Bars & Pubs

The best places to drink in Amsterdam – reviewed anonymously by experts

The best places to drink in Amsterdam
Bars and pubs

The best places to drink in Amsterdam

From grand cafés to hole-in-the-wall proeverijen, discover the best places to drink in town

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Roest
Bars and pubs

Roest

Named ‘rust’ as a nod to its industrial setting, Roest has plenty of ‘middle-of-nowhere graffiti-covered’ credentials, and its line-up of ever-changing theme parties – not to mention the expansive terrace and beach – keep even the most fickle trendsters entertained.

Time Out says
  • 5 out of 5 stars
Users say
  • 5 out of 5 stars
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Café de Dokter
Bars and pubs

Café de Dokter

Definitely the smallest bar in Amsterdam at just a handful of square metres, the Doctor is also one of the oldest, dishing out the cure for whatever ails you since 1798. Centuries of character and all kinds of gewgaws are packed into the highly compact space. Whisky figures large (there's a monthly special) and snacks include smoked osseworst with gherkins.

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
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Barco
Bars and pubs

Barco

A repurposed canal barge moored at Oosterdok across from the public library, Barco has 360-degree city views, affordable food, live bands performing in the hold (‘a band on a ship!’) and sun-trap terrace, it’s easy to become pretty damn smug about this one.

Time Out says
  • 5 out of 5 stars
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Café Chris
Bars and pubs

Café Chris

Not much has changed since 1624 at the oldest bar in town, where builders from the Westerkerk would come to receive their pay after a hard day's graft. Now local workers still come to unwind in unpretentious surroundings, adorned with darts trophies and other bric-a-brac from the bar's long history as a mainstay of the Jordaneese drinking scene, something it remains to this day.

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
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The best cocktail bars in Amsterdam

Lion Noir
Bars and pubs

Lion Noir

Inside, the velvet and artfully weather-beaten leather furnishings, stuffed birds and (yes) ornamental dog skeletons, combined with the genetically perfect staff, give the impression of an Abercrombie & Fitch shoot curated by Tim Burton. Outside, the terrace here is one of the best places to nurse a (pricey) gin and tonic – weather permitting.

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
Users say
  • 4 out of 5 stars
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Hiding in Plain Sight
Bars and pubs

Hiding in Plain Sight

On a corner in the north-eastern outskirts of the Jodenbuurt, cocktail gem HPS lives up to its name. Upon entry, the small ground-level bar and cramped seating area don’t seem to offer much more than the staff’s smiles. Up a flight of steps, however, a luxuriantly louche leather-couch seating puts you on eye level with chalkboards full of chemistry notations above the bar. Flashes of florid wallpaper play backdrop to bookshelves and worn curiosities like an antique radio, pinned butterflies and pocket-watch motifs. Beautifully turned-out staff members will presently appear bearing free water, massive, fresh green Cerignola olives and mixed nuts, along with a stack of exquisite letterpress-style menus. Although the bar looks fully stocked, aside from a short but respectable list of wines and a €5 bottled beer from Dutch brewer Swinckels, the menu is all about the 16 craft cocktails on offer, ranging from €8 to €16. The €16 price tag is reserved for house specialty, 'The Walking Dead', whose cinnamon sprinkles crackle and spark as the drink is set on fire at your table. Racier drinkers will find the concoction goes down a little too smoothly...Luckily, the rest of the cocktails measure up to the same exacting standards, with house-concocted ingredients like strawberry-infused cachaça (in the 'Morango Fizz', €12) and popcorn-infused rum (the 'Cinema Highball', €8). If the sultry atmosphere has you craving fresh and fizzy, opt for the HPS Mule, an Asian-influenced taste of summer

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
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Mata Hari
Bars and pubs

Mata Hari

Named after the exotic but tricksy Dutch courtesan, it’s appropriate that this new bar, restaurant and lounge has brought a touch of comfort and class to the Red Light District. Sympathetic lighting, retro furniture and an open kitchen serving dishes such as ‘chocolate salami with forget-me-not liqueur’ make the seduction complete.

Users say
  • 5 out of 5 stars
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Prik
Bars and pubs

Prik

Queer or not - Prik is hot. Indeed, true to the bar's slogan this venue attracts a diverse crowd who enjoy its delicious snacks, groovy sounds and special events such as the After Shopping Cocktail Sale and Speeddate evenings.

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See more great cocktail bars in Amsterdam

Loved by locals

Proust
Bars and pubs

Proust

Still trendy after all these years, and great for a market pit-stop or bar crawl kick-start. Inside is sleek and pared down in style - like the punters. If full, try Finch next door; on warm days, both bars' terraces merge into one convivial whole to lend an atmosphere than is pure Amsterdam.

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Hannekes Boom
Bars and pubs

Hannekes Boom

With a huge terrace and its own haven with a view of the harbour, the Boom rates as one of the city’s hottest hot spots – even though it was made of scrap lumber. Not only street art friendly, it’s also a treat for kids.

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Mankind
Bars and pubs

Mankind

Mankind is a quiet locals' place tucked down a side-street near the Rijksmuseum and the antique shops and art galleries of Spiegelstraat. Not just an excellent stop for culture cruisers, this bar also provides delicious sandwiches and a cheap dish of the day. In summer the canal-side patio is perfect to catch some sun, read the international magazines or simply to watch the world go by.

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't Arendsnest
Bars and pubs

't Arendsnest

A temple to the humble hop, the 'Eagle's Nest', in a lovely canal house, sells only Dutch beer. Many of the customers are real-ale types, but even amateurs will enjoy the 350 standard brews and 250 seasonal, from cheeky house ale Herengracht 90 to Texelse Skuumkoppe.

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