As a city ridden with cool street art and a sizeable pool of talent, it was odd not to find a hospitality venue that would reflect all this. Well, that was yesterday. As of late, a new dining spot has emerged in Amsterdam’s canal district that has audaciously taken on the challenge to honour this legacy. Called De Bajes its name is derived from the Yiddish word meaning “home”, but later on the definition morphed into “prison” and used as such in dutch slang to this very day – it may be situated on the premises of a former bank building, but features industrial and raw settings that befit the many bold urban artworks that adorn various sections of the establishment.
Local hospitality entrepreneurs Sven Toering and Matthijs Kanis created De Bajes as a laid-back meeting place where to meet over quality food, drinks, and last but not least, enjoy the exceptional street art on display. As said, the interior has a raw edge, and almost feels as a seamless extension of the street, featuring a mezzanine bar section with a sturdy wooden counter, comfy leather sofas, matching tables and stools, framed by backdrop of concrete walls, stone flooring and an exposed ceiling. The downstairs dining section presents a similar aesthetic, and obviously offers more seating. Many of the walls of De Bajes have served as a canvas for some of the brightest talents in today’s urban art scene.
The owners collaborated with art gallery Vroom & Varossieau which not only commissioned celebrated artists like the London Police, d*Face, and Søren Solkær to create site-specific works, but also curate a rotation of exhibitions of both established names and emerging talent on the premises. So, what’s cookin’ at De Bajes? Niels van Halen is a seasoned chef who has previously honed his skills as a starred dinner. Serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, this is a place suitable for any time of the day. The menu lists a wide range of simple classic dishes, with a slight exotic twist here and there, and all created with fresh, quality ingredients. As for drinks, the choice is equally elaborate, featuring no less than 40 craft beers, more than 15 gin varieties, and a premium selection of other spirits and cocktails.
Photography: Peter Baas
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