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.
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.
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 ;-)
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
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.
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
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
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!
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)
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
A brown café at the Vrijthof. Very good place to have a spcial beer or have a little snack with it, they have little bread with brie on the menu and a lot of salads, all, not too expensive. The interior is cozy. There are wooden tables with benches and chairs, and, a beautifull inner garden for dinning/ light refreshemnts. This pub is especially very popular at carnival. Don’t miss it then. A lot of students go there then, dutch and abroad ones as well as younger locals. However crowded there is then still space to dance ad get mad.
A pub especially popular amongst foreigners, mainly sudents from abroad that study here. So if you want to meet local ‘foreign’ students, from all across the world, this is the place to be. The place is however not so ‘typical’ maastricht, is located a bit furher outside the centre as pub Aux Arcades and seems to attrck drugsusing public. If that is ok with you, you can hang around there and play a game of pool. The prices are also lower than in the café’s in the centre.
Dress Code: casual/alternative
This is a grand café, a brown one with a cozy athmosphere. Never very crowded, you can just relax with a special beer (some are on tap, such as brand up, the rest are on bottle – leffe, grimberger). You can play games (they have boards) The owner is a very friendly man, and seems to like a drink himself too, during work.
Dress Code: casual
Near the railraod station, a pub with a small pavement terrace in summer. Its interior is cozy. A wooden pub. Thy have several special beers on bottle. The cafe is a good way out to spend your time in case you missed the train and dont want to wait in a boring trainstation. It is not a crowded place, sometimes it is used for billiard
Once superpopular café. In the eighties-early ninethees trendy amongst local youth, then after these days a lot of renovation has been done, the staircase in the middle of the pub got removed and new colours were painted. The pub stayed out of popularity for years as suddenly the ‘onnafhankelijke disputen’ some studentsclubs found their way to the pub as well as locals, more elder public, rediscoverd the place. Now it is a trendy pub, with a long bar, charis and small tables in black tunes, a dark light and very crowded in the weekends. Music is not too loud. In the back of the café you can stand with your drink as there is not much space and chairs to sit down. Music is contemporary opomusic. (charts top 40).
Dress Code: trendy/fashion