There is a bar in the city centre of Utrecht where cats sit on stools next to bar patrons, beers are plentiful, and the bartenders are friendly. The bar is Café DeRat, literally café of the rat. The name might raise a few eyebrows, but this bar is a neighborhood joint at its finest—cozy, social, and with an amazing beer selection. I was introduced to this lovely establishment my first weekend in town and I am quickly becoming a regular sampling new beers each week. While I know my beers back home, I am unsure of what to order here. Thankfully the bartenders at Café DeRat are happy to recommend beers based on what you like from ‘bitter’ to ‘smooth’ or ‘brown’ to ‘blonde’ or ‘Belgian’ to ‘Dutch’.
Bars in Utrecht are interesting because last call doesn’t come at 2 am on the dot instead the bartender can decide when to close the bar depending on how busy it is. One night I was there some dudes showed up at 3:30 am and he still served them even though he had rung the last call bell about 10 minutes earlier. Yes, I was at the bar till after 3:30 am. I am not as young as I used to be but I still like to pretend sometimes.
Even more awesome and something I have gotten to observe in my frequent nights there was the secret underground room where they store the kegs, keep the bottles, and, rumor is, there is a troll. I haven’t gone down into the secret underground lair, but I snuck a peek one night!