Fare Thee Well: A Tribute to The Amsterdam

The Amsterdam, owned by John Cullen and Zoie Torres, has long served as a spot for aspiring musicians to cut their teeth. It has brought the community together for charity and for art. More than a spot to enjoy a drink in the most burgeoning district in the city, The Amsterdam has been a place to connect with the local community, to make friends and to enjoy an evening that is something beyond literary. Their large exterior wall facing 11th Street North, much like Ray Bradbury's Illustrated Man, has worn many tattoos, each telling a distinct and captivating story that has attracted the ears, eyes and camera lenses of downtown visitors. 

It was the first spot we heard the band Displace live years ago. That band is now off on their first national tour. It is the place where the colors of Pride were proudly painted in the summer. Now, those same colors fly over city hall each June. The Amsterdam is the place that introduced us to the Church of Nintendo, it's where we got to see Steve Netta and Chris Matson perform standup during the Dam Comedy Jam, it's where we went to help raise money for cancer patients and to raise awareness for heart disease. 

This small bar in the EDGE District found new ways every month to bring the St. Pete community together and, in our opinion, acted as a driving force for making this city the sought after destination that it is today. The owners at The Amsterdam set a precedent for activism, charity and entertainment that has now become so overwhelmingly prevalent at all of the businesses downtown. For fans of dirty trivia, funk music, jam bands, mural painting and local brews, The Amsterdam was a second home. 

On Saturday, June 11, the venue will host one last show before closing its doors. The music begins at 8pm. Performers include: Jordan Esker & The Hundred Percent, House of I and The Jackettes. We encourage you to pay this establishment a visit before they close their doors for good. You can learn more about the final event by clicking here. While we will miss The Amsterdam, we know its legacy will live on in the Burg. As Frank Herbert said, "Parting with friends is a sadness. A place is only a place.” We can't wait to see what John and Zoie have in store for St. Pete in the future. 

Written by Andrew Harlan

Andrew Harlan is in his third year as Writer/Editor of iLovetheBurg.com. New York Times bestselling author Andre Dubus III has said of him, “Andrew Harlan has a sharp and discerning eye for detail that deftly captures character and landscape." He has published fiction and poetry in Sabal and Prime Number Literary Magazine. He graduated with honors from Eckerd College in 2013 with a B.A. in Creative Writing and a minor in Literature. He can be reached by phone: (727) 896-3435 or email: andrew@rkc.me