There’s no better way to end a long day of sightseeing than with a cold beer(s) at a great bar with some friends. As a result, I am always on the lookout for great bars when exploring a new destination and my recent travels to Amsterdam were no different as I found myself on a mission to find the best bars in town.
Whether you are hoping to try the world-famous Dutch and Belgian brews, or are simply looking to enjoy a cold beer with friends, Amsterdam has it all.
Check Out These Awesome Amsterdam Bars
With more than two weeks to explore Amsterdam I had plenty of time to check out some of the best bars in town. After taking into consideration the beer selection and atmosphere of each bar that I visited, I’ve narrowed the list down to five places (in no particular order) below:
1. The Windmill Brewery (Browerij ‘t IJ)
This unique brewery is located inside of an original Dutch windmill and has a great bar inside where you can taste some of the beers on offer.
The bar has many of the brewery’s locally produced beers on tap at all times including a few limited production beers that are only sold on site.
Browerij’ t IJ also serves beer flights (as shown in the photo above) so you can taste five different beers and decide which one(s) you like best. I personally preferred the Plzn beer which is on the lighter side, but they have plenty of darker beers for avid beer enthusiasts.
The brewery also offers tours where you can get a behind-the-scenes look at the production process and learn more about the history of the windmill.
2. Xtracold Icebar Amsterdam
Xtracold Icebar In AmsterdamAt a chilling temperature of -10°C (14°F) the Amsterdam Icebar is quite literally the “coolest” bar in Amsterdam.
Located just outside of the city center on the Amstel canal, the ice bar offers patrons a unique experience of tipping back drinks inside of a bar made entirely of ice.
The Amsterdam Icebar is made out of an impressive 60 tons of natural ice. Everything from the bar itself, to the furniture and art, is made from ice.
The entrance fee is 18€, but it includes three drinks inside the bar. Before entering the ice bar you will be given a brief introduction in the lounge bar and provided with a thermal jacket, as well as a pair of gloves – trust me you’ll need these!
After entering the ice bar you will have about 20 minutes to enjoy two of your three drinks – don’t worry the third drink comes later!
The drink options inside the ice bar are:
- shots (rum, whiskey, etc.),
- draft beer (Heineken),
- or orange juice.
Note: While the drink menu is quite limited inside the ice bar, I found the experience itself to be well worth it.
After exiting the ice bar you will return to the lounge bar (normal room temperature) where you can enjoy a third drink while warming up. The lounge bar has an impressive menu of craft beers and specialty cocktails. Having recently returned from a trip to Brazil I decided to try a Caipiroska (a classic Brazilian cocktail) and was pleasantly surprised with the bartender’s abilities.
Overall I would say that the Icebar in Amsterdam is definitely worth the time for anyone looking for an extra cold beer and a unique experience.
3. Amsterdam’s Famous Brown Cafés
The traditional pubs of Amsterdam – commonly referred to as brown cafés – are well worth a visit for those in search of an authentic Dutch experience. Amsterdam’s brown cafés (not to be confused with coffee shops) are where the locals go to knock back a few drinks and a have a good time with friends.
The name ‘brown café’ comes from the dark wood and smoke-stained walls found inside these local watering holes. In addition to serving a wide variety of craft brews, brown cafés offer standard Dutch beers, such as Heineken and Amstel, as well as a range of cocktails.
Looking for some of the best brown cafes in Amsterdam? Check out these spots:
Website: De Zotte
Address: Raamstraat 29, 1016 XL Amsterdam, Netherlands
Website: Café Hoppe
Address: Spui 18-20, 1012 XA Amsterdam, Netherlands
Café de Dokter
Website: Café de Dokter
Address: Rozenboomsteeg 4, 1012 PR Amsterdam, Netherlands
4. The Heineken Experience & Brewery
The Heineken pilsner is one of the most famous beers in the world and it all started right in the heart of Amsterdam.
The Heineken Experience takes you to the source of this world-famous beer where you can learn more about the beer’s history and get a behind-the-scenes look at its production. The tour finishes in a bar where you’ll be able to enjoy the freshest pint of Heineken that money can buy.
While parts of the museum seemed a bit touristy for my liking, the history and overall experience made the visit worth it for me. I would definitely recommend this for true fans of Heineken!
The Heineken Experience
Website: Heineken Experience
Address: Stadhouderskade 78, 1072 AE Amsterdam, Netherlands
5. SkyLounge Amsterdam Rooftop Bar
Nothing beats a cold beer with a breathtaking view and that’s exactly what you’ll get at the SkyLounge Amsterdam.
Located on the top floor of the DoubleTree Hotel, this rooftop bar offers 360° views overlooking the the entire city of Amsterdam. The prices are a bit steeper than your average bar in Amsterdam, but the views are truly unbeatable.
Regardless of whether you go for a beer or not, the SkyLounge Amsterdam should be on your list of things to do in Amsterdam as you’ll be hard pressed to find a better view in the city.
Note: The best time to go to the SkyLounge is in the late afternoon / early evening to catch a sunset over the city and watch the city light up as the night begins.
Website: SkyLounge Amsterdam
Address: Oosterdoksstraat 4, 1011 DK Amsterdam, Netherlands
Amsterdam is home to tons of quality beers and great bars. The list above only includes a few of the city’s best bars and there are certainly plenty of other places to explore.
As always, leave a comment below for the Bespoke Unit team and share your favorite place to get a beer in Amsterdam!