I spot Bart, chatting with Roel behind the lagertanks. I point at my imaginary watch, and at a five meter distance, pretending the noise of the bottling will drown my voice, capture their attention. Bart signals a “Yeahyeah, I’m coming” with raised eyebrows and a short nod of the head.
It’s three o’clock and there’s plenty of work waiting to be done but the sun is full out for the first time this spring and I’m thirsty. Seems Bart’s thirsty too, for he accepts, though reluctantly, my “C’mon, let’s go”.
We decide on the Utrechtsestraat. Plenty of bars and not too far, by bike, from the brewery. A whatsapp group created for this purpose ensures friends join our drinking session.
We’re the only ones on the corner outside, standing in between piles of rattan chairs. “ Shall I get you some chairs?”, the bartender asks when I enter for the next round. Chairs? Sitting down on rattan chairs when at a terrace is for mothers and students. Or for having a coffee while reading the newspaper. We are properly drinking here! It’s better to stand. What’ s more, we’re three now already and you never know whether others might still join in. Standing’s better. If we could stay within the demarcated lines of this licensed terrace? Self-evidently. Municipal surveillance is out, eager to show it’s teeth in spring and we wouldn’t want to be responsible for this cafe owners first warning of the season.
The beer goes down very easily and we happily observe the hustle and bustle of the Utrechtsestraat. Few bicycles, few cars. A cab, now and then, a tram. Pleasantly quiet.
There’s quite a pace to the drinking and jokes are getting better and more frequent. Life in the streets seems to unfold itself in slow-motion and here we are, with a beer, in the sun.
Have you got hobbies? A general question from a general past. Hobbies? Yes, this. This! Standing here with a couple of mates, tab at the bar, no snacks, in the sun, in spring, in a cosy street in Amsterdam. Imagine we would have let this opportunity slip! Cold sweat just at the thought of it. “Spring in Amsterdam”, I tell myself to write a poem about this and quickly get another round.
By Patrick, co-owner of Brouwerij ‘t IJ