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.
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.
And we’d be fools not to remind you that the kitchen does a great menu of Surinamese food!
2) Hannekes Boom
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3) 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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
Down the stairs, the restaurant has a bovine themed menu that will take you by surprise.
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