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Café Het Molenpad, Amsterdam

Bicycle deliveryman talks with the guy who's come
to pick up the patio chairs at the end of October.
Traffic waits, in classic Amsterdam style.
Het Molenpad was an excellent café for me on some of the rainier cloudier days during the Autumn of 2000 in Amsterdam. Het Molenpad is what you might call a typical Dutch café. I don't know. It seemed true to a form, in its way—but, anyway, it was comfortable for me.

In the Summertime, it's hard to miss the place for all the patio tables on both sides of the narrow street, and the fact that they stay busy when the weather's good and tourists are about. It was a bit daunting, and I never discovered the place for myself until later.

During the Autumn, Het Molenpad is inconspicuous, even hard to notice. It has little window space, and is not wide. It's handsome, but not conspicuous. Very Dutch, I guess.

Inside, it's darkish. Dark wood, low lights, and a wall color that is either compatible with years of smoke or colored by years of smoke — it looks like both.

The bar counter runs lengthwise back into the café, on the right-hand side. To the left are small tables. I always tried for the one table back around the end of the bar. Visibility, but a space out of traffic. A quiet bit of privacy in public, sometimes almost the perfect bit of distraction for reading the newspaper and doing some loose writing.

The coffee, as is normal in Holland, is a shot of espresso in a demitasse. And, of course, that comes with a small candy cookie.

I lived in Amsterdam from May until December of 2000.

Ah, and best of all. As in Holland generally, the staff at Het Molenpad really don't care how long you want to sit over however little you purchase. It really doesn't matter, and that's a beautiful thing. I recommend trying it, as a part of appreciating a fantastic part of Dutch culture.

Sit. Read. Write. Smoke a cigarette if that is your inclination. Do nothing. Listen to the music, it doesn't matter. Your coffee is gone? It doesn't matter. It is unlikely that anybody will bother the empty cup. You may go about your business.

I love the Dutch café. Het Molenpad was my favorite in Amsterdam.