13 Best Bars in Amsterdam

by HarryPrince,  18 November 2020
by Harry Prince, 18 November 2020
13 Best Bars in Amsterdam

It’s common to refer to Amsterdam bars as cafes. Coffee shops, on the other hand, are an entirely different thing. If you’re looking for the best Coffee Shops, well, this isn’t the list you’re searching for. 

For those looking for bars, Amsterdam is a city where people live, study, and vacation. And the bars reflect that. They have it all: elegant cocktails, understated beer, crazy parties, and cosy gatherings.

We’ve put together the best bars in Amsterdam, so you’re prepared for your visit. 

1) Waterkant
Outdoor impression from bar Waterkant in Amsterdam
Waterkant at Night via iamsterdam

Waterkant is located on the Singelgracht canal, which means it’s within the city centre, but far enough away from the tourist hotspots. 

Hidden underneath a massive car park, it’s nestled underneath two spirals of concrete. The bar is colourful and rustic, with a huge terrace sitting on the bank of the canal. 

The Waterkant is well known for its lively pub quiz and discos. It’s also a venue for the illustrious Amsterdam Dance Event

And we’d be fools not to remind you that the kitchen does a great menu of Surinamese food! 

2) Hannekes Boom
Snapshot from outdoor cafe Hannekes Boom
Hannekes Boom via Vacaturevia

Hannekes Boom is a great summer hangout. It’s built with recycled wood, giving off great beach vibes

Frequented by locals, it’s tucked away behind the Nemo Museum, overlooking the water.

They have great local DJ’s on their event calendar, and do superb food too!  

3) Brouwerij ‘t IJ
Outdoor image of Brouwerij 't IJ
Brouwerij ‘t IJ Cafe Frits by David Stegenga via Brouwerij ‘t IJ

What could be more Amsterdam than a bathhouse turned brewery underneath a windmill overlooking a canal? 

Brouwerij ‘t IJ is located just east of the city centre. It’s popular for its unique style and huge outdoor terrace. The beer they produce is spectacular too; it’s well-stocked in bars and supermarkets across the city.  

The short tour is a bargain at just €6.50. It lasts 20 minutes and you get a free beer after. 

In the taproom a whole range of beers is offered, plus there are always some limited edition and specials on draft that cannot be purchased anywhere else. To accompany your beer, Brouwerij ’t IJ offers some simple and local bites.

4) Vesper Bar
Men enjoying a drink in an Amsterdam bar
Vesper Bar via Vesperbar

You can find Vesper Bar in the charming little streets of The Jordaan. 

The name pays homage to the James Bond franchise: Vesper, the only woman he truly ever loved. There’s no 007 merchandise on the wall, though. All that remains is his sense of elegance and his taste in fine drinks. 

The menu is full of classics they’ve perfected over ten years of service. 

They also do themed guest menus, such as their take on small Japanese bar culture. But when the menu changes, the drinks aren’t necessarily gone. If you ask nicely, they will go out of their way to accommodate you at Vesper. 

5) Amsterdam Roest 
Amsterdam Roest outdoor bar
Amsterdam Roest via Catch52

Roest is a terrific example of urban renewal; it’s an abandoned shipyard at its core still. It’s currently being renovated and promises to come back better than before!

It’s both a place to chill and to party. Roest does a regular pop disco which is unashamedly fun. The rest of their calendar is more diverse.

The new Roest will have a shop focusing on affordable art; a bigger restaurant and terrace; and, to accommodate the new flats being built around them, they’re incorporating noise pollution insulation so they can keep the party going!

You’ll find Roest just to the east of the city centre. It’s walkable but most accessible by bike.

6) TonTon Club Centrum
Cafe with arcade games
TonTon Club via culturetrip

TonTon Club is an arcade that sells beer. You can find any arcade game you might think of: air hockey, basketball, punch bags, dance machines, board games, Jenga. It’s, simply, amazing. 

The location is even crazier. It’s located in the heart of the Red Light District, next to the Oude Kerk (Amsterdam’s oldest building). So it’s a real hotspot for Amsterdam nightlife.

The bar is always busy, but there are so many games that you’ll never be empty-handed. 

