January has been drier than an AA meeting, through choice I might add. There’s always a lot of talk about “Dry January” just as the final party popper confetti hits the booze soaked floor during the New Year celebrations. How many of you said you’d do it? How many of you did? Well by some absolute miracle, I DID IT! Yes, I do feel rather proud of myself and am dangerously close to being that smug non-drinker that laughs in the face of your hangover. I hate myself!
I’ve recently heard via a friend that dry January is actually unhealthy but I’ve felt some benefits. Improved diet, more gym hours and best of all the start of this very blog. Had I spent January ’14 like every month of 2013 between work, drinking, partying, hangover there would have been little time or energy for proactive movement let alone clear thinking for writing. That said it has been a touch on the deathly boring side. Without the fresh vigor of blogging discovery I may just have crumbled. Which does beg the question – Can you really be social without drinking alcohol?
Its not that you can’t have fun without drinking your weight in Gin (although it certainly helps). In my recent experience its very hard to be your usual social self when you’re being boring….I mean….when you’re not drinking. Not because of the need for social lubricant to be comfortable, absolutely not. But when every social occasion revolves around a bar here, a dinner there, a club anywhere I’ve practically hibernated to avoid temptation. And drunk people! When you’re stone cold sober drunk people are not your ally. I do like a drink and so do my friends but really I’d say we’re firmly in the category of weekend binge drinkers. But aren’t we all? These days if someone tells you they don’t drink its more surprising than if they told you their favorite tipple is mentholated spirit!
This weekend I leapt with joy from wagon and began with a visit to the Ron Gastrobar accompanied by my good friend CC. She assures me she’s not had so much of a sniff of the unholy water in Jan and I’ll just about take her word for it. Being an Englishman I’ve visited my fair share of gastrobars/pubs back in the homeland taking in the good, the average and the gastronomically terrible. Here in Amsterdam this seems to be a new concept with Ron Blaauw making the claim this is the first of its kind and I wholly agree with the Michelin stared master chef. I’ve certainly never been to a Gastrobar like this! With a soundtrack including the likes of Wham! and other 80’s delights the atmosphere was casual and relaxed.
The interior was modern and littered with the artwork of Selwyn Senatori, an Italian-Dutch artist I discovered when I first touched down in Amsterdam. It should have come as no surprise when sitting right opposite me was the man himself! We exchanged smiles, mine far more enthusiastic than his. The food was of the quality you’d expect from a place named after and associated to a multiple Michelin stared chef. The prices on the other hand were not! €15 per course to be precise, affordable for even the tightest of wallets. Upon receiving the first course it became apparent why as the portion size was verging on puny. We did then realise the concept was to have multiple courses and subsequently ordered 3 deserts. I’ll certainly be going back to work my way through a few more.
Dry January was a challenge and one I’m happy to have succeeded at even if The Daily Mail says its unhealthy. I don’t know whats more surprising, the fact they say dry January is unhealthy or that they’ve spared some column inches away from their usual subjects of immigrants and former BBC presenters turned paedos.
So can you be social when you’re on the wagon? Yes you can but the fact is it’s just not as much fun. A hangover has never felt so good!