As one of Europe's coolest capitals, there is no shortage of places to drink and dance, with the city offering everything from 24-hour techno raves to sophisticated wine bars and plenty of cosy pubs. So get ready to hop on your bike, as here’s our guide to the best bars in Amsterdam.
When the sun is shining, there are few spots better than Waterkant. This multi-storey car park-turned canal-side bar serves a range of cocktails and local beers, all to be enjoyed with unbeatable views of the water. After you’ve wet you’re palette you don’t want to leave without tasting the unique Surinamese and Indonesian food on offer. Head there during the day to idly watch the canal traffic sail by and if you want to carry the party on, by night is when the locals crowd in and the venue really comes alive.
Address: Marnixstraat 246 1016 TL
A short ferry ride from Central Station in the rising Amsterdam Noord, you’ll find Bacalar, the city’s most authentic Mexican taqueria. Offering what can only be described as some the best tacos you’ll find outside of Mexico, the menu comprises of classic choices such as fish and pork tacos, all finished off with innovative, modern twists. But this eatery wouldn’t be on this list, if it wasn’t for its mezcal margaritas which will will have you asking for another (and another) right away. The idea is to share plates, order mezcal after mezcal and indulge in the Mexican notion of sobremesa, translating to “over-the-table” and meaning relaxing at the table after a long evening of eating and drinking. But be warned, you’ll need to pre-book a table in advance.
Address: Chrysantenstraat 4, 1031 HT Amsterdam, Netherlands
Cafe De Huevel
Amsterdam is known for its cosy hole-in-the-wall bars and cafes, but if you’re looking to avoid the tourists then head to Café De Heuvel. Situated on a busy corner in the Spiegelkwartier, Café De Heuvel overflows with rosy-faced drinkers every afternoon. Signs and stickers plaster the walls and ceilings and polaroid’s of patrons are tacked up in every nook and cranny, letting you know this place is for regulars. Though you won’t drink any fancy cocktails here, a beer and a bowl of nuts are all you need.
Address: Prinsengracht 568 1017 KR
Another local favourite that is worth setting aside a whole summer’s day for, Pllek is one of the city’s best-located drinking spots. Sitting right on the banks of the River IJ in NDSM, Pllek is a bar, beach and restaurant that also hosts outdoor summer film screenings and live electronic music. The atmosphere is unmissable in warm weather, where visitors can choose to lie in shored rowing boats or bring their own towels to while away an afternoon. But don’t just get up and leave when the sun goes down, simply retreat under the disco ball in the huge industrial-chic space for a night of dancing.
Address: Tt. Neveritaweg 59 1033 WB Amsterdam
Take a short hip, scotch and jump - or the 24/7 free ferry across the water to Noord and you can’t miss A’DAM Lookout, a 22-storey high building that offers panoramic views of the city. But you don’t just come to A’DAM Lookout for the views, it also has a hotel, bar, restaurant, and even an adrenaline-fueled swing attached to the side of the building. One thing to note is that you’ll have to buy tickets to enter, but trust us the sunset views are well worth it.
Address: Overhoeksplein 5, 1031 KS Amsterdam, Netherlands
Cafe Twee Prinsen
Don’t be fooled by the hipster-approved orange and organic wines, Café Twee Prinsen is a locals wine bar that is about as cozy and inviting as they come. The menu is seasonal, simple and balanced, but it’s the wine list that you come for. With a mix on offer and all reasonably priced, you’ll also find some rare treasures which the friendly staff will help you navigate with ease. Grab a stall, order a large glass and if you’re hungry make sure to order a board or two of cheese, crackers and delicate slices of cured meat - proost!
Address: Prinsenstraat 27, 1015 DB Amsterdam, Netherlands
The city’s answer to Berlin’s Berghain, what was once a technical school is now a vital part of Amsterdam’s cultural landscape and club scene. With a 24-hour license, De School is an ideal spot for those looking to dance all night (or into the next day), offering a line-up of internationally known and local artists. With bright, Bauhaus-style accents and a courtyard structure, De School puts Europe’s quintessential dingey basement clubs to shame, with it also offering a raved-about veg-heavy restaurant and exhibition space.
Address: Doctor Jan van Breemenstraat 1 1056 AB
As the name may give it away, Skatecafe is a bar, restaurant and event space with its own mini skating ramp inside. Apart from the weekly skating lessons, you can enjoy good food, and drinks, or go to one of the many late-night DJ events hosted weekly. While a lot of tourists flood to Amsterdam’s coolest bars, you’ll be partying among locals here with an impressive line-up of homegrown talent and big-name name DJs (think everything from electronic to hip hop), this club is definitely the place to be.
Address: Gedempt Hamerkanaal 42, 1021 KM Amsterdam, Netherlands
Partying aside, there is so much culture to uncover in Amsterdam, and you don’t need to break the bank to experience it. Book a stay at our Amsterdam City Centre hotel today and drink in everything that the city has to offer.