old Heineken tins. Naturally.
More than 300 candles light your evening in the former gatehouse on Nieuwmarket.
If you want to go somewhere that looks and tastes more expensive than it is, In De Wag is ideal.
The Dutch chicken (whatever that is) was complemented by a lekker plum chutney and the crispiest of pancetta. The burger was only OK, whilst the tagliatelle was a very fine standard: the walnuts offsetting the spinach and smoked ricotta perfectly.
The staff tried to fob me off with a sour tasting Jopen Bok Beer, assuming I was a tourist and a simple “That’s how it should taste” would suffice. But I’m not and it shouldn’t. Gratefully, they Ciney is kept rather well and was also scratched off the bill.
In De Wag is a fine example of how good Amsterdam can be so close to the typical gash tourists gravitate towards. The Red Light District backs onto Nieuwmarkt, yet seldom frequented compared to the much, much worse Damrak.
The building is quite obviously stunning and very unique. However, this is set out to be a restaurant, and one could not pop in for a classy brew or while away the hours.
A few good beers, but nothing special.
Continuing the pilgrimage thorough “Around Amsterdam in 80 Beers” brought us to the charming ‘t Loosje resplendent with tiled murals.
A well-stocked split-level bar, ‘t Loosje is but one of a clutch if great bars on Nieuwmarkt and offers unobstructed views of the old gate house and plenty of people to watch.
Despite backing onto the Red Light District and Chinatown, minutes from Centraal Station, the Nieuwmarkt area is proudly ‘real Amsterdam’, and gives no clues that prostitutes and, worse, souvenir shops, operate meters away down the side alleys.
Obvious charm and well maintained. The decent outdoor summer seating a Nieuwmarkt view take this up a level.
Solid all-round selection