Monday, May 18, 2009


by Laura Neilson

Most of us associate the term "mini-bar" with hotel room fridges harboring overpriced soft drinks, booze and snacks, but in Amsterdam, it's a decidedly unusual addition to the city's nightlife. Minibar, the recently-opened drinking spot in the Dutch city's center, operates by allowing customers to serve themselves from the bar's series of variously-sized beverage coolers.

After checking in with a staff member (passport or driver's license required), patrons receive an ice bucket and a key to one of 45 self-serve bars lining the length of the space. Potable options include beer, champagne and mixed spirits (and yes, snack items too).

The bar's interior, designed by Concrete (the architecture firm responsible for the Netherlands' award-winning Citizen M hotels), exudes a chic industrial aesthetic that showcases the various offerings available behind gleaming glass doors.

Minibar's novel setup is an upscale revival of the automat concept that combines the convenience and instant gratification of helping oneself, along with the social benefits of a lively public atmosphere. It's definitely a sleek example of thinking outside the "bar."

Prinsengracht 478
Amsterdam, Netherlands map
tel. +31 20 4221935

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