Perhaps you don’t think it’s possible to find an Irish pub in Amsterdam. Well, I’m here to tell you otherwise. Located on Het Leidseplein, Hoopman Irish Pub brings a little of the Irish to Amsterdam.
Hoopman Irish Pub has the typical dark wood and feel of an Irish pub in Ireland. It had the requisite dark wood, dark furniture, Christmas decorations, and the sounds of people thoroughly enjoying themselves. When we arrived, it was just before 3 pm in the afternoon and the place was packed. There were only a few open barstools available at the bar, but all but one or two tables were taken. People of all ages were in Hoopman’s as well as couples, friends, and families. We squeezed in and found a table near the bar and tried to warm up because on that particular day (December 28), it was chilly and the idea of having a big pint of beer to warm up sounded incredibly appealing to my husband. I was just happy to be out of the cold, wet weather and in somewhere warm and vaguely familiar. The Hoopman was a friendly oasis in a city that was new to me. I guess you could call Hoopman your friendly neighborhood bar or pub in Amsterdam!
The menu is extensive, from their breakfast menu to salads, pub grub, Sunday roast, and of course, traditional Irish Main dishes. For my non-meat eating readers, their breakfast menu includes a vegetarian breakfast consisting of fried eggs, beans, hash browns, tomato, mushrooms, toast, jam & butter. Off of their regular menu, they have a salad of tomato, mozzarella & basil; vegetarian burger with fries; vegetarian enchilada; and a baked spud with cheddar. What a relief to be able to go out to eat and be able to choose from more than one item on the menu, right?
For those of you who do eat meat, you will thoroughly enjoy leafing through the menu and pondering the numerous options. Skip over the ones with the carrot (they’re vegetarian!) and check out the meat and seafood options. How about Shepherd’s Pie or Beef & Guinness Pie? Maybe you’re in the mood for Fish & Chips or maybe the more traditional Dutch Bitterballen? Not familiar with Bitterballen? They are a savoury Dutch meat-based snack, typically containing a mixture of beef (minced or chopped), beef broth, flour and butter for thickening, parsley, salt and pepper. You can look at the entire menu on the Hoopman Irish Pub web site.
But let’s be honest here. We didn’t go to the pub for the food although the food was certainly part of it. We went for the drinks! Our server, Miriam, was working the entire side of the restaurant that we were on all by herself and she never was short with us or looked stressed. In fact, she definitely took time with each of her tables to answer questions, like my husband quizzing her on all of the beers on tap. Let’s just say that he warmed up with more than one pint! From what he can recall, he thinks he had the Witte Trappist and a La Trappe Dubbel, both draught beers and both incredibly tasty. I, on the other hand, wanted something warm and I opted to try the Gluhwein (pronounced glue-wein). A mulled wine that is served during the winter, you can find it served in brown cafes (the equivalent of what a pub is in England and Ireland), restaurants, or on the street in one of the many areas where the Winter Wonderland festivals were being held. The Amsterdam City Tours blog had a recipe that I will share with you here:
2 bottle red wine (a cheap Chianti works perfectly here)
250 grams of sugar (more or less to taste)
6 tsp whole cloves
1 cinnamon stick
Peel of 1 lemon and 1 lime
Juice of 1 orange
Dash of vanilla
1 whole nutmeg (optional)
Pour the sugar into a large saucepan. Add the lemon and lime peels and squeeze in orange juice. Add cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg and other spices. Now, pour just enough wine over the the sugar to coat it. Let it simmer for 4 to 5 minutes until almost boiling – this will help infuse all the delicious spices into a nice syrup. Once it starts to thicken, add the rest of the red wine and turn the heat down and warm for 5 minutes. Pour into mugs and – for those familiar with the Dutch tradition – add a shot of rum – and enjoy!
Note: It is important that you do not boil the wine – otherwise you burn off the alcohol!
Next time you are feeling a chill in the air, consider making some Gluhwein to warm up. Don’t forget the next time you are in Amsterdam to pop into Hoopman Irish Pub for a pint and some food as well. Whether in the winter when it is cold and chilly and you are looking to warm up or in the summer when you are aching for a cold pint to cool down, definitely put Hoopman’s on your list of places to visit.
1017 PT Amsterdam
0031 (0)20 6381408