Dear ACU guests,

Due to recent incidents the collective has decided to go 18+ only on party's (after 22:00).
This is because our volunteers don't feel safe/confortable with the situation as it was.
We hope that this does not have to be a permanent situation.

We thank you for understanding.

Kind regards,
The ACU collective

About

ACU is a political-cultural center in the Voorstraat, directly in the center of Utrecht. ACU is non-commercial, independent from the municipality’s agenda, and fully run by volunteers. ACU has found its niche as is for more than 40 years integral part of Utrecht’s cultural and political scene.

ACU is host to a wide range of activities: café, vegan restaurant, concerts, disco nights, political events, jam sessions, benefit events, parties, movies, library, and meeting place for political and cultural initiatives.

House rules

We want ACU to be a nice and as safe as possible place where people can enjoy themselves. To achieve this we have some house rules. We hope you enjoy your time with us!

  • No harassment

    We have a zero-tolerance policy against racism, sexism, ableism, homophobia, transphobia or any other form of psychological or physical oppression, discrimination, exclusion, violence or harassment. If you violate this policy, you will be asked to leave and risk a bar ban.

  • No drugs

    We have zero tolerance for hard drugs. If you are spotted using hard drugs, you will be asked to leave and risk a bar ban.

  • 99% Vegan

    Please do not bring meat or fish into ACU.

  • No smoking

    Ever since 2019 it’s not allowed to smoke inside ACU.

  • No pets

    Pets like dogs have sensitive ears, so when ACU is busy and the music is loud, this is not the best place for them. It is impossible for us to provide a safe and comfortable environment for any animal.

  • No photography

    Please don’t take photos or videos of people unless everybody in the frame has explicitly agreed to have their image taken. A night is more fun without phones anyway.

  • Be quiet outside

    We try to maintain a good relation with our neighbors and keep disturbance as minimal as possible. We also risk a fine if people take their cups or bottles outside, so this is not allowed.

  • Cash preferred

    ACU has a form of electronic payment in the bar. But we prefer using cash!

  • Follow instructions from staff

    All ACU staff are working on a voluntary basis to keep you and other guests happy and safe. It is not likely at all that you will be asked to follow any instructions, but if it happens, we expect you to cooperate.

If you have been harassed or feel that you are a victim of discrimination or were mistreated by a guest or a volunteer, please let us know by filling in this form, or ask a volunteer present for assistance.

Our story

ACU has a long history. It all started way back before it was a squat, before it was a garage, even before Pierre-Joseph Proudhon invented Anarchism!

But who want’s a boring long lecture? Exactly... That’s why, instead, we created a timeline, so you can fly over our history in no time. Who knows, maybe you’ll learn something you didn’t know yet?

There is more

ACU has stayed a movie theater, with the screenings by the Pasthei group on Sunday evening. And ACU for long has been a vegan restaurant, the first in Utrecht with the launch of Kitchen Punx in 2004, which ran until 2018. Since then there is the Thursday eetcafé, while in the weekend there is Taste Before You Waste and Barricoons (who both cook with vegetables saved from the trash). Read more about food in ACU…

ACU has also stayed a place of politics, activism. and collective learning, especially again with the the Barricade and its Sunday library and activities. However, the question of ACU’s politics also remains a topic of discussion.

In 1996, at the eve of the legalization NRC Handelsblad in long article wrote about ACU as a breeding ground of radical activism: against the visit of the pope, against gender intimidation, against long-distance missiles, and in support of the Amelisweerd forest.

Work in progress

ACU is a work in progress, in terms of the physical building (from the installation of the beer tank, the upcoming renovations of the toilets and the backstage), but also in that of the collective’s self-organization.

ACU is an ongoing conversation, but sometimes this conversation is a bit of a struggle. In the early 2000s, for example, the collective saw the creation of Feministisch Verzet against sexism in ACU and also within the collective. One night, this group put up a sign above the entrance to the venue, speaking out against the patriarchy performed within ACU. The text remains (though in a watered—down version) and so does the conversation and sometimes still struggle to make ACU a safe(r) space.

Be part of it!

Above all, ACU remains an open collective and free space in the heart of a rapidly gentrifying Utrecht. Many of the volunteers who run ACU now were not even born when a group of people kicked in the door of Voorstraat 71.

Over four decades later the DIY spirit persists. A sedimented memory of the 70s, 80s, 90s, 00s, and 10s, ACU — as it has entered the 2020s — continues to create alternatives. Be part of it!

In memory of Amber, Dick and Niset.

Opening hours

  • MonClosed
  • Tue20:00 – 00:00
  • Wed19:00 – 23:00
  • ThuClosed
  • Fri20:00 – 03:00
  • Sat20:00 – 03:00
  • Sun18:00 – 23:00
  • ACU = CASH PLEASE

    Hit the ATM in time, because we prefer cash payments.

    Volunteers wanted!

    As you have read, ACU is run completely by volunteers. Everything from bar to bookings is done by volunteers.

    Over four decades of DIY spirit persists and ACU still continues to create alternatives. Be part of it!

    Do you want to help us out? Sign up via the button below and we’ll invite you to our new volunteers introduction!

    Be part of it!