Café Gruter

In the den of Amsterdam’s social elite, south of the park, Café Gruter is a vestige to honest and grimy drinking. The seating sprawls outside, some of which is sheltered by a conservatory, all of which enables patrons to watch the wealth go by.


The walls are plastered with polaroids; faded and old nestled with glossy and new, suggesting a work in progress.


The bar is high and layered, offering a perfect leaning perch to imbibe and enthuse. The beer list is small but well chosen, often with a few seasonal brews.


Caf Gruter is a sorry loss form the drinkers bible Around Amsterdam in 80 Beers.




De Brabantse Aap


On the Spui, central Amsterdam, you can find a very recently renovated De Beiaard branch, of which there are four scattered around the Netherlands.


The renovation is tasteful and carries a lot of cosy, gezellig, charm, despite how new everything is, apart from these beer bottles of yesteryear:


There are ten or so beer taps and, judging by the acridity and reluctantly increasing ullage of my Brugse Zot, this is perhaps a few too many to maintain quality across the range.


The layout especially favours small groups and, which is rare, caters very well for patrons visiting alone, who can benefit from the installation of a viewing shelf and stools along the window. There is also conservatory space, so the people-watching opportunities are rife.


Venue: 8/10

Recently refurbished tastefully.

Beer: 8/10

Very wide and strong selection, with a laudable focus on local and seasonal brews.


Boekhandel Selexyz Dominicanen in Maastricht


Yep, a book shop in a church.


The internal architecture makes it really quite difficult to photograph this beauty, so just imagine a large church with, instead of pews, three stories of scaffolding which form the upper levels of books.


Selexyz is a stalwart of best book shop lists worldwide, for instance this Guardian article.


Selexyz is a behemoth, and starkly contrasts with the chthonic warrens beloved by many book store aficionados, such as Shakespeare and Company, Paris.


One could argue that the shear size of the place strips back some of the magic of a great book shop, but most things installed in former churches (clubs, climbing walls etc) make for an impressive spectacle and this is no exception. So if you find yourself in Maastricht, which is unlikely on account of it being on the way to just about nowhere, Selexyz is well worth a visit.


De Haven van Texel

Apreciating the limited audience on Texel island (population: 13,617), the Texel Brewery prudently operates a flagship brewpub in Amsterdam.


The Zeedijk area, somewhere between Centraal Station and the Red Light District, is crowded with excellent and historic pubs, so Haven van Texel has carved out a niche with the best Texel Brewery beer on tap anywhere in Amsterdam.


Presently, it looks like Christmas shat all over the interior. Normally, their is a gezellig chthonic ambience, with the bar and restaurant areas tastefully divided by a hanging mezzanine floor. The furnishes are quintessential ‘brown bar’, adding to the relaxing atmosphere.


Geographically, De Haven van Texel sits on the northern edge of the Red Light District and as the name suggests, offers a haven from the more rowdy debauchery around the corner.

IMG_9611We didn’t eat anything here, apart from some standard borrelnootjes, but the gentleman at the bar ordered a fish dish that certainly smelt and looked delicious.

Venue: 5/10

Cosy without being homely.

Beer: 6/10

Good choice from the Texel brewery, lacking in depth though.

Snow Falls on Haarlem


The radar promised ten centimeters of snow overnight, and we awoke to see this still falling with the skies looking like they’ve plenty more to give.


Almost as soon as dawn broke however, the snow started to rot away.

IMG_9560As the Siberian winds continue to blow over western Europe, there’s every chance of more snow kissed vistas.