Weigh House (De Waag in Dutch) is an old Leiden merchant mart on the street of Aalmarkt, a place that sold various high quality goods from its opening in 1657 to 1972, when a unit of cheese was the mart's final sell.
Until the summer of 2015, when De Waag re-emerged as ‘Waag’, a modernized moniker that is now plastered across the restored facade in neon green lights. Keeping in line with its history, Waag is still selling fine goods, but this time — food, coffee and libations. Local restaurant group Debuut, swooped up the ol' gem two years ago and begun to dust off, restore and evolve the space into Venture Restaurant & Cafe.
All original architecture was carefully preserved and restored to be new once again. Upon entering the restaurant, an open, yet highly systematic layout was put into place. The green and metal mesh backs of long banquettes become a hallway leading new patrons to the host area. Textured velvets outfit the furniture, while galleries of framed photographs line the brick walls. Back-lit wall shelves glow in the evenings and feature locally blown glass trinkets, that playfully complement the purple checked wallcovering.
The original cobblestone floor peeks through at times, as it makes an entrance between washed oak wood planks. Here, Debuut did a smart job of mixing old with new, while maintaining the integrity of the establishment's past.