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Varied programming Spijkerbar for Amsterdam Bear Weekend

by Norbert Splint in Events & Agenda , 12 March 2020

Dit artikel is ook in het Nederlands beschikbaar
length: 5 minuten

Without a past there is no present, let alone a future. This certainly applies to the Spijker Bar, which has been located at the start of the Kerkstraat since the late 1960s. The Spijker Bar has stood the test of turbulent gay times.

From hotel-restaurant plus theatre via a genuine men only cruising bar to an oozy pub where everyone is welcome: the Spijker has experienced it all and prospered.

Spijker's "History" reads like a novel. The absolute highlight: "The more than bizarre happening “the most beautiful ass election". Owner Peter had hung a curtain with holes in the bar, and the participants had to stick their rear end through the holes. The nicest ass got a 100 guilder note in the winning butt crack. "Many gay bars should be so lucky to have similar website content. There certainly is much more to report. For instance, that in the mid-1980s, people were already hiring sexy staff, a policy that continues to this day. During the interview for this article, we, for example, are served by the friendly Nizami.

What perhaps people do not remember or do not know, is that Gay News Magazine, which originates from "Trash in the Streets," was founded by former owner Tony Derosa. He brought the first English-language gay newspaper to Amsterdam. It became known for its satirical style and freakish headlines such as "Pope may have Aids". The column "Not one to gossip, but ..." was a must if you wanted to stay informed of developments in the metropolitan gay scene. "Trash in the Streets" was offered for free in all gay bars and discos and is the direct predecessor of the current bilingual and only dutch gay monthly "Gay News".

However, back to the present...

"Well, apart from the sexy staff, nothing much has changed over the past fifty years," Hristo Tsanev (35) reassures us. The pool table is still on its old location, and besides porn movies, cartoons are also shown, just like in the old days.
On the other hand: women and trans persons are now welcome as well, and there is a no smoking policy in place now. Moreover, the former smoking room will completely disappear on March 1st, meaning that the Spijker will no longer have the smallest darkroom in Europe. Hristo (type: beefy and hairy Bulgarian): "The smoker’s room will become part of one larger play room. There's no escaping it, it is what is required of us now with the cigarette ban in public places.

Dora Royale
Hristo is married to a big gentleman and has lived in the Netherlands since 2008. He has been working in the Spijker for five years now, but also has a full-time job at He works at the Spijker for the sheer fun of it: he takes care of all social media channels and is responsible for events, for instance the Amsterdam Bear Weekend. De Spijker is taking part in the ABW for the third time now, and with great success. In 2018, visitors to the Spijker Bar lottery could win Mr Bear Kenan Sakalli's underwear, to name one. It helped, because Kenan later won the election and was Mr. Bear for a year.

What's in store for the Spijker Bar this time during the Bear Weekend?

"What I want to emphasize," Hristo continues, "is that we want to bring people together in the Spijker. Not only our regular guests, but also alternatives, tourists, young people, you name it. The events we will be organizing for the Amsterdam Bear Weekend are therefore very diverse. On Thursday, there is the Pre-Bear Blue Party. Think of it as a warming-up before going to the Blue Party at Club Church, located on the very same street. At the bar, you will find DJ and famous drag entertainer Dame Dora Royal.

The next day on Friday, we will host a Bear Dance Night. Think: dance to popular, commercial music. Nothing wrong with that! We do, however, have special drink offers. Among others, four draft beers for € 11, and four bottled ciders and speciality beers such as Duvel, Leffe, Strongbow and Corona for € 16, which of course is not expensive by Amsterdam standards. By the way, we will be selling those drinks at record low prices throughout the Amsterdam Bear Weekend.

Dora Royal will return on Saturday with a special edition of her well-known bingo. We don't know exactly what she's going to do, but she is known for her harsh jokes and her self-mockery. However, a bingo is a bingo. There will also be nice cash prizes to be won, and there is much more in store. It could be a great start of your Saturday night. It only takes an hour, so nobody will fall asleep of boredom.

We will then continue that Saturday with the third edition of an event we have called Hairy Fairy - An accessible event with pleasant music for bears, otters, their admirers. Women are also allowed if they grow their moustache. It is a cruising event, so you are forewarned. Dress code: as little as possible. The party will end at 03.00 am.

On Sunday, we will host the Lazy Happy Bear Afternoon. Anyone who is done partying or wants to come down from their hangover is very welcome. Spijker owner Paul will serves cheese and the typically Dutch appetizer croquettes, so success is guaranteed. We expect a more mature audience, the daddies who want to socialize around the pool table."

Hristo explains why the Spijkerbar is so perfectly suited to host the bear scene at the ABW "In the first place, the Spijker is an inclusive bar where everyone is welcome. Cruising is possible in the darkroom upstairs, and you can have a good time at the bar and at the pool table downstairs. Our motto is: be nice or leave. De Spijker Bar is not classy or anything, more relaxed. Both the porn and the cartoons, for instance, are adapted to the bear theme during the ABW. What I would like to say is that I and my colleagues all have a regular job besides working at the Spijker Bar. We are working here because we simply like it. Speaking of the bar staff: most of them are quite bearish. Look at me!’

  Spijkerbar, Kerkstraat 4, Amsterdam.

UPDATE: Because of corona-measures, where gatherings for over 100 people are not allowed, the Amsterdam Bear Weekend is postponed to a date later this year.



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