Once again, your reviewer – who is a bit tired of what the Witte de Withstraat has to offer – set out for the city’s most popular nightlife hotspot. And he wasn’t disappointed: Café de Schouw turns out to be a vital flicker of hope in a part of Rotterdam that has the highest hipster-density.
For once no gin and tonics, trendy wines or top-knot hair buns. De Schouw will feel like home for everyone looking for a normal pub in this day and age. A bit of research revealed that this pub is an institution. The bartender’s surprise says it all: ‘you’ve never been in de Schouw before?’
Where back in the day journalists once gathered, nowadays more artistic types are the ones who come to this pub. Their round glasses, pointy goatees, and the fact that now and then expositions are held here confirm this observation.
The average age in de Schouw – that by the way only has an artificial fireplace – is around thirty. Just when your reviewer was at an all-time creative low, in comes Tineke, the pub owner. Is she an artistic type? “I only write, sing and perform,” she says. Things are warming up.
Food from the snackbar
The ambiance is perfect. A strong smell of chips materialises at around eleven o’clock and a group of artistic types are sitting in the middle of the pub munching away on a large bag of chips. Interesting point: the food comes from a nearby snack bar. None of this bothers Tineke. She’s too busy drawing beers and tallying her customers’ receipts in a large, damp ledger.
The simplicity of de Schouw is like a breath of fresh air in the sterile street where it’s situated. While the neighbours have raised gin and tonics to an art form, beer sloshes on the floor of de Schouw just like in the old days. Don’t expect a ‘floral palate’ here. What you will get is a cigarette vending machine that appears to be intertwined with a pub regular.
Een barman vol wijsheden
And – of course – a bartender with wisdom to impart. He gives us advice on our love life (‘go to a film, it’s cheaper than going out to dinner’), tells us about the beer cellar (‘where I put my wife after midnight’), and he doesn’t avoid some of life’s great questions (‘which do you like better: Erik or Eric?’).
And that’s trendy enough for your reviewer.