With overtourism steamrolling city centers all over the world, it becomes challenging to find authentic places where actual locals go to. In fact, it’s not that difficult. All it takes is to go left where the crowds go right. In Rotterdam, the tourist crowds are pouring out of the iconic train station on the South side. They are entirely justified to do so – this side offers a load of pleasures, like the Groot Handelsgebouw, the West Kruiskade and, if you walk a little further, the magnificent figure of the Buttplug Gnome. Take the Northern exit, and it’s as if you’re in a different city: rather more laid-back, more subdued and subtle than the glass-and-concrete skyscrapers on the other side of the tracks. Just a couple of minutes walk down the canal is Café Walenburg – a place so authentic, I hesitated to list it here.
Café Walenburg has been quenching thirsts since 1947. Since the current owner Vincent Bek took over in 2015, it has become a real beer Mecca (I know that’s an oxymoron, but you catch the drift). More than two dozens of beers on tap, and many more bottled beers, there’s a beer for any taste here. If you’re not into beer, they have a decent selection of gins and whiskeys as well. Ironically, despite being called a café, they don’t actually serve coffee. Another thing they don’t have is football, so if you’re looking for a football-free place during a big match, Walenburg is the go-to spot.