Hello everyone and welcome to the FINAL post of People & Pints (at least while in Europe)! I’ve had a wonderful semester and have really enjoyed working on this blog project. I will have another post just on reflection but this post will be devoted to my final weekend in Amsterdam. On Friday I returned from my short trip to Italy with Rosa which ended up being a really nice break. I texted a friend back home mentioning how I was surprised to realize how nice it was to be in a family setting again. However, I returned to Amsterdam and decided to try to pack in some fun before I finally leave.
Saturday, Boxing Day, proved to be a little lonely as the weather was pretty chilly and many things were closed. I mostly accomplished some errands, biking around the city. At night, I decided to finally try Bar Brouw, a highly recommended bar and restaurant. Unfortunately, after making the twenty minute bike ride, I found the bar with all the lights out and a sign informing guests they would be closed on the 24th-26th for the holidays. So, disappointed, I made my way back home and just stayed in for the night. However, Sunday proved to be a bit more exciting and fun! I biked out to the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam’s modern art and design museum. Stedelijk had some fascinating, provocative and bizarre art and I was very happy I took the time to visit. On the way home I stopped for some poffertjes, Dutch mini pancakes. Eventually I made the trip again to Bar Brouw and enjoyed a really wonderful evening.
Bar Brouw is a cozy, compact bar in the Oud-West of Amsterdam. I sat down at the bar and was greeted by a very friendly bartender. Although they had a wide selection of craft beer available, the options on tap were limited so I focused on some of the bottles. I noticed a few from Two Chefs Brewing, an Amsterdam brewery I enjoy, and asked about The Howling Wolf. “Oh it’s excellent,” he answered, “I know most people would say that but I highly recommend it.” I chuckled and noted that with their selection I didn’t expect there to be many bad choices. The Howling Wolf is an Imperial Porter, very dark in color and strong in taste but with a slight sweetness that made it a very delicious drink. I also ordered some food: a plate of pulled pork with a side of french fries and baked beans. It was incredible.
After a bit I decided to order a second beer and asked the bartender for his suggestion again. He began to list a few and stopped on a Honey Ale from Septem, a Greek brewery. I had become familiar with Septem on my trip to Athens and was intrigued by the beer so I decided to go for it. “There’s some sweetness in the Howling Wolf so I think that’s a good second choice,” the bartender remarked. It took me some time to make it through all of the food but eventually I made it, my belly quite full. As I paid my bill I chatted with the bartender about life in Amsterdam. I told him I am a student and have been spending my semester in Amsterdam at the UvA. He admitted that he is also taking classes in Amsterdam but in Psychology. I am an English major and he had taken humanities classes so we talked about the courses and the state of the various faculties (departments) of the university. As I put on my coat I asked if Bar Brouw had any coasters, “because I’ve been trying to collect coasters from all of the bars and breweries I go to.” He smiled and nodded, appreciative of my collection, but admitted that they didn’t have any Brouw coasters. “We have Two Chefs, though,” he said, “it’s fitting!” I accepted it happily and wished him a nice evening as I made the trek back to my apartment.
Today, Monday, I visited another museum I had previously missed, Ons’ Lieve Heer op Solder (“Our Lord in the Attic”). Our Lord in the Attic is a museum containing an intact, hidden Catholic church in a canal house, prevalent during the Protestant takeover of Amsterdam. It was very interesting to imagine how Catholics would congregate in this canal house for mass, permissible under the “out of sight, out of mind” policy of Amsterdam. The house was beautiful, with most of the original elements visible (in fact we had to wear slippers over our shoes so as not to damage the old floors), and the church was incredible. Afterwards I made it to Cut Throat, a combination barber shop, bar/restaurant and coffee house. I had heard great things about this spot and they were all accurate.
There was such a cool vibe inside; the barber stalls were separated from the rest of the restaurant and comfortable seating, old books and even a retro arcade game adorned the interior. I had been told the kitchen specialized in fatty, comfort food so after receiving a coffee I decided to also order mac and cheese and french fries–a strange (but delicious) combination, I know. I spent this time to just relax and read a little bit, soaking up the atmosphere and wishing I had found Cut Throat earlier in my stay.
I rounded out my day in the city perusing the shop of De Prael, a craft brewery in the Red Light District. After being offered by one of the employees, I sampled some of De Prael’s liquors. I have enjoyed the beer from De Prael but didn’t know they had experimented with other alcohol. I tasted a sweet liqueur, which was really nice, made with ingredients from trees around the city. I opted not to buy anything but enjoyed the brief little visit and finally returned to my apartment for the evening.
Although most of my friends have returned to the US or their respective homes, I really enjoyed these past couple days of soaking up the remainder of my Amsterdam life. I’ve had to start packing up a little and, although I’m trying to watch my wallet, I’m taking advantage of my last days in Amsterdam.