Amsterdam Pub Guide (Part Five)
Amsterdam East


Amsterdam East
The East is another of the Amsterdam suburbs whose origins lie in the 19th century. Though you would be hard put to spot much evidence of this. The council has been particularly rigorous in demolishing anything more than 5 minutes old.

The replacement flats, constructed piecemeal and in conflicting styles, don't exactly have a pleasing effect on the eye. "Total" and "mess" are two words which come to mind.

As well as being an architectural disaster, Oost (as it's called in Dutch) isn't great for pubs. (The train, tram and bus connections are excellent, no doubt to help people escape from it.)

What Oost does have is Amsterdam's oldest brewery, Het Ij (OK, it is technically just in the centre). It's one place every beer-orientated visitor must go and see. Just watch out for the restricted opening times.
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Amsterdam Pub Guide (Part Five)
Amsterdam East

Het Ij Proeflokaal
Funenkade 7,
1018 AL Amsterdam.

Tel. 020-622 8325
Het Ij brouwerij
Opening hours: Wed - Sun 15:00-20:00
Mon - Tue closed
Number of draught beers: 5
Number of bottled beers: +-5
Regular draught beers:
Food: Snacks.
The wonderfully simple brewery tap of the Ij brewery, in a picturesque windmill on a canalside, is most definitely worth the trip out of the city centre.

The quickest way to get there is a number 22 bus from Centraal Station. It takes about 7 minutes and stops right outside.

The slightly inconvenient location helps prevent it being overrun with tourists and, no doubt, keep the prices down.

It's very basic inside, with an incredible collection of beer bottles plus a couple of old signs from the buildings previous life (as a public baths) forming about the only decoration.

Through a set of double doors you can see through into the brewery itself, but as this is a small brewery with a tasting room attached rather than a pub brewery, the equipment is purely functional rather than having a dual decorative purpose.

In the Summer, there's a small garden area outside. But be warned that the number of seats is quite small, so if you want to soak up some sun with your alcohol, get there very early. At the weekend in can get very full very soon after opening time, with a fairly diverse crowd.

The draught beer range varies slightly with the season - in Easter there's Paasij, in Autumn a Bokbier - but you'll always find four or five on tap. Given the limited availability of their beers on draught elsewhere (they can't supply demand), this is your best bet for finding Ij products. Oh, yes, it's also amazingly cheap, with the strongest beers only costing 2.50 for 30cl.

Note that no alcohol is sold other than their own products, except for wine.

Read more about the brewery and its plans.
Rating: *****
Public transport: Tram 7, 10. Bus 22.

Cafe Eve-naar
Zeeburgerdijk 3,
1093 SJ Amsterdam.

Tel: 020 - 668 5797
Cafe Eve-naar exterior
Opening hours: Sun - Thu 12:00-01:00,
Fri - Sat 12:00-03:00
Number of draught beers: 5
Number of bottled beers: 6
Regular draught beers:
Food: Snacks.
Cafe Eve-naar interior Serendipity isn't just a beautiful word. The concept rocks, too. It's what lead me to one of the most unexepectedly womderful afternoon' s drinking I've experienced in quite some time

I was leading a group of Aussies around some of Amsterdam's more far-flung beery attractions. Sitiing outside het Ij they noticed it was 5 o' clock and Germany vs Argentina was a bout to kick off. "Where can we watch the game?" (The minmalist brewery tap is frree of anything as modern and intrusive as a TV.) As leader I had to take charge. Luckily for me, I could see a pub just over the canal: "How about over there?" I said trying to instill my voice with confidence. With time running out a decision was quickly made. And we headed "over there". "Over there" was Eve-naar.

Though the windmill is listed on this Amsterdam East page it's technically in Amsterdam Centre. Singelgracht, virtually at the brewery tap's front door, forms the border. And what a border. Sroll across those few metres of water and you pass from yuppie to proletarian in an instant.

For a working-class local, Eve-naar has a pretty decent beer selection, so we soon settled down to watch the game. The Ajax memorabilia dotted a round the walls completed the atmosphere perfectly. We weren't going to be moving any time soon.

