Polly Goudvisch Café

Polly Goudvisch Café is a new bar and restaurant based in North Amsterdam, designed by Studio Modijefsky to have a contemporary feel while nodding to traditional Amsterdam styles with elements such as wooden panelling, brass and copper details, and mixed materials inside.

  • area / size 4,306 sqft
  • Year 2023
  • Location Amsterdam, Netherlands,
  • There’s a new beacon in North Amsterdam luring people to cross the river IJ: Polly Goudvisch. As soon as you step on the ferry from Amsterdam Central Station you can see the outline of this two-storey bar and restaurant illuminated by lightbulbs. And as soon as you step off the ferry, it’s just a few steps to the playful lettering of the Polly logo outside and the vast terrace that offer an irresistible invitation to step inside.

    Polly is the new flagship of the Goudvisch family, a group of bars spread throughout Amsterdam. As the first to take up residence in the north of the city, Polly represents a new chapter for the family – she has her own character and charms, but is still clearly a Goudvisch. Indeed, coming here feels like visiting your favourite aunt who loves traditions, knows all the recipes for your favourite dishes, and hosts regular gatherings for all the family. The interior is a nod to the traditional Amsterdam brown café, with wooden panelling on the walls, brass and copper details, and elaborate woodwork like twisted table legs. Materials and patterns, old and new, are mixed to create a venue that feels like it’s been there forever, but has a distinctly contemporary feel.

    The bar is Polly’s beating heart – not just because of its sheer size, but thanks to the materials and refined details that invite you to draw closer. As you approach the floor turns from wood into black and white terrazzo. A pleasant glow is spread from the light spheres that drop down from the ceiling. The bar itself is finished in a variety of materials in warm earthy tones with Goudvisch logo details. The fishtail reappears in both 2D and 3D form, integrated in the design of the cupboard and the glass plateau. To make the most of the bar’s length, the front is covered with an array of materials: coloured marbles, wood and copper in an array of finishes. A panel in the middle of the bar portrays the fishtail made from marble, mirrored vertically. Two pillars rising out of the bar are covered in the same burnt orange glossy tiles featured in the vestibule. Circular plateaus made from textured glass and steel with integrated lighting are placed around the pillars, so that wine and waterglasses can be placed on top of them.

    The restaurant is a long but intimate space, naturally divided in the middle by the entrance. It consists of one open area and a series of small interconnected spaces, each with its own atmosphere. The open area has two group tables, one high, one low, attached to the two columns with lights wrapped around them. Each of the smaller spaces has its own layout with custom-made sofas and furniture, different wall finishes and bespoke light fixtures. Most of the tables are finished in wood, with some high gloss purple accents.

    The terrace is covered with parasols in red, pink and purple unicolour, combined with black, white and grey striped fabrics. Around the border of the terrace there’s a custom-made foldable wooden windscreen that features textured and normal glass embossed with the Polly Goudvisch logo, which is a recurrent motif throughout. Custom-made benches are located alongside the building frontage with round and heart-shaped table tops. The tail of the Goudvisch logo is incorporated into the in- and outside corners of the benches. Using a warmer tone of wood, you’ll see the triangle part of the logo upside down, made with obliquely finished slats placed side by side to form a fan-shape. This design continues in the terrace tables and In the sides of the extra service point. Planters are incorporated on the sides of the service station, in the middle of the benches placed under the parasols and on the outsides of the fence, making the terrace feel like a homelike backyard in spring. As the terrace offers a wide view over the river IJ, it has a wonderful spaciousness compared to the crowded city centre on the other side of the water. After crossing the terrace, you’ll arrive at the main entrance to Polly. Step through the vestibule and you will see that it’s made from oakwood and glass, with brass doorhandles in a mirrored upside-down triangle shape that forms the tail of the Goudvisch logo. Glossy burnt orange tiles wrap around each column.

    Design: Studio Modijefsky
    Design Team: Esther Stam, Moene van Werven, Agnese Pellino, Christel Willers, Ivana Stella, Felicia Ureña, Beata Karlsson
    Photography: Maarten Willemstein