Once upon a time, Amsterdam was one of the most important ports in the world, a place renowned for its thriving commerce, its rough genever, and for the “ladies of pleasure” whose address was conveniently located nearby the port, at the so called Red Light District. In those days, after a sailor had had enough of business, spirits, and a little dose of “love”, he’d have to find a place where to rest his bones. Cafe In’t Aepjen is said to have hosted sailors and travellers back in the old days, as the upper floor functioned as a hostel of sorts while the cafe at the ground floor served doses of “Dutch courage” to keep the folks going. Legend has it that, one day, upon having lost his riches, this one seaman was unable to pay for his bill. The only thing that he still had left were monkeys, from his faraway travels, which are said to have become the currency in which he redeemed his debt. This is how the monkey bar became the monkey bar.
Nobody knows if the tale is true, but everyone likes to believe it is. Whatever the case, still today you can walk up to the famous Zeedijk and visit this traditional 16th century brown cafe where monkeys are sovereign. They even offer their own beer brand, named after the cafe. A true gem where to catch a glimpse of local life and, of course, get your fix of Dutch Courage.