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Art, theatre and culture come together in the typical canal belt area bar Spijker on the Kerkstraat. The Spijker bar is the oldest, the friendliest and most attitude free gay bar in Amsterdam and opened its doors in 1978.

by Wil Groot - 24 February 2020

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The Spijker Bar

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It is a cosy bar where everything melts together and where the atmosphere reminds me of the television series “Cheers,” “Where everybody knows your name,” the opening song.

Not much has changed in the pub over the last forty years, bartender Steven tells me. The first floor has seen the necessary renovations. Its history is colorful. The Spijker is multi-cultural but also very eclectic - a mix of styles - of course with a rough edge - like life itself - with a smile and a tear, and never too commercial.

The bar gets busy around five in the afternoon. The intellectuals of the canal belt area, resident guest by now, keep an eye out, and others come to blow off steam after work. It’s time for happy hour then. Yet it doesn’t matter what your background is. People get to know each other playing pool, as spatial awareness does not require a Master’s Degree. Nevertheless, the Spijker has its own pool rules. If someone loses, they sometimes need to take off an item of clothing as if it were strip pool.

On Thursday night, there is the Pre Blue theme night with Dame Dora Royale in charge. She sings and presses some visitors to her large bosom while entertaining the crowd in an, at times, not very pc way. On Saturday, she hosts the bingo which is so popular that you have to squeeze in. Here too the bartenders act as social workers. One moment the customer is in love, a week later he is engaged because he has not been there for a week, and a few days later he is hanging at the bar because he has been dumped again. In short, in love, engaged, and single again.

Every bartender does his own thing at the Spijker. One night the bartender is serving customers naked, the next another bartender is playing techno music, while others go back to the 1980s. The Spijker is internationally known, which means that tourists stroll in on a daily basis.
To me, the Spijker is my “Cheers” bar. The bar has also seen its share of genderexperiments. They come in as a straight couple and mix with the crowd. For a moment, I look at bartender Steven with my mouth open in surprise. It will certainly never cease to amaze and entertain me.

  Spijker Bar, Kerkstraat 4, Amsterdam,     




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