Best Bars in Amsterdam

From traditional genevers to quaffable beers, Holland boasts many of Europe’s most historic and famous brands. And Amsterdam has a thriving drinks scene to match, with a wide variety of establishments, including ancient taverns, fine cocktail bars and all things in between. Here are a few places that I recommend you stop by when you’re next in the city. That is, if you can pull yourself away from its notorious coffee shops.

Amstel Bar & Brasserie, Professor Tulpplein 1, 20 622 6060:

The Amstel Lounge is appropriately located in the InterContinental Amstel Hotel and, naturally, overlooks the Amstel River. It has nautical fixtures, tartan carpets and a menu designed to celebrate the hotel’s 140-year history. It’s a perfect spot for a Martini, or you can have afternoon tea at the neighboring Amstel Lounge.
What to Drink: Straits Sling (kirsch, Plymouth Gin, Bénédictine, orange bitters, Angostura Bitters, lemon juice, club soda)

Café De Dokter, Rozenboomsteeg 4, 20 624 2582:

There is so much dust hanging from Café De Dokter’s chandeliers that New York’s McSorley’s should be jealous. The nicotine-stained walls and dark lighting only add to the vintage feel of this more-than-200-year-old gem. It’s a tight squeeze, especially with all the treasures, like ancient musical instruments, old telephones and an odd birdcage. The bar has a silver-plated top festooned with plaques honoring regulars. There are dozens of rare whiskies, and I have it on good authority that it’s one of Liquor.com advisory board member David Wondrich’s favorite establishments.
What to Drink: Kop Stoot (shot of Bols Genever and a beer)

De Drie Fleschjes, Gravenstraat 18, 20 624 8443:

De Drie Fleschjes, which dates back three-and-a-half centuries, is as much tavern as it is museum. It has a renowned collection of eclectic items, such as flagons that commemorate each Amsterdam mayor since 1648. Wash down a plate of meatballs and salami with some genever or Dutch liqueur.
What to Drink: Boswandeling (jonge genever, triple sec, Angostura Bitters)

Door74, 06 3404 5122:

These days, every city must have at least one speakeasy-style cocktail bar. Door74 (pictured above) has the requisite hidden door, antique barware, tin ceiling and sophisticated atmosphere, plus delicious and perfectly balanced creations from Timo Janse and his team. The current menu is inspired by Sin City, complete with cartoon illustrations, quotes and appropriately named tipples. I am looking forward to seeing what the next will be.
What to Drink: La Ninja (Japanese whisky, sesame syrup, lime, Angostura Bitters)

Feijoa, Vijzelstraat 39, 06 4183 1561:

Named after a South American fruit, Feijoa features a floor-to-ceiling back bar, complete with a ladder to reach the tippy-top shelf of bottles. It has an industrial design and a balcony for a DJ, who is usually spinning electronic music. The menu is short and precise with many fruit-forward drinks and a few standards like the Blood & Sand and Paloma. This is one joint where you can spend some serious time.
What to Drink: Liv’s Blackberry (cognac, lavender, blackberries, ginger)

Hiding in Plain Sight, Rapenburg 18:

This restaurant and bar recently opened and overlooks a picturesque canal. It has a clever menu, whose sections include “drinks that separate the gentlemen from the boys” and “sexy and stylish drinks for Casanovas and femme fatales.” That’s not to mention a page that pays homage to New York with tipples from top bars like PDT.
What to Drink: Green with Envy (Green Chartreuse, velvet falernum, pineapple juice, lime juice, mint, nutmeg)

Tunes Restaurant & Bar by Schilo, Van Baerlestraat 27, 20 570 0000:

Right off the exclusive shopping street P.C. Hooftstraat is the brand-new Conservatorium Hotel. At its hip cocktail bar, Tunes, you’ll find a beautiful jet-set crowd sipping on classic and modern concoctions that highlight Dutch favorites Curaçao, genever and advocaat. There’s also a list with eight different Gin & Tonic variations.
What to Drink: Amsterdam Canal Breeze (Bols Jonge Genever, cinnamon syrup, cranberry juice, De Olmenhorst Apple Juice, lemon juice)

Vesper Bar, Vinkenstraat 57, 20 846 4458:

This Jordaan-district watering hole specializes in seasonal infusions and bottled punches. It also has a short but diverse cocktails list with everything from its namesake, the gin-and-vodka-based Vesper, to tiki favorites like the Zombie.
What to Drink: Moon Walk (Grand Marnier, house-made hibiscus syrup, grapefruit, prosecco)

Looking for more great watering holes? Check out our bar guide for the best bars in the world.

Simon Ford is an award-winning bartender and director of trade outreach and brand education for Pernod Ricard USA. He is also a Liquor.com advisor.

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Comments

  1. Don’t forget De Admiraal and De Arendsnest both on Heerrengracht (but across the canal from each other) De Admiraal is the Proefkallen for Van Wees ( De Ollvaar) distillery with about 20 some odd genevers ranging from fresh off the still to 20 years old and a simply amazing array of traditional and new liqueurs ( their bitters are also quite good) While the Arendsnest is a very nice beer bar.
    If you don’t feel like carrying anything home you can go to Quinta Wijnen nearby and Franz will happily mail you bottles of anything you n=might take a fancy to.
    Not to mention for those who like tea – go to Simon Levelt’s ( nearby) for some absolutely lovely tea …
    Although if you are coming back from Amsterdam be sure to keep your receipts for when you might be arguing with the customs agents about that 1/2 kilo of tea you bought.
    Not to mention the spices from the apothecary in Utrecht who wraps them up so they look alarmingly like large bindles of other substances ;-)

  2. Guillermo says

    Wow! Thanks for the write up! This evening we had some guests who came to us thanks to this article. They left with a smile and hopefully will be back soon… Thanks again,
    HPS

  3. Great article. I had the pleasure of visiting Amsterdam last week and visited both Hiding in Plain Sight and Door 74 based on your reviews. Both were excellent cocktail bars and offered top notch libations for our night. Thank you!

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