“De Hovenier” it says on big, old letters above a plain bar just across the street of Antwerp Management School. You would quickly guess it’s one of these typical Belgian bars in the neighborhood where old friends and lonely rangers meet for a couple of beers and talk about life. This is actually not untrue but it’s definitely not enough to describe De Hovenier.
De Hovenier is more. Far more. De Hovenier is Patje and Patje is de Hovenier. The English translation for De Hovenier is gardener. There couldn’t be another word describing the kind and warm-hearted owner of this bar any better. Patje is like a gardener who carefully cherishes his flowers. He makes sure they get enough water (okay, to be fair, in this case it obviously would be beer, but let’s stick to the metaphor), light and special attention. Every kind of flower is welcomed in his garden and is embraced with so much love that even the darkest solanum (sorry for the slightly technical term) steps in the light to be with him.
Therefore it is not surprising that de Hovenier or short, Patje’s, is for all different members of AMS the place to be. No matter if students, executives, professors or employees – we all meet here. He unites everyone giving us the feeling of being safe and sound, at ease and at home. Always with you and never missing: your constant companion, the beer! Most of us students drink a pintje (Stella Artois) or a Bolleke (Belgian beer) because they are the cheapest (important hint: small and big have the same price!). Still, believe me, cheap beer doesn’t mean we don’t create bills that are better paid with card and make you wonder: Did we really drink that much tonight?! Minds somehow get blurry sometimes.
Actually, having beer at Patje’s is as common as – (please insert your most basic need here). There is no such occasion that wouldn’t be a very good reason to meeting and enjoying a beer in our favorite bar (sorry guys, but for Patje-Lovers de Prof is only second!). It doesn’t matter whether you have lunch break, just finished class, played a football match, want to watch a football match, meet new people, celebrate with your friends, just want to get drunk, feel alone, eat some spaghetti, drink frustration away, have fun, do a bonding group meeting, be home sick and what else reasons there might exist for you. If you couldn’t identify with one of these reasons, why just not simply have a beer, smile and be happy!
To sum up, our favorite dish at Patje’s is a three-course meal consisting of an appetizer of a grote pintje, a main course of a grote pintje and for dessert – a grote pintje. Not to forget, this fabulous taste adventure is being served with the one and only infamous…TAPAS! (Thanks to Spencer for that striking image!) While eating so much of such good food, it is possible that we get very full or even sick from time to time. But don’t worry, there is an unwritten rule at de Hovenier: What happens at Patje’s, stays at Patje’s!
Patje, thank you for creating a truly unique atmosphere in your colorful garden for all of us flowers. You do an exceptional job! Thank you for cherishing, beering, and putting us in the right light – you make us entirely happy!
If you are asking yourself at this stage what the heck is that girl writing about: Come across the street and check out yourself!