Best nightlife in Amsterdam
What is it? An industrial haven for ravers in an unassuming slab of the city's Nieuw-west district. Here you’ll find a banging sound system and ‘mini parties’ that kick-off in the underground smoking room.
Why go? It hosts the kind of pulsating techno that clobbers clubbers around the face and leaves them drenched in sweat from non-stop dancing. The club’s also got a 24-hour license, meaning the dancing really can be non-stop. Take it from us: this is a seriously big night out. Oh, and you can even cop an ice lolly at the bar to cool down.
What is it? This special spot is the definition of a diamond in the rough. The rough, in this case, being the tourist hotspot of Rembrandtplein (aka not where you’d imagine some of the city’s most exciting nightlife to be). Like any gem, this joint’s not easy to find: it's tucked between a restaurant and another club, and has no obvious signage. It's one for those in the know.
Why go? Claire has quickly become a firm fave among locals for its intimate capacity and stellar house and techno bookings. Make sure you know who's playing and have enough strength to heave open the heavy main door.
What is it? Brutally brutalist, Shelter looks and sounds like it's been stolen from Berlin and plonked in the Dutch capital. Find it in the basement of the A'dam Toren, a ferry away from Centraal.
Why go there? Head to Shelter for an intense, unforgettable night. It’s not for the faint-hearted. A 24-hour license, all-black décor and a bassy sound system at ear-drum-perforating levels make this club one for the 'eads. Think: so much hertz it hurts (in a good way).
What is it? NYX is known for its cracking drag and LGBTQ+ nights, but every night here is gloriously welcoming to all orientations and identities. Expect three floors of dancehall, Dutch hip-hop and pop tunes.
Why go? With a playlist of crowd-pleasing anthems and friendly atmosphere, NYX is guaranteed to plant a toothy grin onto your face. Plus, there's a DJ in the open-plan bathroom – where else can claim that?
What is it? A hotel and club based 50 metres up a crane. Need we say more?
Why go? Visit for a vista of the 'Dam that won't dent your Visa to painfully. You'll have to message their Facebook page to nab yourself an invite, but it's worth it. Warning: if you hate heights, you’ll probably want to get on the Dutch courage train well in advance of attending.
What is it? As you might have guessed, De School is located in a former school. It even has the markings of the old gym hall on the floor. More importantly: it's a titan of the city's nightlife.
Why go? It holds the same mythical status as Berghain for Berlin or Fabric for London. And for good reason – it's as heady as a Dutch pint and is consistently pouring out quality parties. You’ll find huge international bookings here and supremely cool cats aplenty.
What is it? A club located in the ex-pirate radio ship Radio Veronica. It opened in spring 2018, so it's a fresh catch.
Why go? The venue is as new and hip as your nan's artificial joint. Dancing on a boat is a wildly fun experience, especially as you can sit and have a cold one on the top deck after.
What is it? Dutch for rust, Roest is a local favourite tucked away in Oost. As well as its cute and cosy blanket-filled entrance space and restaurant, it's got a cracking club room.
Why go? For starters, this club’s got a double-decker bus to chill in. The main? It's got an ace rota of bizarre mashup nights (Jungle & Fish 'n' Chips and Italo Disco & Pizza are particular faves). And the dessert to top off this three-course night out? It's pretty much always gratis entry.
What is it? OT301 sounds like it should be a ‘Star Wars’ droid, and this club is just as stellar. Originally a squat, it's now a legal venue in Overtoom for artists and DJs.
Why go? There's a genuine free-party vibe here, providing an authentic space to let loose and party to proper underground sounds. Plus, it's the cheapest venue in the 'Dam to nab a beer, so be sure to prep your live beforehand.
What is it? If you like a side of vintage with your night out, you'll love this 1940s bunker. Situated beneath a bridge, Vondelpark's venue was originally constructed to safeguard against bombing during World War II.
Why go? Two words: free entry. Plus, there's an all-inclusive DIY vibe here, allowing for some truly independent punk nights.
What is it? The true definition of a changing space. First used as a canteen for market stall holders, De Marktkantine has also functioned as a theatre and arts space. Now it's a multi-room techno club that's all about pioneers and Pioneer.
Why go? We reckon we might have saved the best 'til last, here. The regular Friday night Cantina is a kaleidoscopic fusion of thumping beats, drag queen performers and a hatch selling tasty snacks.