Five reasons to visit Basis, the 'bring your own food' bar in Amsterdam

Five reasons to visit Basis, the 'bring your own food' bar in Amsterdam


Café, club and cultural hang-out Basis is back and based on the turn out for the opening, it’s a welcome addition to the Amsterdam social scene. 

What is Basis?

Beginning as a pop-up in an empty shop-front on the Vijzelstraat in 2011, Basis turned the popular concept of "bring your own beer" inside out by offering a variety of drinks, a space to socialise and the ability to bring (and the appliances to cook or menus to order) your own food.

Needless to say, the bare-bones establishment created one of the most welcoming atmospheres in Amsterdam and became a huge hit.

Attracting a mix of the hip, the partiers, the artsy and the generally curious, Basis was a breath of fresh air in an increasingly stale Amsterdam Centrum.

However, as is the fickle nature of pop-ups, Basis’ Vijzelstraat run came to an end in May 2013.

Fortunately for us, owners Michiel and Jan quickly found a new location in a former community centre in De Pijp nestled between the Van Woustraat and the Amstel.

Five reasons to visit the new Basis Amsterdam

As evidenced by the massive turn-out for the opening, Basis is back and in a big way. If you haven’t had the chance to pay them a visit yet, here are five reasons you should. 

Location change is a good thing. 

The Vijzelstraat location may have been central, but it was busy and ended up lacking the space needed to accommodate the growing crowd on busy nights.

The new building on the Tolstraat gives Basis something everyone wanted: outdoor space.

What the 1970s era building may lack in aesthetics, it more than makes up for with a bigger two-room interior and a terrace out front. Also be sure to check out the wooden tree sculptures (very meta!) by the bar that add a welcome contemporary touch.

 "Bring your own food" policy.

Thankfully, this policy remains unchanged. Simple, but profoundly effective, bringing food or ordering-in drastically cuts down on the cost of a night out and contributes to a more social, "sharing is caring" environment.

A step further, Basis provides the appliances, cutlery and dishes you need for a full meal. And get this: they’ll even wash up after you’re done.

Basis Amsterdam 2014

basis grand opening amsterdam

Basis Amsterdam Terrace

Music to move to.

Equipped with a brand-new sound system, the DJs and live bands Basis brings are there for the crowd.

From funk to minimal tech to hip-hop mixes, these guys and gals look to get the crowd moving. Better yet, the Basis visitors will actually be dancing to the beat.

Check all pretensions at the door and get down on their new, larger dance floor.  

› "Open for anything" cultural programming.

Are you a painter in need of exhibition space? A poet that wants to do a reading? An experimental musician looking to showcase new sound-art? Make a proposal!

With an attitude grounded in freedom of expression, Basis is a malleable institution that embraces the creative. On the flip side, this audacious approach to programming ensures that the events are never dull.

› People-focused, friendly ambience.

Above all, Basis is a place for open-minded individuals to relax, create, network and enjoy. It’s a good mix of both (friendly) Dutch locals and internationals in Amsterdam.

Although many places claim to attract this crowd, few do so as effortlessly as Basis. Order a coffee, bring your own snack, stay for one of their delicious lunches or drop by for a party, the staff will surely welcome you with genuine interest and a smile!

Basis practical info

City: Amsterdam
 Address: Tolstraat 182, 1074 VM 
 Hours: Sun-Thu 12pm-1am | Fri -Sat 12pm-3am 
 What: Bar, Café, Restaurant, Dance Club
› Contact: Send them a message here.
› Check out upcoming events on the agenda.

Benjamin Garstka


Benjamin Garstka

Raised in Massachusetts. University years in New York City. Graduate school in Utrecht. Amsterdammer by choice. Cultuurliefhebber. Urbanist. Affinity for sarcasm, craft beers, art criticism, stand-up comedy and the Dutch...

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