Believe it or not, but an Amsterdam stag do is not always about smoking - bars are a massive part of the Dutch lifestyle too. Famed for making some of the most popular lagers in the UK including Heineken, Amstel and Grolsch, it has a rich history of brewing (and drinking!) tonnes of beer.
You’ll find loads of different bars in Amsterdam, from open-air bars to rooftop bars, grand cafes (a bar and restaurant combined) to cocktail bars - they really do have it all, making it perfect for bar crawls. There are so many, in fact, that it can be hard to know where to start. So, we’ve compiled a list of the best bars that this lively city has to offer so that you can quit searching and spend more time drinking. To find out more about Amsterdam visit The Highlights or visit our guide to the city's best clubs and coffeeshops.
Brouwerij t IJ
This craft brewery is set right next to a windmill - it doesn’t get much more Dutch than that! It’s located a little bit outside of the main tourist area, but the beer is definitely worth the tram ride. The brewery offers tours and tasting sessions, or you can just enjoy the pub and outdoor terrace. Don’t worry if you miss the 8pm closing time - you can taste the Brouwerij t IJ brews at a lot of the bars around the city.
This old Dutch pub dates back to the 1670s and has been a local favourite for centuries. Head here to try the traditional Dutch combination of beer and bitterballen, your beer will have at least a two-finger head - but in Amsterdam a beer without head is dead!
Originally an English pub called O’ Henry’s, The Tara has now become an epic Dutch bar in the heart of Amsterdam. It’s an international pub where you can go for a drink, have some lunch or dinner while enjoying loads of music and sports. With 5 different rooms and three large bar, there is plenty of room for even the largest of groups.
Despite being one of the smallest bars in Amsterdam, this tiny venue is one of the hottest spots in the city. Set in an alleyway off Dam square, the main attraction of this bar is the 50 + Belgian beer options, with 8 more beers on tap. Enjoy a relaxed drink here in the early evening, or head down later when the bar is packed with locals squeezed in elbow-to-elbow.
Vesper bar is a swanky James Bond themed cocktail bar which serves killer craft cocktails. You’ve got to try their signature cocktail, the Vesper martini - it was James Bond’s original drink before he switched to the more famous shaken-not-stirred martini. Or, If you want to try something new, just tell the friendly bartenders some of your favourite flavours and they will mix up something delicious just for you.
De Drie Fleshjes
This bar is the ultimate ‘brown café’ (a traditional Dutch pub), with tobacco stained walls and wooden barrel interiors. Located just off Dam Square, the historic tasting room is the perfect spot to try a glass of Dutch gin. Sip it inside the bar or watch the world go by on the outdoor terrace.
LuminAir is a high vibe elevated sky bar and terrace curated to enlighten its audience, a place to see and be seen and escape the hustle of the world below. Designed to mirror the mood of the sky above, LuminAir’s modern interiors are a spectacular, ever-changing canvas of art and light, thanks to cloud-shaped installations and luminous projections. No two visits to LuminAir will ever be the same.
This bar is the only speakeasy-style cocktail bar in the Netherlands. The only way to find it is to text your reservation and wait. If you get a reply, they'll send you directions to the hidden door which will lead you to the secret venue. Once you're in, you’ll find yourself back in the Roaring Twenties, so just relax on the velvet couches and take in the intimate atmosphere.