The 13 Best Bars in Amsterdamby Akshayaa RaniM, 19 January 2024
The Dutch capital is known for its party scene, and Amsterdam's bars are proof of that. As the sun goes down, Amsterdam's canals light up with exciting places to grab a drink.
The city has all kinds of bars, from cosy spots for an early evening to lively places that buzz late into the night. Each bar has its own story, mixing old traditions with new styles. Whether you like local beers or fancy cocktails, Amsterdam's bars offer a journey of flavours.
During the day, explore historic brown cafes and tasting rooms and sip traditional Dutch jenever. By night, head to trendy speakeasies and lounges where skilled bartenders work their magic with creative cocktails using unique ingredients and techniques.
Amsterdam's love of spirits goes beyond jenever, with a growing passion for various gin and tonic combinations. Whether you prefer classic or inventive mixes, the city's bars have it all. Beer lovers can enjoy Dutch brews at Proeflokaal Arendsnest and Brouwerij 't IJ, while a casual Heineken by the canal is always a good choice.
Let's explore the famous streets and discover the top 13 bars that showcase the heart of Amsterdam's nightlife. These bars, both old favourites and unexplored territories, make Amsterdam's drinking scene rich and diverse.
Cheers to exploring the vibrant drinking culture of this fascinating city!
Let's kick off this list with a bar that captures the lively and vibrant atmosphere of Amsterdam. Located on the Singelgracht Canal, Waterkant is in the city centre, but far enough away from the tourist hotspots to make visitors feel like they're in a local watering hole.
Hidden beneath a huge car park, this bar is tucked away between two concrete spirals. It's both colourful and rustic, with a huge terrace overlooking the canal.
And while Waterkant is known for its lively pub quizzes, discos and the famous Amsterdam Dance Event, what will probably keep people coming back is the delicious menu of Surinamese food, such as buns filled with tasty Surinamese ingredients, and their drinks, of course!
2. Hannekes Boom
Hannekes Boom is one of Amsterdam's best-kept secrets. Located on the waterfront of Nieuwe Uilenburgerstraat in Amsterdam, this venue was once a hangout for shipyard workers.
Today, Hannekes Boom attracts a more diverse crowd with its mix of rustic charm, artistic flair and relaxed atmosphere. It's famous for its cosy wooden terrace on the waterfront, with picturesque views of passing boats and the iconic Nemo Science Museum.
If comfort is a priority, Hannekes Boom won't disappoint. The menu is a treasure trove of comfort food, from tasty snacks to hearty meals. There's also a wide selection of drinks, including craft beers and creative cocktails to suit all tastes and preferences.
And here's a tip: before planning a visit to Hannekes Boom, check out their dynamic events calendar. It's full of must-see entertainment events such as live music, DJ sessions and cultural gatherings.
3. Brouwerij ‘t IJ
What could be more Amsterdam than a bathhouse turned brewery underneath a windmill overlooking a canal?
Located just east of the city centre, this bar is one of the most quintessentially Dutch bars one can find in Amsterdam. Its unique style, huge outdoor terrace, and spectacular beer are all major crowd-pullers too!
Brouwerij 't IJ will spoil visitors with its range of craft beers. From classic pilsners to rich and flavourful ales, each beer here is brewed with precision and passion. That’s not all, visitors to Brouwerij 't IJ can also enjoy guided tours to learn about the brewing process, the history of the brewery, and sample the exceptional beers.
4. Vesper Bar
You can find Vesper Bar in the charming little streets of The Jordaan.
And if the name sounds familiar, don’t be surprised. 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.
But don’t worry, there’s more than margaritas, shaken not stirred, served here. The menu is full of classics the bar has perfected over its decade 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. Just ask nicely and Vesper will go out of their way to accommodate their guest’s needs.
5. Door 74
This elusive speakeasy may be hard to spot until you discover its discreet entrance and ring the buzzer.
Tucked away behind an unassuming door, Door 74 is known for its expertly crafted cocktails and intimate ambience that’s a nod to the classic Prohibition Era. Step back in time with an interior that features dark wood, antique barware, and a tin ceiling.