7) The Duchess
Elegant and mysterious bar in Amsterdam centrum
The Duchess Bar via TheDuchess

The Duchess is actually a Michelin star restaurant. The Duchess Bar is its attachment. 

It’s a grand looking place: expensive-looking marble, high glass ceilings, and impressive chandeliers. 

It’s located right in the middle of the city, a block away from Dam Square. 

As you can expect from a Michelin star restaurant, the cocktails are really really good. The Pinot Noir Old Fashioned stood out for us. It’s a brave choice, if you can stomach red wine and whisky in the same glass. 

8) Kapitein Zeppos
Cosy and bohemian cafe with outdoor terrace
Kapitein Zeppo’s via Zeppos

Zeppo’s is nestled down a tight lane in the old religious quarter.

The food is brilliant, offering breakfast, lunch, dinner, and group meals. They also have private room hire.

Despite being down a dead-end, the natural light in Zeppos is lovely. It is decorated in a mishmash of Mediterranean colours and decorations, making it one of the most charming and authentic-looking bars in the city. 

9) Hiding in Plain Sight
Luxurious and elegant bar in Amsterdam
Hiding in Plain Sight via Bestrestaurant

As you can tell from its name, you might walk past Hiding in Plain Sight. So here are some directions.  

The staff are friendly and very well dressed. The bar is styled after a prohibition speakeasy. 

The menu is a staple of classic cocktails with a tiki vibe. They also offer recipes of their favourites on their website so you can try them from home! 

It’s small and very popular, so our advice is to get there early or book a table. 

10) Café Belgique
Classic and imposing Amsterdam cafe
Cafe Belgique via cafebelgique

Cafe Belgique is located just off the main shopping street in the city. It’s perfect if you need a break, or to hide.

The bar is tiny. It has two tables, and three bar stools at a push. So get there early, or hope you have luck on your side.

Despite its small size, it has over 58 Belgian beers to choose from.

If and when you do get in, it looks terrific. It’s adorably small, has a huge gaudy tiger painting, nostalgic beer, travel posters, candles, and red velvet seats.

They also host lowkey DJ sets that you can hear on Red Light Radio, and are part of a local street art initiative which is featured on their walls.

11) Café Oporto
Classic bar in Amsterdam
Cafe Oporto via tripadvisor

Cafe Oporto is located just off Dam Square. Hidden down a quiet lane, it’s a safe place to hide from all the tourists and action. 

It’s a beautiful place to have a drink. The large neon archway behind the bar is the centrepiece. Candles, antique woodwork, and hanging instruments add to the scene. 

This cafe is known for its friendly and peaceful atmosphere. Oh, and it’s cheap by Amsterdam standards… 


12) Dukes of Tokyo
Quirky and Tokyo-inspired bar
Dukes of Tokyo via missethoreca

Are you looking for Japanese karaoke culture in Amsterdam? Dukes of Tokyo is like entering the streets of Tokyo. It’s a real experience! 

You’ll find it by the flower market around the corner from Rembrandtplein, one of the main party Squares. It’s one of the many trendy bars in the city for sure. 

This bar has private karaoke rooms for you and your team or those with a shyer disposition. 

The drinks menu is expansive and covers the basics for all tastes. 

13) Café de Koe 
Cosy and rustic cafe in the centre of Amsterdam
Cafe de Koe via cafedekoe

Cafe de Koe is just around the corner from Leideplien, another major party square of Amsterdam nightlife. So it’s ideal for starting the night, or for a more chilled affair. 

It’s laidback, with little to no decoration. But there’s fun to be had, with events like pub quizzes, as well as board games, and darts being regular features. 

Down the stairs, the restaurant has a bovine themed menu that will take you by surprise. 

Wrapping up

Yes, the Amsterdam nightlife is pretty exciting. It is a great international city for work. So it’s no surprise they have great options in the after-work department. 

What excites us most about this best bars in Amsterdam list is it showcases the range on offer. From trendy bars, cocktail bars, gin bars, classy bars, to… less than classy bars.

And be sure to rejuvenate the next morning at one of the best brunch spots in Amsterdam.  

If we’ve missed a place you think deserves to be on this best bars in Amsterdam list, please pull us up for it. We’d love to hear from you! 

Featured image: Bars in Amsterdam via Time 

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