The Kafe Antzokia arts centre emerged as a place for Basque speakers to meet and as a stage for Basque culture and other cultures.
The Kafe Antzokia occupied what used to be the premises of the San Vicente cinema. They underwent full refurbishment involving the removal of the seats, among other things, and the space was turned into an open, multipurpose area. The project was driven by a group of Basque-language teachers. Given the clear lack of options for speaking Basque in Bilbao outside classes, these spaces and occasions offered the possibility of enjoying leisure activities and promoting natural relations in Basque, so necessary for the learning process.
The aim was also to offer a place where the thousands of Basque speakers living all over Bilbao could meet. These were people who had no physical reference where they could use their language naturally. So the idea was to create that reference enabling not only the usual speakers to meet, but also to provide those who had learnt Basque as adults as well as those who were learning the language with a reference, and thus form a consolidated speech community. So the Kafe Antzokia emerged with this aim, but together with a catering project, which would make it viable from a self-funding perspective. It was located in the centre of Bilbao so that it would be centre-stage in this project.
At the Kafe Antzokia it is possible to find activities taking place at any time of day, right from first thing in the morning and until the early hours of the morning.