The 14 best bars in Amsterdam

The 14 best bars in Amsterdam

Ready to take on the party capital? From dive bars to trendy cocktail spots, here are the city’s best bars

Inside the packed Pllek ‘beach’ bar in Amsterdam

Photograph: Pllek

Unlike some cities, visitors to Amsterdam often find themselves wanting to go again and again and again. This city is known for its innovative food scene and great attractions, but the thing that will forever linger in your mind? Amsterdam’s bars. The nightlife scene here is second to none, and there’s a bar for (literally) every mood.

So whether you’re looking to sip cocktails with a view or boogie on down ‘till the early hours, you’ll find exactly what you’re looking for in this party capital. Think rooftop bars, glitzy wine bars, trendy craft breweries and everything in between. Just try not to miss your flight home the next day. Here are the best bars in Amsterdam right now.

Best bars in Amsterdam

Hiding in Plain Sight

Photograph: Hiding in Plain Sight

1. Hiding in Plain Sight

  • Bars and pubs
  • Cocktail bars
  • Old Side

Speakeasy lovers, we’ve got just the thing for you. Hiding in Plain Sight is exactly what you’d expect – a dark, cosy, intimate bar with great music which feels totally secret, but is conveniently positioned right in the centre of town. Somehow, even after all these years, this bar has managed to stay cool. Like, actually cool and classy. Knowledgeable bartenders make a range of classic and bespoke cocktails, the music is always good, and you can reserve spots for four or more via phone at the lounge-style seating.

Hannekes Boom

Read more © Karl O’Brien

2. Hannekes Boom

  • Bars and pubs
  • Waterfront and North

Grab a seat at one of this waterfront spot’s bright picnic tables, and you’ll instantly feel like you’re on holiday. Boats pull up to the dock, swimmers jump in for a dip, and locals meet to drink, chat and soak up the friendly vibes as the sun goes down. During winter the party moves into a cottage-like space made from salvaged materials and heated by a large fireplace.

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3. Soundgarden

If you’re after a down-and-dirty dive bar, look no further. Soundgarden is an Amsterdam institution – an unpretentious, authentic spot that has resolutely refused gentrification. You know, the sort of place where the decor hasn’t been changed in decades. Proper old school. Soundgarden plays loud rock music, has a wonderful terrace overlooking the water, and a battered pool table. It’s an absolute gem.

Flying Dutchmen Cocktails

Photograph: Ming Chao, courtesy Flying Dutchmen

4. Flying Dutchmen Cocktails

This buzzy cocktail bar smack in the centre of Amsterdam is racking up global award nominations. Co-owner Tess Posthumus has been nominated many years running for the best international bartender at the Spirited Awards, and she shows off her mixologist chops here with a focus on — as they refer to them — (neo)-classic cocktails, many of which are based on recipes up to 400 years old. Spirit connoisseurs, take note: Flying Dutchmen holds more than 800 bottles behind the softly lit bar, the largest backbar in the Netherlands.

Bar Bukowski

Advertising Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Kim V.

5. Bar Bukowski

Named after writer Charles Bukowski, this neighbourhood hangout near Oosterpark is dedicated to liquor and literature. The former appears in classic, no-tricks cocktails and a well-rounded beer list, while the latter is embodied in a typewriter-inspired light installation above the bar and plenty of Bukowski quotes on the menu. Bar Bukowski feels like the neighbourhood’s living room: settle into one of the front tables in the mezzanine for an unbeatable street view.

Brouwerij ’t IJ

Photograph: Shutterstock

6. Brouwerij ’t IJ

  • Bars and pubs
  • Oost (East)

This tasting room in an old bath house at the base of Amsterdam’s largest windmill serves Belgian-inspired beers, brewed on-site for more than 30 years. You’ll find Brouwerij ’t IJ’s beers on menus all over town, but it’s worth visiting the original outpost for a tour, a tasting flight, or to soak up the sun on the large terrace with the windmill overhead.


Read moreAdvertising Photograph: Pllek

7. Pllek

Up in trendy Amsterdam Noord, Pllek is a bar, beach and restaurant that also hosts outdoor summer film screenings and live electronic music. Hop on the free ferry at Amsterdam Centraal to reach this throbbing hang out and settle in with a couple of beers or a glass of rosé on the sand. When the sun goes down, retreat under the disco ball in the huge industrial-chic space with rows of windows overlooking the IJ river.

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8. Bar Mimi

Amsterdam has an almost endless supply of cosy, cute, and chic bars — and Bar Mimi is one of the city’s best. Set over three small levels and decorated with eccentric charm, this bar has the ambience and vibe of a stylish front room, as well as some excellent food. All in all, Bar Mimi is a wonderful place to grab a beer, wine, or cocktail on a quiet street in the heart of Amsterdam’s bustling Oud-West.


9. Waterkant

Based at the bottom of a car park, Waterkant is in the running for the best outdoor area in the entirety of Amsterdam. A gamut of benches line the water, making it a perfect spot to soak up the sunshine and sink beers with your pals. In the late hours of the weekend, Waterkant also turns up the music and shifts into a clubbier atmosphere, so it’s the ideal place to dust off your dancing shoes.

Distillery ’t Nieuwe Diep

Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Rodger W.

10. Distillery ’t Nieuwe Diep

This former polder pump station in leafy Flevopark looks like a church from a distance but is actually a jenever distillery with a setting that couldn’t be prettier. Set on a quiet lake, ’t Nieuwe Diep has a gorgeous terrace for summer and a cosy tasting room for winter. If classic jenever is too harsh for your palate, try the unique fruit versions made with plum, apple, berries or citrus. The bar closes early, so check the website for seasonal hours.

De Druif

Advertising Photograph: Shutterstock

11. De Druif

‘The Grape’ has been quenching locals’ thirst on this spot for at least 400 years. It boasts a liquor licence that dates back to 1631, and is rumoured to have served departing sailors as far back as the 1580s. With wooden casks lining the walls, plenty of earthenware jenever bottles behind the bar, and no music, De Druif feels like a little glimpse into Amsterdam’s past.

12. Alex + Pinard

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