Food & Drink

The Netherlands becomes The Somewhat Closerlands

Amsterdam seems likes one of those places that's sweet to visit but not to live in, what with the constant smoking leading to short-term memory loss, and Amsterdam seems likes one of those places that's sweet to visit but not to live in. Bringing that culture closer (but still far enough to get away from): Amsterdam Bar & Hall.

A Dutch-themed rock venue from the proprietors of Nordeast's 331 Club, Amsterdam's assailing downtown St. Paul with Nether-nosh 'n drink in a modern-meets-deconstructed, two-stage, two-bar warehouse-y space that'll be mainly cover-free, which hopefully doesn't mean bands can't tribute Golden Earring's Nederpop opus "Radar Love". The smallish menu's got mini sandwiches called broodjes (with fillings like curried seafood salad, and herring), Indonesian fried spring rolls (loempias) that're popular in Amsterdam, and even Dusseldorf mustard-topped crouquets called bitterballin, also how to describe a longtime hippie who's forced to wear underpants. They've also got an expansive Dutch and Belgian beer menu (from Grolsch to La Trappe Quadrupel), plus regional spirits like gin's ancestor, the juniper-flavored, mega-alcoholic genever; for after dinner/ drinks, there're goodies like their actually not "pot brownies", and, sometimes, an apricot/ hazelnut/ rosemary cake called boterkoek met abrikozen -- also the Dutch language title of When Harry Met Sally.

For non-musical/-gastronomical fun, they've got tables for the traditional game Sjoelbak -- basically like shuffleboard but somehow involving arches, which're also found on many of the charming cobblestone streets of Amsterdam, which by the way, has this awesome, traditional shuffleboard game called Sjoelbak.