Amsterdam cafes and bars
Amsterdam offers a limitless supply of restaurants, cafes and bars, somewhere around 1500! The words, bar and cafe are usually used interchangeably. The distinction is mostly seen in the title or layout of a place. Every street side, corner, canal, nook and cranny has something to offer your taste buds and mood. The spectrum begins with the traditional and relaxed brown cafes and ranges to the lively and crowded bars.
The Dutch word that embodies the unique experience of coziness, or a comfortable, relaxing time, is 'Gezelligheid'. It is this concept that each cafe or bar tries to express in its own customized way. While some cater to the artist’s soul with live music or exhibitions, others appeal to the romantic with lovely views and special decor. Still others satisfy the needs of the sportive drinkers, with a wide selection of beers, bar games and ‘borrel hapjes’ (snacks). With going out for a coffee, beer or Dutch gin being an almost daily routine, the locals keep the example of how to enjoy the city alive.
After deciding what mood or taste you seek, you need to also consider which area to find it in. Wherever you end up, you are not far from something that suits your needs. There is generally a more local feel in the west of Amsterdam and more night life in the heart of the city. The average hours are from 11.00 to 01.00 and if you find yourself in Leidseplein or Rembrandtplein, the hours typically go a little longer, especially Friday or Saturday nights.
When it comes to service, you may be surprised to find a standard approach of relaxation as well. With the catch of an eye or raise of a finger, there will be someone to take your order. Otherwise, you are left to enjoy your time. Depending on the night, bars will keep a running total that you can settle upon departure. On average, if you are sitting outside, you will be asked to pay on the spot. In terms of drinking, it is traditional practice that if in a group, one person fits the bill for a round, and likewise the next round is on the next person to order. And one last thing before beginning your adventure… when asking for your total, try to remember to ask for ‘the check please’ and not ‘the bill.’ This will keep the communication a bit more clear. Cheers!
Two minutes from Vondelpark is Eetcafe De Toog which is literally a dining café. Under new management 6 years now, De Toog meaning the bar counter served international cuisines for a traditional evening meal surrounded by real Dutch people.
Across the road from the Artis Zoo stands Eetcafe De Groene Olifant, a brown café serving lunch and dinner. Their kitchen is an International fusion of French, Japanese and Indian, where their French chef Fety prepares meals fresh and of high quality.
Situated a few steps from the Red Light District in the Jordaan, 't Arendsnest is strictly a Dutch beer bar. Owned by one of the 4 Beer specialists in Holland, Peter van der Arend, gives his nest his family name.
Just a few steps from the University of Amsterdam’s theater and Cafeteria, you will find a most delightful and rich experience in both interior design and options.
Nieuwe Doelenstraat 20-22
If you can make it just past the hustle and bustle of Amsterdam’s Centraal Station, you will find yourself standing outside of a perfect refuge. With inspiration and creation as its vision, this most pleasant café offers you a fresh taste for your day.
Just a five minute walk from Central Station and you will find a preferred location of rest and warmth. Whether you seek a quaint place to sip a cup of coffee, chat with your friend over a smoke, or read the newspaper, Kobalt Café has just what you need. Address: Singel 2
The well-known American-style Hard Rock Café has found its place in Amsterdam. Nestled in the Max Euweplein, near to Leidseplein, you will find a taste of the American quality customer service with the European twist of relaxation at your own pace. Conveniently it sits right around the corner from bike rentals, the Paradiso dance club, canal boat tours, a casino and the cinema. Depending on your schedule, it could be worth starting or ending your day with a little ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll.’ Address: Max Euweplein 57-61
If you are seeking a variety of Belgian tastes and brews you should swing by De Zotte, a cozy bar not far off the Leidseplein. With a laid back atmosphere you can pass your day away while sipping your choice from one of their over 130 beers. Address: Raamstraat 29
Right in the middle of all the action, this cafe in the Leidseplein offers a convenient location, and that’s about it. Boom Chicago is right next-door, the trams run just yards away and the nightlife surrounds it. Leidseplein 14
Just a bridge and a block away from De Krakeling (a children's theater), on the other side of the Nassaukade, you can find a simple brown cafe with a bright atmosphere. A perfect choice for vegetarians.
No mistake about it, this cafe on the corner offers quite the local flare. It seems to be better at offering the traditional music taste rather than a good espresso though. Elandsgracht 45
A place to find a comforting English breakfast, fish and chips or again spare-ribs, but also pancakes and of course.. sport screens.