Whether you’re looking for ultra-suave rooftop bars, trendy speakeasies, or centuries-old pubs, Amsterdam has something to offer. The Dutch capital is known for its wild partying and excessive nightlife, but if you’re just looking for a laid-back drink – a fruity cocktail or a traditional Dutch beer, perhaps – Amsterdam is brimming with unique and stylish bars, perfect for winding the night away.
When it comes to the best bars in Amsterdam, you’ll be spoilt for choice. Bruin cafés (brown cafes) are traditional taverns that have been at the heart of Dutch drinking culture for centuries, and which are still loved by locals and visitors today. You’ll also find creative speakeasies hidden behind secret doors, swanky rooftop bars that provide a 360-degree view of the city, as well as quirky, modern spots that offer something a little bit different.
Continue reading to discover which watering holes have made it onto our list of the very best bars in Amsterdam. We’ve made sure to cover plenty of ground when choosing the coolest bard in Amsterdam. So, no matter your vibe, you’re sure to find the perfect bar to suit you.
The coolest bars in Amsterdam
The best bar in Amsterdam for: rooftop views
Located on the 11th floor of the Double Tree Hotel, bang in the city centre, The SkyLounge bar is a must-visit during your trip to Amsterdam. During the day, you can enjoy a delicious lunch; come nighttime, the rooftop bar transforms into a lively, fun-loving hotspot for drinks. While most people come to this Amsterdam bar for the unbeatable panoramic views, they stay for the atmosphere and signature cocktails.
Take a seat next to the soaring windows or out on the terrace if it’s warm enough and soak in the views of the city. Next, grab a Summer Storm, a Sky Spritz, a Golden Hour, a Sip Me Sloe, or any of the other flavour-packed cocktails on the menu. This is one of the best bars in Amsterdam for cocktail connoisseurs who appreciate wow-factor, sweeping skyline sceneries.
The best bar in Amsterdam for: prohibition-era speakeasy vibes
Hidden away in the busy centre of Amsterdam and easy to overlook, this 1920s-style speakeasy cocktail bar guarantees a sophisticated atmosphere with trendy antique bar décor. Luxuriously dark wood and antique barware dominates the art-deco interior, while the highly-skilled and passionate bar tenders mix up new twists on your favourite classics.
Although difficult to spot, once you find the unmarked, vine-covered door and ring the buzzer, a host will greet you, take your coat and escort you to a table. On the menu, you’ll find innovative and unique cocktail concoctions with quirky names like “Simon the Fruit Vendor”. Door 74 is the best Amsterdam bar for a mysterious night trying out new drinks in a stylish interior.
The best bar in Amsterdam for: a chilled refreshment
If you’re looking for something a little less traditional, why not take a trip to the Xtracold Icebar? This a cool (in every sense of the word) bar with a steady temperature of -10 degrees Celsius, where everything – from the walls to the glasses – are made of ice. Don’t worry, the bar will provider you will everything you need to stay warm, including a coat and gloves.
Located just a stone’s throw from Rembrandt Square, a popular drinking and nightlife area, you can start or end your day with this unique experience. Given that this is no normal Amsterdam bar, your visit will also include a 20-minute tour and learn what it’s like to be stranded on the North Pole. Your icy experience will also include three free drinks – you’ll be welcomed with a cocktail in the lounge, and then two further drinks at the icebar, where you can choose from a range beers, shots or soft drinks. By far the coolest thing about this bar in Amsterdam is the bar itself, which is sculpted out of a whopping 60 tons of natural ice!
The best bar in Amsterdam for: games while you drink
Arcade games and drinks – what more could you want? Ton Ton Club is a unique retro arcade and board game bar in Amsterdam, located right behind the beautiful Oude Kerk in the city centre. Release your inner child with air hockey, Pacman, Mario Kart and more. This Amsterdam bar is super nostalgic, offering all your favourite old-school arcade games while you sip on some delicious cocktails.
On the menu, find all kinds of fun-filled drinks, including creative and classic cocktails, boozy milkshakes, refreshing G&T’s, beer on tap, and even shots! For summer evenings, there’s even a cool outdoor terrace where you can soak up the city sun. So, let the games begin at one of the best bars in Amsterdam for retro throwback vibes.
