Candidate #18- Café Belgique, Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Café Belgique hides in plain sight- amidst chain retail outlets, it’s easy to not notice this gem of a beer warren.

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One of the smallest bars in Amsterdam, you’ll find yourself wondering, “How can this be one of the smallest?!”. Unbelievably, they host live music. I’m not sure how, or why- as appealing as music is to some, it won’t make this one-room cubby-hole any bigger, so it’s not like they can pay the DJ off the back of increased customer revenue- it’s always full. And heed that advice- turn up very shortly after opening (3pm) and you might get a seat.

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In truth, it thinks it’s way cooler than it is. And by ‘it’, I partly mean the clientele. If this were London, we’d call them scenesters. The website states “It’s frequently visited by a varied public of locals, expats, musicians, artists and dj’s”. See what I mean? Who cares if artists go there? Do I feel better about my Orval because the guy with an unkempt beard sat too-closely next to me sticks wires through books encased in styrofoam and calls it “A Critque on the Abandonment of Western Values”, and his dreadlocked girlfriend photographs litter blowing in the wind for her forthcoming exhibition in a disused plastic bag making factory? No, I do not.

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For the size, the beer choice is broad- 50 bottles and 8 taps, but even this may be too many as evidenced by the foul taste of the Floreffe Blonde.

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Venue: 9/10

The only real criticism is the size, but that’s also part of the atmosphere. And when you do finally get that corner seat by the window, boy does it feel cool.

Beer: 6/10

Decent range, but unfortunately not all the taps are very well maintained (I’m looking at you Floreffe Blonde).

Worthy? Maybe

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8 thoughts on “Candidate #18- Café Belgique, Amsterdam, the Netherlands

  1. I really liked this bar! Fortunately when I visited it was quiet enough and sunny enough to sit outside with my beer. I’d definitely come back again if I got the chance to go back to Amsterdam 🙂

  2. Alright, you win – I’m in line to tipple. Following now…

    I’ll be in Glasgow and Frankfurt (and likely in the surrounding regions) – any suggestions for bars there off the top of your head?

    Also, thanks for liking my blog, https://sidedishesblog.wordpress.com/ – I’ve been posting pictures of all the beers I’ve tried over the past few years on Facebook, but now I’m looking into ways to incorporate my reviews into Side/Dishes. 986 beers tried so far, missing all but Belarus, Moldova, Hungary, and Kosovo from Europe…It’s quite a thing.

    Follow me and find out where this leads.

    -Jim

    • Hi Jim, thanks for the follow.

      Hmm, I’ve been to Frankfurt a couple of times but didn’t find anything worth posting I’m afraid :-/ (there’s a great African restaurant though).

      But if ‘in the surrounding regions’ includes Bamberg then definitely head to Schlenkerla Heller-Brau Trum for their beautiful/disgusting smoked sausage beer! I thought Zum Uerige, Dusseldorf, was great too.

      Glasgow- no idea yet, maybe you could tell me once you’ve been!

      • Great African food, hm? Do you remember the name/type of cuisine? Sounds perfect! My partner and I both love African, and our son is particularly fond of Ethiopian food. And Schlenkerla is amazing…Haven’t been to the brew house in Bamberg, but it’s one of my favorite beers ever, so that might have to be a side trip! Thanks for the advice!!!

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