Cafe Eve-naar interiorNow the Aussies, impressed by the support the locals had given the Socceroos in the World Cup (they had been to several games) were rooting for the Germans. They didn't quite believe me when I told them that this wasn't likely to endear us to our fellow customers. (A Dutchman supporting Germany is rarer than a Scot cheering for England.) Fortunately Argentina scored first, much to the delight of the Dutch section of the bar. "We're going to make it out alive" was my immediate thought. Then the Germans went and equalised and my companions burst into cheers. If looks could kill, admirably sums up the reponse of everyone else. I had hoped to make it to fifty. Or avoid a dip in the canal.

Human beings are a fickle bunch. Full of surprises, both pleasant and unpleasant. This was a day they demonstrated their better side. Rather than glasses or blows, it was questions that came our way. When the Aussies explained the positive impression the Germans had made on them and their hatred of "cheating shits" like Argentia and Italy, the tension was gone in an instant.

The friendly chat and banter wasn't even spoiled by a predictable German victory in the penalty shootout. A great afternoon in a wonderfully warm and open atmosphere. If only every day could be like this.
Rating: **** Public transport: Tram 7, 10. Bus 22.

1e Van Swindenstraat 581,
1093 LC Amsterdam.

Tel. 020 - 668 0680
Fax: 020 - 663 3832

Opening hours: Mon - Thu 11:00-01:00,
Fri - Sat 11:00-02:00,
Sun 11:00-01:00
Number of draught beers: 6
Number of bottled beers: +-15
Regular draught beers:
Food: Snacks, meals.
Ponteneur interior
I first spotted Ponteneur from the railway line, many years before I ever got around to visiting. But don't be under any illusions: it wasn't an outbreak of dilligence. One of my mates lives just around the corner.

I'm not completely sure what function the building used to fulfill, but it certainly wasn't residential. Whatever it was, it makes a very nice pub. The photo to the left should give an impression of the light and airy interior. It's more than decent for the town of tiny pubs. I've got less that half the bar counter in my photo. In the Summer there is seating outside.

What else do they have to offer? Reasonably-priced (well, what passes for reasonable in today's Amsterdam) food, three internet PC's (1 for 30 minutes) and a beer list that reaches somewhat further into the interesting corners of Belgium's great beer cellar.

A look at the prices confirms the East as a less fashionable part of Amsterdam - strong beers are 2.80 and a pint of lager 3.
Rating: **** Public transport:

East of Eden
Linnaeusstraat 11,
1093 EC Amsterdam.

Tel. 020 - 665 0743
East of Eden
Opening hours: Sun - Thu 11:00-01:00,
Fri - Sat 11:00-02:00,
Number of draught beers: 6
Number of bottled beers: +-10
Regular draught beers:
Food: Snacks.
East of Eden interior You're no doubt beginning to twig that, whilst on trams, I pass the time thinking "That looks a nice pub, I must drop by sometime". As we all know sometime is the lazy man's never. And I've always been bone idle.

Sometime finally did come around and I wasn't disappointed. Let's see if you can guess which 1950's film star is plastered all over the walls? That's right, Marlon Brando. No, it's Rock Hudson. Or is it Montgomery Clift? Just as well the ceilings are high to make those murals more than life-size. He was a bit of a short arse, after all.

East of Eden, is sort-of young and trendy, but in a slightly down-at-heel way that I find totally disarming. (You know, I really should invest in a Thesaurus one day.) I realise that some of you are more cultured than wot I am, so it's worth observing that this bar is about exactly opposite the Tropen Museum (the name was changed from Colonial Museum around the dawn of political correctness). I've only ever been in it once, myself. The museum, I mean. Not the pub. Me and the pub are best mates, we are.
Rating: *** Public transport: Tram 7, 10.

De Groene Olifant
Sarphatistraat 510,
1018 AV Amsterdam.

Tel. 020 - 620 4904
Fax: 020 - 320 7227

De Groene Olifant
Opening hours: Sun - Thu 11:00-01:00,
Fri - Sat 11:00-02:00
Number of draught beers: 4
Number of bottled beers: +-10
Regular draught beers:
Food: Snacks 4.50 - 8.00, meals 10-16.50.
De Groene Olifant interior
Here's a place that I never did spot from a tram. Just when I was feeling pleased with myself for having found it (OK, Mikey led me there, but it felt like a voyage of discovery), I noticed that everyone and their aunty suggests it as a destination when you get kicked out of Het Ij. Personally, I'm impressed with anyone who's up for more beer after a visit to the windmill. I think I'm doing well if I can find the bus stop.

