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Downtown is situated in the oldest existing building of Reguliersdwarsstraat, dating back to 1642. As such, it is a fine example of a 17th century Dutch house with a storefront.
In 1970 two gay friends, Fokke IJsinga and Frits Blaauw, opened one of the first espresso bars of Amsterdam here. They named it Coffeeshop Downtown, since those were the days before coffeeshop was used to refer to a shop that sells softdrugs.
Downtown was meant to be an ordinary coffee bar, but when more and more gay people started to visit, the place became the first open gay cafe of the city. Earlier, all gay bars had closed windows and a door policy. But Downtown had large open windows, because everyone was welcome.
By the end of 1979 Downtown was taken over by Frans Monsma and Guus Silverentand. They began organizing the first big and fancy parties in the street. Besides the art exhibitions, they also published the avant garde Downtown Magazine. A year later they also opened the world famous café-bar April, and with those two venues the Reguliersdwarsstraat turned into the most well-known and trendy Amsterdam gay street.
In 2010 Downtown celebrated its 40th anniversary, making it the longest running business of the street. The old name was replaced with Lunchroom Downtown in 2011, which better signifies what is to be expected here.