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.
Effortless, slightly grotty, unkempt, haphazard brown-bar is not an effortless style to pull off; Café Gruter offers a masterclass. The bar also spills out onto a top people-watching terrace in a rather swanky Amsterdam suburb metres from the best park in town, so the location scores a lot of points too.
Beer lists in the Netherlands rarely take the more = better approach so common across the pond, but whilst small, it is well chosen and Westmalle Tripel is testament to that.
Gruter is a quintessential brown bar. Amsterdam already has FOUR venues on the list, but amazingly none capture the brown bar culture that has thrived in the Netherlands for centuries.