So for the two people out there who don't already know, Groene Olifant (Green Elephant) is tucked away in a backwater between Singelgracht and Artis. We're in familiar brown café territory, which by now needs no further definition from me. The highlight is a graceful carved wood and leaded glass bar back (see photo).

No great choice of beers, but it does make a change to have Leeuw rather than Dommelsch, Heinken or Amstel. Not that I think the Leeuw beers are any better, they just add variety.
Rating: *** Public transport: Tram 7, 10.

Cruquiusweg 3,
1019 AT Amsterdam.

Tel: 693 3299
Opening hours:
Number of draught beers: 9
Number of bottled beers: 40
Regular draught beers:
Food: Snacks, meals.

I don't just look wistfully at pubs from trams. I also keep my eyes open while on the train. Which is how I spotted Boulevard.

Why else would I have been passing through this part of Amsterdam? What were the eastern docks are rapidly being transformed into our own Yuppieville. Better all the masterpieces of contemporary architecture be out here, in a part of town I don't need to visit, than have them mess up views in the real city.

Where was? Ranting against puerile architecture again. Some things never change, do they? Boulevard is a lonley old building adrift in a sea of mediocrity. It's a rare reminder of the harbour, having been used by dock workers.

The dockers are long gone and the building has been converted into a stylish bar café sort of affair. Opening it up right to the roof - combined with the tall windows - make for a very light and airy interior. It's what all the young 'uns want nowadays.

The bar counter is a simple affair from pale wood. Rather neatly, the chrome and glass bar back merges into the handrail of the mezzanine seating area. Nice touch, that. There are numerous items of beer memorabilia, but not so many as to spoil the clean lines of the décor.

I seem to remember having some theme to these pages. What was it? Beer, that's it. Why else would I have traipsed all the way out to this wasteland? They make a considerable effort on the beer front. It's not just about the numbers. The quality and variety of the beers counts, too. On my visit the guest taps had Paasij and Jopen Lentebier - not bad at all. The bottled beers have a few interesting ones amongst them. - Volen Zeebonk and Lion Stout are two examples.

Really, Boulevard has only one thing spoiling it: the dreary flats which surround it.
Rating: **** Public transport: Tram 7, 10.

La Vallade
Ringdijk 23,
1097 Amsterdam.

Tel: 020 - 665 2025
Opening hours: Sun - Thur 12:00 - 01:00,
Fri-Sat 12:00 - 02:00
Number of draught beers: 3
Number of bottled beers: 5
Regular draught beers:
Food: Snacks, meals. Five-course meal €27.50.
You would expect a description of a canal-side pub to include phrases like "view of the water". Due to the peculiar topography of this part of Amsterdam (the Watergraafsmeer side of the Ringvaart is a couple of metres below the waterlevel) all you can see is the bottom of the bank.

Most of the interior of this long thin pub/restaurant is painted dark blue or turquoise. Not exactly light and airy, but it grows on you, especially after the second Chouffe. An coal range begs for self-cooking, but is, unfortunately, for heating purposes only.

A poster with the catchy title "8/ Repas en Famille, a wonderfully reactionary portrayal of family life, is my second favourite bit of decoration. No, my third. Right, I've sorted it out now. Here's my top three:
  • rustic green painted ceiling
  • low-hanging chandeliers
  • sexist poster
Damn, I forgot the hippy "city garden" outside. Though it didn't look very tempting in the middle of winter.

The food smelled rather good, but I daren't eat out lest my anatomy gets re-arranged when I get home. You'll have to dip your own hands into your pockets if you want more details.
Rating: **** Public transport: Tram 9.

The Amsterdam Pub Guide Continues:
Amsterdam Pub Guide Part One Dam Square - Leidseplein
Amsterdam Pub Guide Part Two Zeedijk/Nieuwmarkt
Amsterdam Pub Guide Part Three De Jordaan
Amsterdam Pub Guide Part Four De Pijp
Amsterdam Pub Guide Part Five Amsterdam East
Amsterdam Pub Guide Part Six Amsterdam South
Amsterdam Pub Guide Part Seven Amsterdam West
Amsterdam Pub Guide Part Eight Utrechtsestraat

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