Badass Amsterdam Favorites
There’s a lot happening in Amsterdam. Here are some of the businesses getting us through the cold, dark winter.
- Carré d’artistes
- Monks Coffee Roasters
- Sticks and Stones
- Bourgondisch Lifestyle
BADASS ART PROWL: CARRÉ D’ARTISTES
Carré d’artistes is a network of galleries founded on the radical idea that everyone should be able to afford a piece of art they love. Each gallery features twelve contemporary artists at any given time, each of whom provides art in a variety of styles and sizes to fit any house or budget. Every time your Amsterdam cousins visited the gallery on Spiegelstraat, they were welcomed by a friendly curator who introduced them to a lovely assortment of new artwork, without any pressure to buy. On a street chock full of great galleries, the compelling artwork and friendly reception make Carré d’artistes stand out. It’s not surprising that every week they sell someone their first piece of art.
Carré d’artistes first gallery opened in Aix-en-Provence, France in 2001. There are now 35 galleries around the world, featuring more than 600 international artists. The Netherlands boasts three galleries: one on Spiegelstraat, one in the 9 Straatjes, and one in Den Haag. They’re doing pretty well on the goal to make art fun for people of every age: their youngest customer to date was seven years old!
BADASS NIGHT OUT: MEZRAB
Mezrab is indescribably wonderful, but we’ll do our best to tell you about it. Mezrab is a place where everyone feels at home and walks out with some sort of discovery, whether from the performances or friendly conversations at the bar. Every night has a different focus, from comedy to international music to true stories to spoken word. What they have in common is the feeling of community. The onstage entertainment is the beginning of a conversation, not something you watch in silence before you are kicked out. The audience is a mix of locals, students, and expats looking for English-language events. It’s also apparently a popular spot to meet people from Tinder and Meetup.com.
Performer Sahand Sahebdivani started Mezrab with his university friends in the living room of his parents, who fled Iran and settled in Amsterdam in the 1980’s. His father would make soup and his mother would sing to the guests while Sahand mixed traditional storytelling with comedy and autobiography. Over 13 years, Mezrab has moved locations and expanded, but has always retained the living room atmosphere, the Iranian soup, and the power of the stories. As one Mezrab-er notes, “Amsterdam is considered to be the most international city in the world and home to more than 180 different nationalities. We dare to say Mezrab is the most international place within Amsterdam. Our staff is made of volunteers of almost 180 nationalities. Even the eight-headed ‘Mezrab steering team’ consists of seven nationalities.” There’s a lot happening every week, so check out their Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.
BADASS BRUNCH: MONKS
One of the most terrifying adjustments facing a New Yorker in Amsterdam is the lack of brunch. Thankfully, Monks Coffee Roasters leapt into the gap. Monks has great coffee and food every day, but on Saturdays and Sundays they’ve also started to do a pre-fixe brunch menu. Which makes sense, since their breakfast bowl is their most popular everyday dish.
Monks opened in 2016 with the goal of serving specialty coffee with attentive service. Their Bilderdijkstraat space is roomy, comfortable, and full of light. It’s the kind of place where you see friends hanging out, businesslike meetings, and individuals curled up with books.
BADASS ACCESSORIES: STICKS AND STONES
Sticks and Stones produces colorful and ethically sourced leather coats and accessories. Their leather bags are unmistakable and unforgettable – not to mention being the cause of many a slow walk by the store. Your Amsterdam cousin sometimes has to avoid the street entirely, lest she be drawn into the store’s gravitational pull! Their online presence has a plethora of styles and colors, but it really is worth going to the store on Ceintuurbaan to be impressed by the craftsmanship of the objects and the workshop standing behind the store’s plate glass.
Sticks and Stones started as a young and vintage leather brand in the late 70s, when their Amsterdam home of Waterlooplein was an international fashion center. Today, they are proud to still be family own and operated, maintaining high standards for their goods and how they make them.
BADASS CHEESE EXPERT: BOURGONDISCH LIFESTYLE
Bourgondisch Lifestyle supplies cheese to Michelin star restaurants both in and outside of the Netherlands – as far as Japan! They work with farmers to import their finest cheeses, then further mature them on site to ensure what they deliver is the height of taste and elegance. Luckily for Amsterdammers, they offer this deliciousness to the public at a gourmet delicatessen. In addition to gourmet cheeses, they curate wines from small-scale vineyards near their partner farmers. They also offer Mediterranean delicacies developed by Chef Guilaumme Corneil and a wide assortment of fresh produce from Eyserhalte.