A Local’s Guide To The 17 Best Bars in Amsterdam

The capital of the Netherlands is a vibrant city, known for its beautiful canals, museums, and coffee shops. But for those looking for a different type of experience, Amsterdam also has a thriving bar scene.

There are so many places to have drinks in Amsterdam, that it can be tough to choose where to go. Tourists often head to the crowded Leidseplein.

However, a lot of locals in Amsterdam actually prefer to go to other places instead, myself included. After studying in Amsterdam for 6 years and living in the area for more than 20 years, I’ve gotten to know quite a lot of local bars here.

If you prefer to have a more authentic experience in Amsterdam, off the tourist path, read on to find out where to find the best local bars in Amsterdam. 

Disclosure: please note that some of the links below may contain affiliate links. At no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you make a purchase.


bars in amsterdam

The best local bars in Amsterdam for drinks

There are so many bars in Amsterdam, however for the best local bars I would highly recommend visiting the following bars:

1. Cafe de Wetering

This cozy brown cafe located in the De Pijp neighborhood is a favorite among locals looking for a laid-back spot to grab a drink. With its rustic decor and welcoming atmosphere, Cafe de Wetering is the perfect place to unwind after a long day of exploring the city.

2. Gollem

Beer lovers won’t want to miss Gollem, a popular bar with an extensive selection of local and international craft beers. This cozy bar has different locations througout Amsterdam, one is located in the bustling De Pijp neighborhood.

Gollem has a really relaxed and friendly atmosphere that’s perfect for catching up with friends over a pint.

bars in amsterdam

3. Lokaal van de stad

This trendy bar and restaurant in Amsterdam-West is a favorite among locals for its craft beers and farm-to-table menu. The bar’s cozy atmosphere makes it a great spot for a date night or a night out with friends.

This is one of my go-to spots in Amsterdam. It’s where I had my very first date with my boyfriend and where I’ve celebrated my birthday!

Westlandgracht with boats in canal
On the corner to the right you’ll find Lokaal van de Stad!

4. Pacific

Located in the heart of Amsterdam, Pacific is a stylish bar with a great selection of drinks and a relaxed atmosphere. The bar’s industrial-chic decor creates a trendy ambiance that attracts a diverse crowd of locals.

At first, Pacific is more like a huge bar. But then around 11ish Pacific turns into a club. That’s why this is an ideal place to go for drinks in Amsterdam.

5. Brouwerij ‘t Ij

Yet another place beer lovers won’t want to miss is Brouwerij ‘t Ij, a local brewery with a cozy tasting room and outdoor terrace.

The brewery’s signature windmill, located just a few minutes from Amsterdam’s city center, makes it a popular destination for tourists and locals alike.

6. Bar Bukowski

This trendy bar in the Oosterpark neighborhood is known for its creative cocktails and lively atmosphere. With its quirky decor and vintage-inspired menu, Bar Bukowski is a great spot for a night out with friends or a post-dinner drink.

7. Hannekes Boom

This popular bar and restaurant is located on a canal and offers great views of the water and passing boats.

The bar’s unique decor, featuring repurposed shipping containers and eclectic furnishings, creates a laid-back and bohemian atmosphere that’s very popular among locals.

8. Skate Cafe

Skateboarders and non-skaters alike will love Skate Cafe, a unique bar and event space with a skate bowl and outdoor terrace. The bar’s industrial decor, featuring concrete floors and exposed pipes, creates a trendy and edgy ambiance that’s perfect for a night out with friends.

 This place is located in Amsterdam Noord, which is a really upcoming part of Amsterdam. Nowadays, there is subway line which connects Amsterdam- Noord to Amsterdam-Zuid, which has made it a lot more accessible.

You can also take the free ferry ride from Amsterdam Central to Amsterdam Noord, which I highly recommend doing.  

9. Cafe Hoppe

This historic brown cafe in the city center has been serving drinks since 1670 and is known for its cozy atmosphere and traditional Dutch decor. The bar’s wooden paneling create a warm and inviting ambiance that’s perfect for a quiet drink or a conversations with friends.

I would highly recommend visiting this cafe to have a glimpse of what a historical Dutch cafe is like.

10. Wynand Fockink

This traditional Dutch jenever distillery and tasting room is a must-visit for anyone looking to try local spirits in Amsterdam. The bar’s cozy decor, featuring vintage bottles and jugs, creates a unique atmosphere that’s perfect for a date night or a small group outing. 

11. Cafe Nol

With its retro decor and lively atmosphere, Cafe Nol is a popular spot for both locals and tourists. The bar has a vibrant atmosphere, featuring live music and karaoke nights. If you’re looking for a fun and lively destination for a night out with friends, head over to Cafe Nol. 

12. Cafe Welling

This cozy brown cafe in the Jordaan neighborhood is known for its traditional Dutch snacks and friendly atmosphere. The bar’s wooden booths, vintage mirrors, and classic Dutch artwork create a warm and inviting ambiance that’s perfect for some drinks or a casual bite to eat. 

13. Brouwerij Troost

This local brewery has several locations throughout the city and is known for its creative beers and lively atmosphere.

Whether you visit the brewery’s original location in De Pijp or its newer locations in West or Oost, you’re sure to find a great selection of craft beers and a friendly crowd of locals. 

Especially the atmosphere at its location in Westerpark is really vibrant. This place is really worth going to.


brouwerij troost local bar in amsterdam

14. Cafe Chris

This cozy brown cafe in the Rivierenbuurt neighborhood is a hidden gem loved by locals. With its friendly staff, warm atmosphere, and great selection of drinks, Cafe Chris is the perfect place to escape the crowds and unwind with friends. 

15. Oedipus Brewing

This local brewery in Amsterdam-Noord is known for its creative beers and unique events. The brewery’s taproom, located in a converted warehouse, offers a lively and eclectic atmosphere that’s perfect for a night out with friends. This is definitely one of the best bars in Amsterdam.


Oedipus Taproom

Look how lively Oedipus looks!

16. Tolhuistuin

This cultural center in Amsterdam-Noord is a favorite among locals for its eclectic programming and lively bar. The center’s bar, located in a stunning modernist building with great views of the city, offers a great selection of drinks and a lively atmosphere that’s perfect for a night out. 

17. Waterkant

This lively bar and restaurant located on the waterfront in Amsterdam-Oost is a popular spot for locals and tourists alike. The bar’s tropical decor with colorful murals creates a lively atmosphere that’s perfect for a night out with friends. 

Personally, I would highly recommend visiting this place during your travels in Amsterdam. It’s location is really pretty on the waterfront.

Do make sure to make a reservation before hand, especially if you want to visit during the Summer, as it can get quite crowded. 

In conclusion

Whether you’re looking for a cozy brown cafe, a trendy bar, or a local brewery, these 17 bars offer a great selection of drinks and a unique and authentic Amsterdam experience. They are without a doubt amongst the best local bars in Amsterdam. 

Visiting these bars is a great way to get a feel for the city’s nightlife and to mix with locals, away from the more touristy areas.

So if you’re looking for a unique and authentic Amsterdam experience, be sure to check out these local gems. And don’t forget to learn how to say hello in the Dutch language while you’re here.

If you prefer to visit a rooftop bar in Amsterdam, have a look over here. Have you ever been to one of these local bars in Amsterdam? Please let me know your thoughts in the comments!  

Away with Danae

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