Back in the day when I was still living in Amsterdam as a student, I used to work in O’ Donnell’s Irish bar for very mean Irish owner Seamus, so mean in fact that he rented the apartment across the road from the bar so he could watch through binoculars if we were drinking in the bar after work. Hell, we were but that certainly put a stop to that!
In any case its where I met a lot of Irish. Aye! Shane's, Sean's, Connor's & Cailin's all trooped over from Belfast & Dublin for the summer to work for grumpy old Seamus pulling beers, clearing tables and post-shift-drinking like, well.. the Irish.. And however much I thought I knew all the good stuff going on in the city I didn't. ‘Cos these guys did..
The little gigs that were on, the wee hidden clubs behind unmarked doors and the bars that stayed open way past their legal closing time, hidden behind heavy velvet curtains with the lights turned down low..
It’s how I found out about Sunday open poetry nights in a dark and slightly dingy red light district bar. Ah, they were hilarious!! When you’re somewhere new you’re curious and openminded and put the effort in to finding that bar in wintery freezy Amsterdam where they specialize in Pacific tiki drinks or that local band that is actually amazing but as a local wouldn’t give the time of day ‘cos well, because they’re local...
So next time when those tourists annoy you by throwing themselves in front of your bike, walking into you because they’re holding a map (upside down), making a stupid selfie or are saying something in a silly accent which is making you snigger, think again guys as while you and your mates are drinking beers in that bar that you’ve all been going to for eons these guys are knocking back Venezuelan Mojito’s in a secret basement bar where tunes and table top dancing go on until almost breakfast time, even on a Monday..