The iconic bar The Queen’s Head has been taken over by John Jepma and Leon Oppers. The bar’s range of products will be increased with more choice in high-quality whiskey, vodka and wines. A wind of change, and a new toilet set in due time. But Café The Queen’s Head must remain what it is today: an iconic bar.
This ambition does not just come out of the blue. John (51) has a business background and has been in possession of a catering license since the late 1980s. Leon (51) is a painter and decorator with a background in home care. He has worked as a bartender at Café Chris in de Jordaan and Café Marcella on the Amstelveld, and was a COC treasurer after his coming-out.
The new owners are sitting opposite of me. “We both feel an exaggerated need to see to it that people are having a good time.” It’s true. Wine arrives quickly, and the gentlemen are answering my questions warmly.
Things suddenly came together. Leon had been looking for something to do besides home care. When the bar was for sale, and the risk of The Queen’s Head disappearing in its current form became real, the men took action. Much to the relief of many of the bar’s regulars. Almost all of the current team and artists will stay, including the bar’s extravagant entourage. “Nowadays, so many bars are closing in the gay scene, but we wanted this bar to stay. It is, of course, a challenge to succeed the previous owners Don and Arjan. They have made the pub what it is today,” they say appreciatively.
John will keep his job, but will be the business brain in the background, while Leon will become the new face of the bar. The couple has been married since 2011 and live in Amsterdam. They like to go on skiing and diving holidays, but a night out at The Queen’s Head was their favorite pastime!
“The Zeedijk is a lively street with many quality businesses. The operators are well organized, and we would like to work on events in cooperation with them.”
They are well-aware of the environment they go out in. Amsterdam is a diverse city that attracts many tourists, but there are also tensions between the people who live there and visitors. And between the various communities.
“We will not shy away from debate, but on the other hand will not seek confrontation. We’ll be running a pub where everyone is welcome, and socializing, meeting other people and entertainment are key.”