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Check out the vintage cigarette automate at the Brandweer Bar

Through the eyes of a G(raduate)

Sometimes I go for a run in the morning. The streets are calm, I should be too, but I am all about tracking my time. Not because I am aiming for the ‘quantified selfie’, the ‘Hello there Instagram, check out today´s calorie burn’-photo, but because I look forward to reaching my doorsteps again and the feeling of endorphins kicking in. Quicker than I think, I can say: thank god this is over again!

However, usually endings frustrate me. They remind me of time passing by, a time, not as easy to track as my morning run. The closing of the Mandril, was one of those endings. When it closed its doors earlier this year, Maastricht lost one of its funkiest student hangouts. Instead of take home exams and papers, it offered what every student should have more often: table tennis and a beer, bonfires and poetry slams.

Luckily, the political cultural centre opened its doors again this weekend. After a lot of ups and downs with Maastricht´s municipality, they found new location in Cabergerweg 45 to start “the first cooperation between spontaneous idealist squatters and rule-abiding municipality officials  - a fusion between the Kunstfront and Mandril”. I haven´t been there yet, but I look forward to having a look soon.

Only 10 minutes away from the Mandril, another exiting ‘beginning’ took place - the Brandweer Bar opened its doors. When arriving at the official opening, I was still lingering over the strawberry-red pepper gimlets they had served the night before at the art space/gallery just next-door. My friends looked at me with sleepy eyes and trust me; they are more telling than any ‘last-night-stories’. Blinded by pink light, illuminating the room behind the the bar, I am trying to make out who I know – lots of familiar faces, I see ‘Trader Poppers’, ‘Take 5ers’ and the crowd from the Café Zondag, whose new baby this place is.

Rewind, this might set the wrong impression – this place is spacious – a former fire brigade that now unifies restaurant, bar and art space. As ‘Amish Winehouse’ is playing in the background, followed by Maastricht´s crème de la crème dancing to Jazzy tunes, I try to take in as much as I can. It is a combination of random/retro and chic, where even attention has been paid to the smallest details. There are colorful lamps hanging from the high ceilings, remnants of the past, just like the fire brigade´s doors, which give the whole restaurant a warehouse like feeling. Check out the vintage cigarette automate if you are there…not for smoking, just because it looks pretty cool. 

This place might just be changing Maastricht´s nightlife forever.

Lea Schäfer

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