Best bars in Amsterdam
Walking into this classy speakeasy-style bar, you feel like you’ve entered a secret clubhouse. Close to the center of town but tucked away enough to avoid the tourist crowds, Hiding in Plain Sight richly rewards those who walk through the corner door. With its inventive cocktails, knowledgeable bartenders and lounge-style seating, it’s a truly delightful place to while away an evening—whether solo or with friends. Reserve for groups of 4 or more.
This microbrewery and tasting room in an old bathhouse at the base of Amsterdam’s largest windmill serves Belgian-inspired beers brewed on site. Brewing for more than 30 years at this location, they’re masters of their craft: you’ll find Brouwerij t’IJ’s beers on menus all over town. Come to the source for a brewery tour, a tasting flight or simply to soak up the sun on the large terrace with the windmill overhead. Note the hours of 2-8pm.
Grab a seat at the colorful picnic tables at this waterfront spot and you’ll instantly feel like you’re on vacation. Boats pull up to the dock, swimmers jump in for a dip and locals meet to drink, chat and soak up the chill and friendly vibes as the sun goes down. During the winter, the party moves into a cottage-like space made from salvaged materials, kept cozy with a large fireplace.
On the outside, this is a classic Dutch house built in 1645. On the inside, it’s a beautifully lit modern space with plenty of romantic dark corners and touches of classic Dutch style—think velvet curtains pulled back from paned windows stretching up to the ceiling. The creative cocktail menu draws inspiration from Amsterdam’s unique neighbourhoods and the bartenders are top-notch. Cheers!
Named after writer Charles Bukowski, this neighbourhood hotspot 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 is the neighborhood’s living room: settle into one of the front tables in the mezzanine for an unbeatable view of local life.
“The Grape” has been quenching locals’ thirst in this location for at least 400 years, boasting a liquor license that dates back to 1631 and is rumored to have served departing sailors as far back as the 1580s. With wooden casks lining the walls and plenty of earthenware bottles of jenever behind the bar, De Druif feels like a glimpse into Amsterdam’s past.
Housed in The Hoxton hotel, Lotti’s is all leather sofas, colorful armchairs, exposed brick and warm wood floors. With a retractable glass roof and USB charging ports at most tables, it’s a hip and happening place for cocktails or a glass of wine that will surely end up on Instagram. Local DJs kick things up a notch on the weekends.
This former polder pump station in leafy Flevopark looks like a church from a distance but it’s actually a jenever distillery with a setting that couldn’t be prettier. Set on a quiet pond, ‘t Nieuwe Diep has a gorgeous terrace for summer and a cozy tasting room for winter. If classic jenever is too harsh for your palate, try the unique fruit jenevers made with plum, apple, berries or citrus. The bar closes early so check the website for seasonal hours.
Strolling through the Dappermarkt in Amsterdam East, it’s easy to miss this charming wine bar. But as the market stalls start to close, the yellow awning at Alex + Pinard opens, letting the neighborhood know that it is time to gather for a glass or a bottle from the extensive wine list featuring boutique European producers. The small, seasonal menu of easily shareable dishes is a perfect complement to your tipple of choice.
Sure, you’ll run into plenty of tourists here, but that shouldn’t stop you from taking a seat next to the soaring windows or out on the terrace for truly unbeatable views over Amsterdam. The lounge is only seven stories up but, in a flat city like this one, that’s practically skyscraper territory. From high-top tables to dark banquette corners, you’ll find the right setting for whatever kind of evening you’ve got in mind.