Street Art Bar & Bikkesement De Bajes
Criminally good chow with art
There are far worse things imaginable than doing time at De Bajes – Dutch slang for ‘prison’ - at the Utrechtsestraat. Following Hong Kong and New York, the very first Street Art restaurant will open its ‘prison gates’ on Amsterdam’s Rembrandtplein February 16th. Some of the world’s most renowned street artists have turned the imposing walls into their canvasses: The London Police, D*Face, Ben Eine and Laser 3.14 were temporarily incarcerated at De Bajes. As powerful as the visuals may be: the all-day menu is equally exciting. After it’s “light’s out” for most, Bar & Bikkesement De Bajes lends itself to cocktails, craft beers, bar bites and a diverse DJ-programming.
De Bajes is the brainchild of owner Sven Toering. Together with Matthijs Kanis and several others from Flinder Café, Sven runs three other successful cafes and restaurants, and now calls himself the proud owner of this new establishment.
“In Bajes, everything we love finally comes together. High quality food and drinks combined with the very best street art. We’ve been playing with the concept since 2010, but once the location at Utrechtstestraat 11 became available and we saw those tall, empty walls we immediately knew: this is the place we’ve been waiting for.”
The word ‘Bajes’ has come to mean ‘prison’ in Dutch slang, but the original Yiddish meaning is actually ‘home’. This particular home has a hugely impressive collection of art. Artists such as Ben Eine, Fanakapan, D*Face, The London Police, Hugo Kaagman, Bortusk Leer, Ox Alien, Jaune, Laser 3.14, Soren Solkaer, Cranio and Luiz Risi were commissioned to work their magic on the walls in De Bajes. Each and every one of these familiar and well-loved names at international art galleries and on the streets. In collaboration with Vroom & Varossieau - the place for ‘Urban Contemporary Art’ in Amsterdam – De Bajes will even host a variety of exhibitions for big names and up and coming street artists. Odds are works by street art legends such as Banksy and Kaws will someday be on display.
Repeat offending is understandable considering the 40 craft beers, more than 15 gins, and a premium selection of spirits and cocktails. The wide selection of bar bites, bruschetta, charcuterie and even oysters from the Dutch province of Zeeland ensure you have very little left to desire. Weekdays De Bajes is opened until 01.00, and during the weekend until 03.00. Thursdays and Fridays, De Bajes hosts the very best Amsterdam DJ’s which will have you begging for 25 to life.
The Bajes’ kitchen is run by Chef Niels van Halen, who previously was the chef cook at the Michelin-starred restaurant De Hoefslag. Starting from 10.00 in the morning one can order the all-day breakfast or lunch. You can start the day with a full Bajes Breakfast Menu or an English Breakfast. For those unable (or unwilling) to get up early, breakfast is available until it’s almost time for dinner – perfect for a hangover. Doing time at De Bajes during lunch isn’t a punishment either. From sandwiches with candied bacon and sausage from Brandt & Levie to the ‘Greenest Sandwich Ever’, with a shot of smoothie. The dinner menu, fit for a last meal, is comprised of gastro classics with a cheeky twist: from Lomo Iberico, catfish, and stewed vongole with a pumpkin mash and kombu to a superfood salad.
The prison gates open February 16th, and you can finally tell your Mom you’ve spent a night in the slammer.