Pathe Theaters – Arena

I recently visited the Pathe Arena theaters to see a new movie (Goldmember) on the day of its release in the Netherlands. As usual, I went during a weekday afternoon. Why? Because not only did I get a nice discount, but the theater was almost empty (like about 8 people in the biggest theater!). I like that!

The seats are ever so comfy here. The red ones in the largest theater are well-padded and wide, with wide arm rests and lots of legroom. No more cramming your legs against the seat in front!

The sound system was awesome, but didn’t seem to work 100% with the movie I came to see, perhaps because it wasn’t filmed in a compatible mode. I counted at least 30 speakers that I could see.

I really like coming here for the reasons I’ve mentioned, and I would come here more often, if they didn’t only show the latest Hollywood-hyped, factory-made movies. What’s wrong with screening something alternative once in awhile? Well there’s certainly no shortage of theaters in Amsterdam showing non-mainstream films. See our article on Amsterdam Movie Theaters for more tips on movie venues.

The only other gripe I have is that the popcorn we got in the afternoon was stale (and encrusted with salt) from the night before. Someone should be shot for doing this. Stale, overly salty popcorn is inexcusable. Let your employees take it home at the end of the night instead, please!

I’ve seen movies in the smaller theaters at the Arena, and they’re all top quality, and airconditioned. Plus there’s no smoking, and usually no pause in the middle of the feature.

Amsterdam Arena Shopping Mall
Amsterdam
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Escape Nightclub

One of Amsterdam’s hottest spots – a multi-media experience on the Rembrandtplein. Lots of events held nightly.

To quote their website:

“Escape Venue has been a fact in the Dutch nightlife since 1987. Exclusive parties, music, light, decoration: all faces of a progressive club venue…For young adults who see themselves in a multi media environment, existing of modern dancemusic, hi-tech lighting, eye caressing visuals and internet.

Sukasari

If you’re looking for a nice, quiet place to hangout for a while right off the Dam Square that won’t set you back a lot of guilders, visit Sukasari.

Located in the very first block heading east from the Dam Monument, Sukasari is on the right side of the street just past the Old Man Headshop. The place is nicely decorated, Indonesian style, and was an oasis for lunch on one of Amsterdam’s hottest summer days. The spinning ceiling fans kept us quite cool as we relaxed over a lengthy business lunch. A steady supply of kleine biertjes chilled us even further.

The food is traditional Indonesian, not hot and spicy like Thai food. The menu is extensive, and they offer daily lunch specials if you don’t have a clue as to what to order…

The appetizers range from the standard shrimp-flavored kropek crispies to soups (meatball, chicken, chicken-corn or vegetable) and loempias. They offer a variety of sate’s (chicken on skewers) with the usual peanut sauces, and traditional bami (noodle) and nasi (rice) dishes. (Prices range from f5.25 for an appetizer to f22.50 for the most expensive item on the menu.)

Sukasari will also make up a Rijstafel with a variety of eleven Indonesian dishes for you to sample. (Priced at f45 per person.)

Being reasonably priced is the main attraction here, with a lunch special geared to the wallets of travelers who want a quiet oasis near the Dam Square. Be sure to ask for some hot chili sauce for your dishes to spice things up!

Sukasari is open from noon until 11:30 in the evenings Tuesdays thru Saturdays. On Mondays they are open from 4:30 pm until 11:30 pm. Closed Sundays.

Bimhuis

No longer in the traditional Dutch Canal House it began in, this landmark in Dutch Jazz music began in 1974, organized by the Dutch Jazz Foundation and the union of improvising musicians, BIM. They convinced the Dutch government to provide grants for improvised music which led to the establishment of the Bimhuis. Such jazz legends as Charles Mingus, Max Roach, Dexter Gordon, Sun Ra, Art Blakey all played here. More than a hundred LP’s and CD’s have come out of sessions at the Bimhuis.

Moved to a new place recently, now a striking black box, part of the Muziekgebouw complex, a great new home to this veteran venue for jazz concerts.

Tibet Restaurant

We discovered this relaxing refuge from the hectic pace of the Red Light District, after showing a friend around the area. We were pretty burned out as we’d been walking all over town for many hours, and our last hour in the Red Light Light district was spent dodging tourists and listening to pounding house music in coffeeshops.

The Tibet restaurant welcomed us and restored us with it’s wonderfully exotic ambiance while the soothing Tibetan music put us in the proper calm mood to enjoy the tasty delights of this popular dining spot. The Tibetan artworks on the walls including eyecatching tankas and colorful woven tapestries that transported our city-tortured souls to distant Himalayan villages were the inward journey is as awe-inspiring as the lofty peaks.

We ordered from a menu filled with Chinese delights, including the spicy flavors of Shechuan. I ordered a delicious Kung Pao Chicken, and my friend had a delightful shrimp and fried noodle dish (bird’s nest style, photo above). The food was perfect, the service good, and we left feeling refreshed and centered. So if you’re in the mood for a transcendental treat, the Tibet Restaurant is just the ticket.