The best bar in Amsterdam for: cocktails with a show
Nominated as the best new restaurant/bar 2022 by Entree Magazine, Bar Rouge is located right in the heart of the city and offers everything you could want from a good night. Offering a unique dining experience, Bar Rouge is an intimate Parisian restaurant, bar, and nightclub all rolled into one. Here, enjoy delicious cocktails, Asian cuisine, dancing and a show with breathtaking live performances!
On the menu, find everything from sushi platters and oysters to spring rolls and even mochi ice cream for dessert. When it comes to the drinks, the bar is well-stocked with everything you could ever want. Think rose, sparkling, red, white, champagne, gin, beer and cocktails galore. This is by far the best bar in Amsterdam for something a little different to your usual bar-going experience.
In ʼt Aepjen
The best bar in Amsterdam for: drinking like a local
Dating all the way back to 1519, In’t Aepjen is one of Amsterdam’s oldest bruin cafes. Back in the day, it was an inn for sailors who traded monkeys for accommodation – which explains why the decor is so heavy on the monkeys, as well as the tavern’s name, which translates to “In the Monkeys”. However, the inn became so overrun with monkeys that they were passed onto a customer, who kept them in his garden – this evolved into the Artis Royal Zoo in Plantage.
Today, though, locals and tourists alike continue the tradition by sipping jenever (Dutch gin) and listening to vintage jazz music on the stereo. All through the day, candles burn at this Amsterdan pub, while everywhere you look you’ll find monkey memorabilia – from carved statues and vintage posters to oil portraits hanging from the bar. This is the best bar in Amsterdam for a truly time-warping experience that will make you feel like a true local.
No visit to Amsterdam would be complete without a sampling of the Dutch beer, and what better way to do so than in a traditional Dutch pub? The Netherland’s neighbours, Belgium and Germany, tend to steal the limelight when it comes to beer, but this tasting room proves that there’s more to Dutch beer than Heineken. In fact, the Netherlands is surprisingly home to more than 400 breweries, and this Amsterdam bar features 52 Dutch beers on tap, as well as 100 in bottles. Feeling peckish? You can even order some traditional nibbles to accompany your pint such as Dutch cheeses, hams and fresh sausage.
Not only are the array of drinks impressive at this Amsterdam pub, but the cosy, laid back atmosphere also deserves a mention. In the summer months, you can enjoy your beer on the bar terrace, overlooking the canal. Meanwhile, during colder months, the wood panels and copper accents inside offer a stylish but homey environment to wind away an evening in the city. Ultimately, Proeflokaal Arendsnest is one of the best bars in Amsterdam for beer nerds who want to explore the breadth of Dutch brews.
The best bar in Amsterdam for: a luxurious atmosphere
If stylish décor, a cosy atmosphere and mind-blowing cocktails is what you’re after, then Bar TwentySeven might be the one for you. Soft chairs, rich fabrics and the best views of the canals make this Amsterdam bar a welcome retreat from the hectic streets of the city. But, what will really impress is the creative creations of their enticing cocktails. All concoctions are exclusively developed by the top line team and adjusted personally to suit your tastes.
The bar also boasts an impressive and unique selection of whiskeys, champagne and spirits. Order whatever you want at the luxurious bar and receive your tipple of choice with impeccable service from the skilled team. This is the best bar in Amsterdam for a sophisticated evening with exclusive drinks.
The best bar in Amsterdam for: cocktail connoisseurs
Smack in the centre, Flying Dutchmen Cocktails is certainly one of the best cocktail bars in Amsterdam, quickly racking up global award nominations. Co-owner Tess Posthumus has been nominated a number of years running for the best international bartender at the Spirited Awards. Visit this bar and you might catch her showing off her mixologist skills with a focus on classic cocktails based on recipes up to 400 years old.
Housed inside the monumental Odeon building, The Flying Dutchmen bar offers a relaxing atmosphere to a historic vibrancy. Behind the subtly lit bar, you’ll find 500 bottles of spirits to choose from. Their skilled cocktail shakers will create any cocktail to suit any taste. Enjoy the cocktails here so much? Why not stay until 4am in the morning? That’s right, this Amsterdam bar’s opening hours are 5pm until 4am seven days a week.