Oostzeedijk seemed somewhat deserted. We could only see a handful of people hanging out at the bar when we glanced in the windows of nearby cafés in this student district. Apparently today’s not the day for drinking, but it didn’t put us off. It was just early evening when photographer Amber and I entered De Stoep.
Jesse, the new owner of De Stoep, made us a welcome drink. A shot of Jack Daniels and something sour; should be delicious. The café décor is simple: just a few small plants and candles. But they don’t need anything else, as this pub exudes atmosphere. Leather sofas and chairs, stained glass windows and a copper bar give De Stoep the appearance of real bruin café, a traditional Dutch pub.
De Stoep reopened in September 2019 after being closed for some time. It’s Jesse’s first business. His younger brother, Seth, also works there, as well as an additional barman and kitchen staff. They have a family history in the catering trade, with their father even working at De Stoep before starting his own business.
Jesse explained that it was a bit quiet that day: ‘Yesterday the bar was unexpectedly heaving with forty RSC-RVSV and Laurentius students, who all came to eat. It was a bit chaotic, I must say.’ Traditionally, members of the Hermes House Band (the RSC-RVSV student association house band) come here to eat before their rehearsals on Tuesdays.
I took a look around the place while Seth told Amber how to make the perfect cappuccino – ‘The art is in heating the milk, holding the jug tilted and frothing it slowly.’ Walking from the front of the café along the bar to the back via a small set of steps to a raised area with even more tables and on towards the kitchen, I was surprised to find that this café has two sections, divided by the kitchen. On the other side of the kitchen there was a similarly sized area with a bar, tables and chairs. This section wasn’t being used, but I can imagine that if you have forty students, the second bar is a good solution.
Nachos and squid rings
It was quiet when we were there; people were eating at three tables and a few young people were hanging out at the bar. And there was a lot of drinking going on: the half litres went down quickly. The menu is simple: snacks including nachos and deep-fried squid rings are really tasty and go well with the beer. The beer’s not bad either, by the way, and costs just €2.90.
De Stoep seems to be the oldest café bar in Rotterdam and the dishes are also traditional: steak or satay with chips, a burger or a salad. The prices are average for all these tasty goodies and the dish of the day is generally priced for students (around 12 euros).
Cocktail on request
Drinks are easily affordable for students. A kopstootje (beer with a glass of jenever) costs just €4.50. A sound basis for a hangover. They also have a few classic cocktails on the menu (such as Long Island Iced Tea) and the guys are more than happy to make a cocktail for you that’s not on the menu, as long as they’ve got the required drinks to hand.