Meet the regulars
Always among friends without texting. Conviviality without a plan. The life of a pub regular isn’t bad at all. In Eindhoven, you can still find those traditional Dutch pubs. With rugs on the tables and a bartender who knows everyone by name. We visited three of Eindhoven's original pubs and learned: even as a newcomer, you can fit right in.
Café 't Rozenknopje on Hoogstraat is a living room for many Eindhoven citizens. Ger and Irene, not a couple but bar friends since ages, have been coming here for at least thirty years.
We are usually around on Mondays and Saturdays. 'But we might end up here on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays too,' says Ger with smiling eyes. 't Rozenknopje is one of the oldest pubs in town. Cozy and warm, with lots of music and Christmas lights year-round. Owner Niek van de Klundert has been at the helm for a few years. ‘He preserved our traditions’, Irene notes with satisfaction. ‘But he introduced us to drag queens and fun bands from New Orleans too. Niek knows how to entertain us well.'
‘De tweede is van de maandag!’ (the second one is Monday's treat), Niek yells from the bar. On Mondays, your second beer is traditionally free of charge. Another tradition at the beginning of the week is the 'StamTafel'. For a small fee, you can join in for dinner at the long table. Young and old, all share a meal. Ger: 'Anyone can become a regular here.'
Eindhoven's smallest pub is in the middle of the city. The Little One is the type of pub where you walk in alone and leave with new friends.
Paul Barclay also went in on his own one afternoon in 1989. The twenty-something from Manchester had just arrived in Eindhoven. ‘I found work here as an airbrush artist. On the way from the station to my hotel, I saw a cozy pub and decided to go in for a beer.’ At The Little One, he meets Wil Lange (the owner at the time) at the bar. Where the Dutch usually drink their beer in small glasses (fluitjes or flutes), he hands Paul a large pint and welcomes him: ‘Here you go, Englishman’. Half a lifetime later - Paul settles in Eindhoven, marries the love of his life (with many regular guests of The Little One joining the ceremony), has a child, and starts his agency in online marketing - you can still find Paul at The Little One on Friday afternoons. ‘A small pub, but a big one when it comes to atmosphere and friendship’, says the Eindhoven Englishman.
Just Stroeken doesn't need to text anyone to celebrate the weekend. On Friday afternoons, his regular pub automatically fills up with friends and acquaintances. ‘When I see everyone stepping in rubbing their hands, I know we're going to have a good time.’
What 'Hollandse nieuwe' is to herring fans, bock beer is to the Bierelier's regulars. ‘We start talking about it in the Summer’, Just says. In daily life, he runs an art gallery, but when he enters De Bierelier on Friday afternoons, he leaves his professional persona behind. ‘Here, it's not about what you're wearing or who you are. The Bierelier is a kind of Central Perk from Friends. But with great bites on the menu.’ The father of Boy Geenen, the current owner, founded the Eindhoven pub. Such a family pub naturally brings traditions. Like the 'toup tournament'. A card game where each player only gets four cards. Still doable after a few drinks. And, of course, the moment when the bock beer is back in the barrel, a favorite with Just. ‘That's when we're all there to drink the first beer together’, he says.
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