All right, I’ll admit it: after getting drenched in a downpour, I’m not in the best of moods when I enter Boudewijn, the Belgian beer café on the Nieuwe Binnenweg. The place is pretty packed on this Friday evening, but to our relief, there is a table available for our company of four. Unfortunately, though, it happens to be right next to a table full of Spanish students who are loudly discussing their Tinder prospects.
Boudewijn’s pitch is: ‘We’re bringing a small part of Belgium to Rotterdam.’ The pub does so by offering eight kinds of draught beer and over one hundred kinds of bottled beer. What with brown wooden slats on the wall, lots of little ornaments all over the place and large texts painted on the walls, the place has a nice atmosphere. The lights have been dimmed, which is a distinct advantage for customers on the pull.
The amount of choice on the menu is superb. Great for connoisseurs, but those of us who are not so familiar with non-lager beer could do with a little help from the wait staff. However, the waiters are busy, keep us waiting for a long time and get a tad cranky when we pull up a fifth chair.
We are told to move to the basement of the pub, where we find a long wooden bench. We are now so remote that we have no phone reception whatsoever. If we want to get in touch with the outside world, we must do so through ‘FriFi’, the café’s free WiFi.
We decide to satisfy our hunger with ‘Rotterdam’s best bitterballen of the year 2012’. ‘Who voted them best?’ we ask our waiter. ‘The government,’ he says, in an attempt to be witty. ‘Oh, you know, some sort of official authority.’
It has to be said: the bitterballen – which, interestingly enough, are served in a chips bag – are delicious. Our quick-witted waiter, who is having difficulty remembering our not terribly complicated order, now returns to inform us that the test was carried out by Algemeen Dagblad. So what about the government, then? We’re confused.
By now a few dancers are beginning to shake their hips. Despite the fact that space is limited, they’re doing well. Most of tonight’s clientele are in their thirties. There aren’t many students around, despite the fact that the – rather expensive – beer tastes just fine.
Maybe it’s time to move over again, not to another table, but to another pub.
Studenty character: 6
Pick-up potential: 6
Price of a (special) beer: +/- €5,-