Mulligans Irish Music Bar. Amstel 100, 1017AC Amsterdam. +31(0)20 622 1330
Five reasons to visit Mulligans
(1) Where it is. As you see from the map, Mulligans is just a stone's throw from lots of other things people do on a typical day in Amsterdam. For a lot of folks, that makes it a handy spot for ending an afternoon, or launching a night out. Or both.
So you may be rummaging at the open air market in Waterlooplein, visiting the Rembrandt Museum, shopping for new boots on Kalverstraat, examining tulip bulbs at the Singel flower market — or just sightseeing. Sometime after four, you drop in to Mulligans to rest your feet and refresh your spirit. Later, there's always dinner at one of the copious restaurants around Rembrandtplein or Reguliers Dwarsstraat, or a movie at the Tuschinsky or Pathé Munt, a theatrical performance at the Muziektheater or Kleine Komedie, or dancing at one of Rembrandtplein's night-clubs. Wherever you and your friends are going or coming from, we'd be happy to see you along the way. But be forewarned, you may accidentally stay longer than you planned. Okay, let's stop in just for one. Uh-huh.
(2) The Guinness. Some people say Mulligans serves the best pint of Guinness in Amsterdam. Others vehemently disagree; they say Mulligans serves the only real pint of Guinness in town. We, the humble preparers of this web site, are not privy to the entire voodoo. What we do know is that it has to do with (a) the skill of the person pulling the pint, (b) proper maintenance of the lines to the taps, (c) proper cleaning of the glasses, (d) the source (in this case it's the real stuff from the Dublin brewery), and finally (e) the volume of product sold, and its implications for freshness. The volume of Guinness flowing through Mulligan's every week is slightly less than the volume of water flushing the canals of Amsterdam in the same period. So all in all, it's a good pint. Tip: order it a few minutes before you really want it, as a proper pint takes time to settle and top off.
(3) The music. The stage at Mulligans is slightly larger than an airmail stamp, but has been the setting for some astounding performances by musicians both famous and unknown. On Sundays and some Wednesdays, the long table in front of it draws traditional players for the Irish session. Check the event calendar to see what's happening when.
(4) The people. There are a lot of great bars in Amsterdam. And some not-so-great ones. If you live in or frequently visit this city, you will no doubt have encountered the beautiful laconic youth, trapped working at a bar either as a form of penance, or just to scrape up enough coin to pay the mobile phone bill.
Mulligans, by contrast, is staffed by professional bartenders who really know what they're doing, who do it consistently well — and who actually don't seem to mind working here. It's significant that the bar staff don't just enjoy one or two after-work sips here, they are frequently to be seen spending a whole evening off socialising at their place of employment.
At Mulligans you really never know who you're going to meet. You may be sitting next to a visiting fiddler from County Clare, a ship captain from Poland or an art student from Zimbabwe. But there is also an equally varied cast of characters who meet here regularly. So if you visit often enough you will gradually become a spectator to an ongoing and frequently amusing soap opera of human nature. Suffice to say that some long and steadfast friendships have been formed within these walls. And some 12-hour ones.
(5) The food. Mulligans' cuisine consists of packaged nuts and crisps (chips) that hang on the wall. That's why it's number 5... Fortunately we're a short walk from several hundred places to eat.