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April Celebrates Twenty-fifth Anniversary!

by Editorial Staff in Scene , 03 November 2006

Dit artikel is ook in het Nederlands beschikbaar

Café April opened its doors in 1981 for the first time, and they’ve been open every day since, except during the extensive renovation in 1996. The novelty at the time was that April not only opened its doors but also its windows, because it wasn’t all that easy for gays to be open and “out” in the late seventies and early eighties. Everything was hidden behind closed doors, until April changed all that. They hung out flags like mega decorations whenever they had something on, which was often: Easter, Christmas and New Year’s Eve were celebrated enthusiastically.

The HMS “April Love” was going full steam on the Full Moon Party, the first street party on the Reguliersdwarsstraat. Speaking of street parties: Gay Pride, cherry pickers, street performances and Queen’s Day celebrations with a sound system per bar, “I’m louder.” “No, I’m louder!” The old street would shake on its foundations. Fortunately there were also more quiet days when you could sit in the window or on one of the benches outside, enjoying your drink and your friends, outside, open, “out & proud.”

A lot of attention was paid to the interior decor as well: the small square bar, the spheres with ceiling ventilators, the silver pillars, the small tables at the window, Jan behind the coffee maker...

The corduroy wallpaper - later a zebra print - often had to make room for thousands of tulips, Christmas balls, washing powder boxes, graffiti, fur or fluorescent lights.

The personnel would go all the way, also with their own outfits: Greek gods, bloodthirsty Dracula’s, or hookers would happily serve you your beer.

With a smile in the afternoon or with a short “That’ll be one guilder” during happy hour.

When Abba was heard singing “Money, money, money” the busy bar instantly turned to packed and total mayhem would follow: “Ten beers, three colas, one gin tonic, and (of course) two cappuccinos, - ice! - glasses! - middle! - guilders! - eight beers, three bacos, two cassis, vodka, bitter lemon and (of course again) two cappuccinos.”
The barmen really needed two pair of ears each, and definitely could use several pairs of hands. And right at the moment one thought: “I can’t handle this anymore,” there was Pat Boone with his liberating “April Love.”

Where did we go after to continue the evening? In the beginning everyone found their way to the DOK (The Odeon Cellar) around the corner on the Singel, but in 1988 things changed.

“April’s Exit” on the opposite side of the Reguliersdwarsstraat opened up where first restaurant L’Entrée was situated.

The Exit was first planned on the other side (with now the Argentine grill restaurant) but when the larger space at number 42 became available the choice was made.

A new sound system made it possible to dance under the chandeliers where before people had been dining. Until four years ago the dance floor was made of the original pink ceiling of L’Entrée.

In 1996 it was time for a large scaled renovation. Like we said it was the only time April - pronounced as in Dutch with “ah” and not “a” - was closed for a longer period. When it reopened it was three times the former size, at the time the largest gay bar in Europe.

This is when they created the famous revolving bar and started the double Sunday afternoon happy hour, which has been going strong ever since. At the end of the year April will again be completely renovated to face the future with pride.

In 1981 Café April opened its doors for the first time. To be honest it was only one door. Today the same door opens up as it has all that time, at exactly two o’clock. Something to be proud of.

The bar has made it through the years and is still a place where you can go alone or with your friends and enjoy the atmosphere. The busy happy hours, the revolving bar, the changing decor in the front, the screens. April lives.

The half-open windows and the wooden benches have disappeared but the outside tables which have taken their place give you so much more space to be what you are: “Out & Proud.”

Café April will always have an open door. Don’t have yours shut closed.



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