What are the best bars in Amsterdam?

Answers from Our Experts (1)

Cecily Layzell

Bars in Amsterdam range from cozy wood-paneled pubs to speak-easy-style cocktail bars. Here are our tips for the five best places to raise a glass.

1. Tales & Spirits. Tucked away on alley behind Singel canal, Tales & Spirits is the most recent addition to Amsterdam's cocktail scene. At the bar, decorated with Prohibition-era paraphernalia, order the signature What If...? cocktail. A refreshing mix of white rum, lime, and pineapple-ginger shrub, it was created by award-winning bartender Boudewijn Mesritz to celebrate the moments when great ideas are born.

2. Also serving cocktails — and a fine selection of champagnes and wines — is Twenty Third Bar. The setting however couldn't be more different. Take the lift up to the 23rd floor of Hotel Okura and enjoy panoramic views of the city as you sip a mixed drink or vintage wine. Exclusive bites including caviar and oysters can be ordered from Ciel Bleu, the hotel’s two Michelin-starred restaurant.

3. Wijnbar Divino. This charming wine bar in the Jordaan is an ode to all things Italian. Some 25 wines, sourced from small producers, are available by the bottle and glass. We recommend the unusual Terpin Pinot Grigio. Ostensibly a white wine, the traditional production method which uses the whole grape and vine, means the result is almost amber in color and bursting with aroma. Simple antipasti complete the Italian experience.

4. Cafe ’t Papeneiland. At one of Amsterdam's most photographed spots on the corner of Prinsengracht and Brouwersgracht, this 17th-century "brown cafe" attracted international attention when Bill Clinton dropped by in 2011. When former US presidents aren't disturbing the peace, the music-free pub is a laid-back place where locals catch up over an old genever or half glass of draught beer known as a "vaasje.”

5. Proeflokaal Arendsnest. Unlike other beer bars in Amsterdam, which are dominated by Belgian brews, Proeflokaal Arendsnest serves only Dutch beers — some 100 in total, excluding seasonal and bock beers.

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