The menu is also something to talk about! It features a mix of classic and innovative cocktails, such as the "Simon the Fruit Vendor," a delightful blend of Old Simon genever, Cocchi red vermouth, and raspberry eau de vie, which make Door 74 well-worth the hunt.
6. TonTon Club Centrum
More than just an arcade, TonTon Club is an arcade that sells beer. The entertainment flows as freely as the drinks with an extensive range of arcade games. From classic air hockey and basketball to dance machines and board games like Jenga, TonTon Club ensures that every visitor has a great time.
What sets this place apart is its eccentric location in the heart of the red light district, next to the historic Oude Kerk, Amsterdam's oldest building. Positioned as a vibrant hotspot for Amsterdam's nightlife, TonTon Club brings a unique blend of playful nostalgia and urban energy to the city.
7. Proeflokaal Arendsnest
Belgium and Germany may be the beer stars, but Proeflokaal puts Amsterdam in the spotlight with a diverse collection of Dutch beers that goes beyond the ever-popular Heineken.
Proeflokaal Arendsnest is a cosy bar with wood panelling and copper accents, featuring over 400 Dutch breweries. The bar proudly offers 52 Dutch beers on tap and another 100 in bottles. If beer isn't your thing, there are also ciders, liqueurs, whiskeys and more than 40 types of gin - all authentically Dutch. It's a delightful journey into the flavours of Dutch brewing, right in the heart of this welcoming establishment.
8. Kapitein Zeppos
Kapitein Zeppos is nestled down a tight lane in the old religious quarter and is ideal for those on the hunt for good food and classic drinks.
The food is brilliant, offering breakfast, lunch, dinner, and group meals. They also have a private room for hire if one would like to throw a private party.
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
Tucked away on a peaceful corner near the edge of the Red Light District, Hiding in Plain Sight is a discreet gem, its unassuming exterior making it easy to stroll past without a second glance.
The staff are friendly and very well dressed. The bar is styled after a prohibition speakeasy.
Their menu, resembling a thick book, 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
Café 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 if you want to grab a table.
Despite its small size, it has over 58 Belgian beers to choose from, and the atmosphere is great. It's adorably small, with a giant bright tiger painting, nostalgic beers, travel posters, candles and red velvet seats.
They also host low-key DJ sets, which you can listen to on Red Light Radio, and are part of a local street art initiative, which is displayed on their walls.
11. Wynand Fockink
Steeped in history, Wynand Fockink is a traditional Dutch jenever distillery and tasting room that's been around since 1679.
And while its collection of spirits has grown, the bar has managed to retain its 17th-century charm, with tall windows and wooden shelves lined with jenever bottles.
Visitors can sample a variety of jenevers, liqueurs and Dutch gin, immersing themselves in the rich heritage of Amsterdam's distilled spirits.
12. Dukes of Tokyo
Japanese karaoke culture takes Amsterdam by storm at this bar in the city. Dukes of Tokyo is like entering the streets of Tokyo. It’s a real experience!
Located by the flower market around the corner from one of the main party squares in Amsterdam, Rembrandtplein, this is one of the trendiest bars in the city.
Dukes of Tokyo has private karaoke rooms for teams of those with a shyer disposition.
The drinks menu is expansive and covers the basics for all tastes.
13. Café de Koe
Cafe de Koe is just around the corner from Leideplien, another major party spot in Amsterdam's nightlife. So it's a great place to start the night, or for a more relaxed affair.
It's relaxed, with little to no decoration. But there's plenty of fun to be had, with events such as pub quizzes, board games and darts a regular feature.
There's also a restaurant downstairs with a beef menu that's a must-try!
Yes, the Amsterdam nightlife is pretty exciting. It’s a great international city for work so it’s no surprise they have great options in the after-work department.
What’s most exciting about the best bars in the Amsterdam list is they showcase the range on offer. From trendy bars, cocktail bars, gin bars, classy bars, and more, this is a city that really knows how to party.
And be sure to rejuvenate the next morning at one of the best brunch spots in Amsterdam.
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