By Tomas Buitendijk
Every week large groups of students and other heavy drinkers from Utrecht try their luck at what might very well be one of the hardest drinking challenges in existence: the infamous ‘Zwarte Piste’, or Black Slope.
The idea is that after a thorough preparation, usually involving stuffing yourself in an all-you-can-eat restaurant, you go to the bar closest to the Wilhelminapark and order a beer or another alcoholic beverage. After enjoying your first drink, you just move to the next closes bar and order another drink. This process is repeated until you reach Ledig Erf, which is at the end of the Oudegracht (unless you drop down halfway, of course).
At first glance the task might seem an easy one, considering the fact that there are hardly any bars between the Wilhelminapark and the city theatre – and that’s half the way, right? Terribly wrong. The most hardcore version of the Black Slope challenge involves visiting a total of 53 different bars. The only ones you are allowed to skip are bars with an entrance fee and bars with a waiting queue.
Luckily, for the faint-hearted people, there are plenty of ways to make the challenge easier. There are no strict rules as to how the challenge should be taken. An example of this is a variation known as the Red Slope, in which you only have to visit the bars on one side of the road. Another one is taking a short route – you start at the city theatre and stop at the end of the Neude, visiting “only” 20 bars to complete the challenge.
Aside from being a legendary drinking challenge, the Black Slope is a charming experience for those culture-lovers out there. After all, is there a better way to get to know Utrecht than visiting over 50 different bars in a single night out?