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As soon as I walked into this little bar, which I discovered purely by chance during my wanders, I knew this was a John pub. Not only was it a John pub but is now firmly entrenched as one of my top 3 bars anywhere, joining such illustrious company as the Ruggle at Widecombe and the Cardinal's Hat (when it was in its heyday) in Worcester.
Take One is a narrow, elongated, one-room place with maybe a dozen well-worn barstools and about half that number of tables. What it lacks in size it more than makes up for in presence. This is a beer lovers Mecca with 152 bottles and 6 drafts, almost all from smaller Belgian and Dutch brewers, and the owners Peet and Merrie are intimately familiar with each and every one - the beers AND the brewers. In fact on their days off (Tuesday and Wednesday when the bar is shut) they scoot around Belgium and the Netherlands in their Take One van collecting supplies from far-flung breweries for whom it would be uneconomic to deliver.
The beers are all served in their individual glasses and at their optimum temperatures and instead of "tasting notes" you get individual guidance as to what to expect from the beers. Both Peet and Merrie are more than happy to suggest a succession of beers according to your own taste, or even mood, although Peet calls me a "Beetch" because I usually finished my night with a sweet nightcap such as the Rochfort 10 instead of continuing with the flavour profiles I'd been following.
Not only is the beer superb but this is also a very friendly locals bar and on each of my three evenings found myself in diverse bar conversation and got useful pointers about Maastricht history and directions for my Vaalserberg trip.
The freebie peanuts are bonus - just throw the shells on the floor - and it even has ashtrays.
"The pub doesn't open and doesn't shut", according to Peet, but the official hours are 4 pm to 2 am Thursday through to Monday.
Updated Dec 16, 2012
Address: Rechtstraat 28
With its 13 taps and 41 bottled beers its no wonder that De Poshoorn (The Posthorn) is one of only 41 members of the Dutch beer appreciation society ABT (there are two others in Maastricht including Take One).
This is a stylish bar, part of its eponymous hotel, but with a very laid-back and casual atmosphere. In summer the terrace facing the performance space in the central divide of Stationstraat is a perfect sun-trap whilst enjoying events such as the local brass band concerts In winter the intimate bar area, with its dark-wooded furniture and beamed ceiling, illuminated by the backlit stained-glass city fresco is positively cosy.
Service is very Maastricht; friendly and professional, and as well the beer selection it also serves reasonably-priced and excellent beer nibbles (as well as a more extensive menu).
In addition to being a member of the ABT it also regularly appears in the top half of the 100 best cafes in the Netherlands which, when you consider the number of cafes there are, is a well-deserved achievement.
Updated Dec 15, 2012
Address: Stationstraat 47
On its homepage Sway introduces itself as "an openminded cafe in a historic building on the market square". For "openminded" read "gay" but it's not exclusively so. For a late drink the bar is open from 5 pm until 2 am Sundays and weekdays and until 3 am on Friday and Saturday - closed on Mondays.
This is a lively, friendly little bar with music and dancing, beers are cheapish and if you are relaxed about this style of venue makes for an interesting night out.
My last visit was on December 5th, Sinterklaas Eve, and barmen were dressed as Sinterklaas's helpers, the "Black Peters" which added a touch of seasonal festivity and by all accounts it is especially colourful during the Carnival in February.
Dress Code: No dress code as such but a touch of flamboyance doesn't render you out-of-place ;-)
Updated Dec 13, 2012
Address: Markt 39
in the summer its hard to find free seats to have a beer at the Vrijthof, great atmosphere on this square, day or night.\On the picture not the Vrijthof but another impression during the last Maastricht meeting 2005
Dress Code: casual
Updated Apr 4, 2011
Address: Vrijthof 15
There is a club in the centre called Nightlive. Students and kids go there to party to good music. There are always loads of famous deejays at work like Dj Tiesto. But the best part of the club is that the building used to be a church.
Nightlife is only opened in the weekends. On fridays from 11 to 5, and on saturdays from 11 to 6.
You have to be at least 16 to enter.
Dress Code: There is no dresscode here.
Updated Apr 4, 2011
Address: Kesselskade 43
Phone: 31 (0)43 3628278
Maastricht is loaded with very nice cafe's and bars.The Market Square area is a popular place to have a beer. I prefer less touristy places for my beer drinking. The Shamrock Cafe on Brusselesstraat is my favorite hangout for a beer in the early afternoon. Brusselesstraat is full of small bars and each has a real unique and friendly atmosphere.
Dress Code: I am pretty sure that at least trousers are required.....no just kidding. Most places in Maastricht have no dress code
Updated Nov 26, 2010
Address: 49 Brusselesstraat
One of my favorite bars in Maastricht, easy relaxed, nice setting, friendly people and good music (from time to time live music).
You can get a good cup of coffee here or a small snack, but it's mainly the Bavaria beer that is sold here.
Do not forget to order the local "rendsje".
You can have a good Guinness here too.
And if you are in Maastricht with carnaval, do not forget to miss it!
Dress Code: not applicable here
Written Sep 20, 2009
Address: Achter het Vleeshuis 17, 6211 GR, Maastricht
On my first day in Maastricht, I made a brief stop at 't Pothuiske which is a small pub near the River Maas. I sat outside on the sidewalk, and I enjoyed a Christoffel Bier with some peanuts. Great beer, great place!
Written Jun 14, 2008
Address: Het Bat 1
Surely you wont be able to pay a visit to all the cafés I suggested here in my list. As has been said, Maastricht has a few hundreds of pubs. Outside the centre each neighbourhood has also a few of their own. Many of the locals in these neighbourhoods and of course in the old annexed villages, don’t even go to the historic centre for their beer. That’s like everywhere, although the café cultus is here very prominent. Belonging to the pub, mostly connected to the rich club- and voluntary work, is important to the locals. The pub thus is the cornerstone of peoples social network. Also politics are discussed in the pubs and the pub enrols activity for the local communities within the city. Local politicians in the communual councel who live in the particular neighbourhood open their ears for the needs of the neighbourhood and clubs. Jan hoen, a local well known ex politician was the ultimate example of such. When you visit the town, you must visit some ‘classic’ old pubs. Just as said before, only to sniff the history and local customs. The Vogelstruys, Mouton blance, Bon Femme, and de Pieter are recommendable. For cozy, (brown pubs), with soft music and candle lights, the Knijpke, Perroen, Charlemagne are good options. For early nightlife, having beers and meet others and mix up, the Cést la vie, Shamrock, Printemps and Clinique are good places to go. For life after 2 am and dancing: Kadanz and Alla are absolute the places to go as well as the Printemps. At 5 am pubs close, except for the Dolle Dries at the market that opens then. Here a very mixed public comes, a few students who don’t have enough of partying, and mainly local characters. A few times maybe you meet international students who also cant stop the party and see in the Dolle a good way of continuing till afternoon. Richard the owner, always a friendly guy, makes sure drunkness doesnt get out of hands. (oh its not a place to wear ties or elegant clothing of course, its more a port café)
Written Apr 18, 2008
An other picturesque pub that is very old. Ocated in the beautifull stokstraat, this is also a small café. Already in 1752 the ; in dn carcol’ existed, which means snail. In the fron you find 3 tables, then a bar and some steh-tishes. It is a chatter café for old and mid old locals, not very trendy, no loud music, no youth, but charecteris from the stokstraat quarter. Closed on Wednesday. Not much beer choice, brand on tap and they have a small pavement terrace.
Dress Code: casual
Written Apr 18, 2008
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