Redesigned Hot Spot
“I want to build a permanent campground for sick, healing and handicapped kids,” shares Ted Challenger, owner/operator of The Amsterdam Lounge. “It’s been a dream of ours for 20+ years and the system and team are in place to take this journey.”
Challenger moved to Boise from Atlanta in 1986. He’s also lived in Durango, Colorado.
“I always felt I was supposed to be out west with its big wide open spaces,” reflects Challenger. “I love the people of Boise–their spirit to make this the best city you can find anywhere.” He purchased the Bistro, a legendary party spot for college kids, when he was 22. “Not many people grew up in this town without having a drink in there.”
But on St. Patrick’s Day, Challenger closed down the Bistro after being in business for 23 years. He revamped the space to create the Amsterdam Lounge, which opened in mid May. “I wanted to test myself and create something that is more about who I am now and who I am becoming.”
He decided that he could regain those grown college customers with a grown up version of the space.
“This concept is designed for the direction Boise is going, not necessarily like how it is now,” he explains. “I did the same for China Blue, my dance club. The first two years were hard, but the rest is a history of success with that club.”
If the past is any indicator of the future, the Amsterdam Lounge will be a success.
“The name Amsterdam came from a cruise ship I worked on,” shares Challenger. “I love the European way of life. It’s a slower more relaxed pace than the United States. When I was on the cruise ship I was amazed at all the small spaces for lounging, art work, incredible beverages and cuisine, and the ability to sit back and watch the world go by. I studied Amsterdam and will travel there to find art and things to enhance the experience of the Amsterdam Lounge.
“We are one of the largest spaces to offer such high quality cocktails, wine list, craft beers, and our truly amazing coffee bar. All these elements are usually done in small space lounges. If you’re tired of being crammed into small spaces, or having to whisper your conversations because you’re on top of people, you will love all the space and comfortable seating you have in the lounge. We offer people room to explore and enjoy small quaint social situations, or join in on the fun in larger groups.”
From comfortable seating for fostering the lost art of conversation to areas that offer games (pool, shuffleboard, and an 80s arcade), the Amsterdam is designed to appeal to groups large and small.
Sarah Crowell helped design the Amsterdam Lounge.
“Her creative talents are endless, and she helped bring the ideas to fruition,” notes Challenger, who found her easy to work with. She guided Challenger on how to bring what he wanted to reality. “She has an amazing eye. It was the most fun working with her.” Other key players that helped realize his vision are Clay Carley, Max Lylie, Paul Valentine. “And the best crew a businessman could ask for,” Challenger adds.
The Amsterdam offers a relaxing oasis in downtown Boise for patrons 21 and over.
“The design of the lounge is to promote socializing, with visual stimulation that creates an idea for you to explore,” notes Challenger. “This is a work in progress; it will grow and morph so much as we continue to grow and express ourselves.”
Lounge Bites include the popular Brie which is flash fried for a few seconds to seal in the flavor of the cheese. The individual wheel is served warm with Chipotle Marion Berry coulis, toasted baguette, and fresh berries The most popular drinks are the Ginger-Lemongrass Martini, the Chilled Espresso Martini, and The Primal Coffee, which is made with grass fed butter. Challenger’s personal favorite is the Moscow Mule. “It is amazing with fresh locally made Ginger beer,” he describes. The Amsterdam offers nonalcoholic drinks too–any coffee drink you can imagine, tea and kombucha.
“We offer the most amazing coffee: Fonte out of Seattle, one of the best roasters in the Northwest.”
“I have been in the nightclub/hospitality business for 25 years,” says Challenger. “I am self taught with much help from others.” Challenger is up for the next challenge, besides the campground for needy children. “I am getting ready to go into the coffee shop business around the valley in the next few months.”
We’ll be ready to camp out on his next doorstep.