Nightlife in Amsterdam: Best Bars, Clubs, & More

Amsterdam
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Amsterdam is a fun-filled city. With streets lined with bars and a world-renowned music scene, it truly has something for everyone. Whether EDM is your bag, or you prefer a good cocktail or traditional bar, you’ll find it all in Amsterdam’s buzzing city center. Below we’ve rounded up the best nightlife spots whatever your party vibe. 

Bars

From the classic brown cafés (bruine kroeg) and fuss-free watering holes to classier bars that boast incredible views of the city, Amsterdam is not short on bars. Whatever your mood, you’re bound to find your ideal set-up.

  • Café Papeneiland: Perched on a picturesque corner near Noordermarkt, this brown bar serves up beer, wine, and arguably the best homemade apple pie in the city.
  • Café de Dokter: With a bazaar-like interior, this 19th century establishment used to be a café for doctors.
  • Proeflokaal Arendsnest: A beer bar with over 100 Dutch craft brews available. 
  • Taiko Bar: If your prefer something a little more upmarket, head to Taiko Bar at the 5-star Conservatorium Hotel. Its grand bottle-filled walls and glass ceilings are well worth a look while you sip a glass of bubbly.
  • SkyLounge Amsterdam: Hot foot it to SkyLounge if you want to enjoy a drink over panoramic views of the city.
  • Hannekes Boom: This shack-style waterfront cafe near Centraal Station hosts live music and DJs.

Cocktail Bars

If Dutch beer isn't your thing, you'll be pleased to know that Amsterdam has a lot of fantastic cocktail bars. Here are a few of our favorites.

  • Bar Oldenhof: An old-fashioned speakeasy with a cozy, intimate atmosphere.
  • Super Lyan: This former 17th century Dutch House has been refurbished into a cocktail bar featuring bold colors and neon lights. Be sure to order the frosé margarita on a summer's day.
  • Rosalia's Menagerie: Right in the city center, this eclectic bar is filled with curiosities picked up on the owner’s travels, making it a fun, pre- or post-dinner pit-stop. 
  • Pulitzer's Bar: For a cocktail in five-star surroundings, Pulitzer's Bar is a joy year-round. In the summer, feel free to relax in the garden for a drink or two, and come winter, you can hunker down in the dimly lit bar. 

Nightclubs

Amsterdam is synonymous with EDM, so of course you can expect a lot of nightclubs devoted to this genre of music.

  • Paradiso: Right near the Rijksmuseum you’ll find Paradiso, a Portuguese synagogue-turned-nightclub. The line-up includes live music acts—such as big-name performers like Tove Lo—and DJs.
  • Shelter: Want to party all night? Take the free ferry to Amsterdam-Noord and head straight for Shelter, a subterranean nightclub in the A’DAM Tower. 
  • Disco Dolly: If you prefer disco, funk or hip-hop to EDM, Disco Dolly is open seven nights week and attracts a young, fun crowd. 

Live Music

Amsterdam offers up a decent number of bars and venues that play live music, promising a fun way to start or end your night.

  • Bourbon Street: From blues to rock, Bourbon Street boasts live music every night of the week and has attracted the likes of Bruce Springsteen and Sting.
  • Bitterzoet: With its unusual stained glass windows, this small, live music venue hosts every genre of music and is open until 4 a.m. on weekends.
  • Muziekgebouw: For contemporary classical music, head to Muziekgebouw, a concert hall that's housed in an impressive building near Centraal Station. It also hosts free lunchtime concerts on Thursdays.

Coffeeshops

We can’t round up the best nightlife in Amsterdam without mentioning the roaring coffeeshop trade. There are coffeeshops dotted all over the city that sell marijuana for you to either smoke on the premises or take away. 

  • Tweede Kamer Coffeeshop: In the center of town, Tweede Kamer is one of the earliest coffeeshops. Seating just 20 people, it's still outfitted in the traditional apothecary style.
  • Barney’s Coffeeshop: This award-winning coffeeshop is close to Centraal Station on the Haarlemmerstraat.
  • Boerejongens Coffeeshop: A little outside the center you’ll find Boerejongens Coffeeshop on the Utrechtestraat. Here the staff are kitted out in smart waistcoats, giving it an old-timey feel. Be warned though: There is limited seating and often a queue, so get there early.

Tips for Going Out in Amsterdam

  • There is a 90-euro fine if you’re found drinking alcohol or possessing an open bottle in public.
  • You have to be over 18 to buy cannabis or hash in Amsterdam, so make sure you have your ID.
  • Coffeeshops in Amsterdam don’t sell alcohol because it isn’t advised to mix smoking with drinking.
  • The Metro and Trams stop working at 12:30 a.m, but night buses run from 12:30 a.m. to 7:30 a.m.
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