Three anecdotes of a barman
Many years in de Olofspoort, a lot of memories. I came in one day, via my parents and, since then, I always came back. In the midst of the-90’s I tapped my first beer ‘at the wrong side of the bar’.
by Hans Al
For a few years, I stood behind the bar. And with Riny, Jan, and Bas of course. At that time the bar was open at 4 pm. From that moment on, During a few days per week, I took care of it. In the first hours it was not busy yet - sometimes the first client showed up one hour and a half later – and the time of waiting I spent by polishing my knowledge of the profession (what are the ingredients of this liquor again?), or by polishing copper.
Sometimes a lost tourist came in just after opening, and would get welcomed with courtesy, as the barman felt blessed with the visit. Like the Russian, who got lost in Amsterdam and came inside In de Olofspoort with a broad smile on his face and a gaze that seemed to say ‘when I’m going to sit on that bar stool, you will never get me off it again’. It turned out to be right. I could not understand a word of what the Russian was saying, but to him this was no problem at all. He ordered a large beer, and probably started to tell his whole Russian family history in one and a half hour. Since my knowledge of Russian is as valuable as a plastic spoon, I missed the core of the story. Though during these ninety minutes I learned to laugh in Russian, to nod at the right moment, and to say 'njet'. I also learned that when you are longing for that one Dutch client to show up, he will keep you waiting.
The clock just struck four and not long afterwards, the shutters were open and the glasses waited patiently, something happened any filmmaker would have dreamt of.
The Warmoesstraat is a spot where there is always something to see and to experience, and that day was no exception: a huge truck drove from the Prins Hendrikkade towards the Nieuwebrugsteeg, and stopped pontifically in front of the Olofspoort.
A man, petite as a dwarf but two times broader, steps inside. With an Amsterdam's accent he says that a couple of crazies from across the street tried to take a piano up the stairs from the first floor to the second and that it got stuck on the fifth step. He had to sort it out and asks if he can have his truck parked in front of our door ‘for a moment’, it would ‘not take long’. In case that a driver got impatient – which he didn't expect – he would be there in a minute, and I could send the person over, no problem.
Okay, the man is gone, and there his truck is parked in the alley like the Iron Curtain. After twenty seconds, the first driver lets himself be heard with a nice honking sound. I do not flinch; it will be okay. But ten minutes later, the party starts with an orgy of decibels in all possible tones. Going outside meant the risk of getting killed, so I continued my business.
In the meantime, some guests gathered in front of the house, in first row. Faces flushing inside cars, new additions to the Dutch vocabulary could be heard all around, tourists busily taking pictures, and still no sight of the piano mover.
After one and a half hour he finally appears, sweaty, but a content smile on his face. Mission completed. He nodded politely to the first driver, waiting behind his vehicle (who almost had a stroke), climbed into his cabin, let his honk howl and chugs to his next job.
I bet some of the drivers became a couple of years older that afternoon.
Homage to mother
My most beautiful memory is March 11, 2008. My Mum, a regular in In the Olofspoort, had passed away a few days before. My father and I decided to accomplish the day of the funeral - along with the whole family and friends - in the style my mother would have wished, de Olofspoort.
At mid-afternoon, we arrived with around fifty people. Riny, who had a special friendship with my mother, had opened the Tasting house especially for us. It was an evening of recollections that were sealed with precious moments. The evening forever is carved in my memory and here's one of the reasons why: around 7 a big firemen truck came all the way into the Warmoesstraat and stopped in front of the Olofspoort. A fireman, a friend of mine, made sure that the siren kept blaring in the neighborhood for one minute, as a homage to a special lady, my Mum. One could almost hear goosebumps in the silent cafe. People who were with us that evening, are regularly visiting the Olofspoort to see us. A memorable, impressive evening. Afterwards, a beautiful photo of my mother got a place on top of the piano for some time.
I am so grateful to Riny for this, and I always will.
‘Congratulations with your new employee, Raymond. He is a fine man, friendly in his manner but, above all, a trustworthy person. There is no doubt that he has ‘added value’ to your enterprise. We wish you great luck in business. Best regards, Marijke Licher’.
by Martin Bogaard
For years, I've been a regular guest In de Olofspoort, one of the most beautiful hospitality premises in Amsterdam. I find myself there often with a group, which usually results in a liquor tasting, guided by Riny. The highlight is when Riny looks each one of us in the eye, says something about the person and which liquor suits him or her the best.
Some foreknowledge about a certain person is useful. This was the case with a man who once during a winter sports holiday had reanimated someone on a ski slope in the snow. With this information, Riny emphasized on the particular qualities of this guest, including the capacity of taking action in a matter of life or death.
The guest became utterly silent, listening to her words with open mouth. How could the lady from the Tasting house know these things? He had no clue.
His brother, who sat next to him, was so impressed that he even drank his liquor in one sip and left the place. The poor creature had never encountered something like that, and he still had goosebumps when walking towards Central Station.
We really thought this had gone too far. Consciously, we have confessed the prior knowledge. Luckily, we could still reach his brother at Central Station before he took the metro. Somewhat embarrassed, we returned to the café with him, where he drank another liquor against the fright. The evening lasted until late.
Congratulations with the Jubilee and I hope to continue the tasting of all your delicious beverages for many years to come and have Raymond, Robby and Riny & Paul take care of it in their excellent manner.
(Riny, comment: ‘My foreknowledge was brief; I was startled’).
Always something nice
Jan en Mieke Aalbertsen
I am one of those clients who visits In de Olofspoort from the beginning, since 1990. I have a lot of memories from the past, like with the couple Vrieze from Maastricht with their daughters. Or the poet Okke. In fact, all of In de Olofspoort's guests have something interesting, to my idea. I hope you can go on for many, many years, in good health. Best regards from Kesteren.
Warmth and friendship
When walking along the Warmoesstraat towards Central Station, the facade from In de Olofspoort has always amused me, a feeling of coziness. Not just because of the stunning building but also the warmth and friendship one feels in the persons Bas and Riny.
by Giuseppa Witlox (enterprise circle social sector of Amsterdam)
In the years that I lived in the Warmoesstraat, the beautiful bond between us grew stronger, this meant a lot for the Augustinian Sisters of Santa Monica. On our 65th birthday they (In de Olofspoort) organized, along with a group of friends, a cultural evening in a room of Hotel Krasnapolsky for us, and for everyone we worked for in Amsterdam. They still strive for us today In de Olofspoort. Thank you; we continue to take each other along!