There are over a thousand cafes and bars dotted all over the city. But if you’re looking for something special, consider these.
City center: Double Tree hotel’s SkyLounge rooftop bar
This hotel is next to Central Station, 5 minutes walk, and close to the red light district. The fantastic views all over the city including the very oldest part make up for the high prices for drinks. Just take the elevator to the 11th floor even if you’re not a hotel guest, but do order at least a drink. (And it’s actually the 12th floor by American counting.)
City center: Spanjer & Van Twist
One of my favorite places for coffee or lunch is Spanjer & Van Twist in the canal belt. It’s very close to Anne Frank House and Westerkerk church. It has a lovely and exciting terrace close by the canal, see the photo above. Inside: go upstairs for the nicest tables.
This place tends to have super friendly waiters which is rare in Amsterdam. Leliegracht 60.
City center: Cafe Eijlders
This brown cafe with mostly locals is like an oasis on Leidseplein with all its flashy, touristy overpriced bars. Close to Melkweg, Paradiso, Sugarfactory, Jimmy Woo nightclubs. Korte Leidsedwarsstraat 47.
City center: Cafe Marcella and Cafe Krom
Both these cafes are brown bars with a typically Amsterdam feel. Krom is on Utrechtsestraat and Marcella just around the corner from it, looking out onto Prinsengracht. Marcella serves great food, for example in winter you can try typically Dutch pea soup with bacon and rye bread on the side. Close to FOAM photo museum, and Rembrandtplein. Krom: Utrechtsestraat 76. Marcella: Amstelveld 21.
City center: Cafe Schiller
This beautiful old cafe in art deco style is smack in the middle of touristy, tacky Rembrandtplein. But somehow the lack of neon lights doesn’t draw the foreign tourists in. This hidden gem is a very pleasant place to have drinks and snacks in tourist central.
City center: Latei
A camp/kitsch colorful place full of vintage furniture and decorations, all of which are for sale. Nice organic cakes and good coffee and tea. Open until about 7 or 8 pm. It’s near Nieuwmarkt and red light district, Zeedijk 143.
City center: Getto (sic)
Yes it’s really spelled Getto, not Ghetto. This is a gay but straight-friendly cocktail and burger bar. Over 20 different types of cocktails, burgers named after Amsterdam’s most famous drag queens, and other good meals. It’s at the edge of the red light district, Warmoesstraat 51.
City center: In ‘t Aepjen
This one claims to be Amsterdam’s oldest bar. It’s a tiny brown cafe with a nice mix of locals and tourists, at the edge of the red light district. Zeedijk 1.
City center: Cafe Brecht
‘Berlin’ style cafe with vintage furniture and German snacks. They also serve lunch and good beers on draft. It’s close enough to Rijksmuseum to combine it with that. Weteringschans 157.
City center/east: Brouwerij ‘t IJ
A beer brewery underneath a windmill that brews its own craft beers. It gets very crowded. Their beers are also for sale in many bars across town, so if it’s too crowded at the mill, just go to a quieter bar and order your Brouwerij ‘t IJ beer there. Brouwerij ‘t IJ itself is open only until about 8pm. If you enjoy markets you can combine it with Dappermarkt. The brewery/cafe is at Funenkade 7.
Lunch cafe, restaurant, cafe, bar, cinema and nightclub all in one. With sunny outdoor terrace in a residential neigbourhood right nextdoor to StayOkay Zeeburg hostel. You can combine it with hip & happening semi-gentified Javastraat shopping street. Timorplein 62.
East: De Ruyschkamer
A cave-like, Berlin-style mellow cafe full of soft couches and chairs and other vintage furniture. Juices, smoothies, more than 30 types of bottled beer, friendly staff. Especially nice in winter. You can combine it with a stroll along the Amstel river or dinner at Loetje steak restaurant. De Ruyschkamer is at Ruyschstraat 34.
East: De Biertuin
A good place to go after a visit to Tropenmuseum or Oosterpark. They serve dozens of different beers, various on draft and the rest in bottles; and good chicken and fries or other simple meals or snacks. They have a heated outdoor terrace so you can sit outside almost year-round. It faces west so if the sun is shining this is a sunny evening terrace. All along Linnaeusstraat you will find other nice bars such as Louie Louie, Spargo, Kuijper. De Biertuin is at Linnaeusstraat 29.
South: Cafe Sarphaat
A mellow brown cafe next to Sarphatipark. It has two lovely outdoor seating areas all giving a view to a busy street with interesting types passing by.
Troost beer brewery in Westerpark is a nice place to have a few beers and snacks. Pazzanistraat 27.
West: Cafe L’Affiche
A very local brown cafe with its own cafe cat and outdoor seats by the canal. Jacob van Lennepstraat 39.
- YourLittleBlackBook is the best website for the latest new hotspots. You can search by area.
- Have a look at iamsterdam’s pages about ‘brown cafes‘.
- And of course all the cafes I mentioned under ‘Nice areas for a stroll’, and the ones I pinned in my Google Map (brown = coffee/lunch, yellow = beers/bar, but it’s not that strict).
Do you want to try some typically Dutch snacks to go with your drinks? Or cuisines that were imported because of our colonial days? Have a look at EatYourWorld.
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