Café de Sluyswacht

Cafe Sluyswacht en sluis Amsterdam CC BY 2.0 Paul Arps via Flickr

Café de Sluyswacht is in the historical Sluyswachterhuisje (lockhouse): an adorably wonky little house dating from 1695 in the Jodenbreestraat. Once upon a time this was the lockmaster’s house, which later became a hardware shop, and for the last twenty years it has been a café. As you’d expect, inside there is an old stone floor, wooden benches and wooden panelling, a ceiling with beams and shuttered windows. Historical Amsterdam in full glory.

Café Nol

Cafe Nol Amsterdam CC BY-ND 2.0 Johan Wieland via Flickr

By day and from the outside, Café Nol looks just like another brown café in the Jordaan – a neighbourhood with many bars and cafes to choose from. But as the sun drops, Nol comes to life in all its neon-lit glory. Indoors its mirrored walls, chandeliers, and swathes of red carpet and curtains attracts a mixed crowd of older patrons who grew up in the neighbourhood, and youngsters, all sharing a passion for the sing-a-long Amsterdam folk songs that echo out onto the street.

De Drie Fleschjes

De Drie Fleschjes Amsterdam

Bootz distiller established De Drie Fleschjes around 1650 at the base of the Nieuwe Kerk, making it the oldest tasting house. A wall of casks showcases signature blends; the display of flagons (little bottles) with portraits of Amsterdam’s mayors is worth a peek. Sip a jenever, or go for one of the 35 different liqueurs. With your I amsterdam City Card, you will get a free shot of Dutch gin (jenever) at the oldest tasting room of Amsterdam. 

Proeflokaal Arendsnest


This traditional Dutch pub on the Herengracht is the place to get acquainted with local tipples. Serving only Dutch beers from more than 50 breweries in the Netherlands plus more than 100 bottled beers, the pub is the ideal place to learn all about local beer. If you wish to taste your way around the Netherlands in one sitting then the basement tasting room or ‘proeflokaal’ is the perfect place, hosting beer tasting events for groups of up to 32 people. 

Covering everything from local breweries to established craft beer bars, Amsterdam's beer game is strong. Here are our favourite beer bars in Amsterdam.

Café Chris

Cafe Chris Amsterdam

Café Chris opened its doors in 1624 as a beer house, and as such is the oldest café in the Jordaan. Locals pop in for a game of billiards or a 'Kopstoot' aan de bar. The story goes that builders working on the nearby Westertoren came to collect their pay in the café. Unique to the interior: lack of space meant the toilet cistern was placed outside of the toilet area.

De Oranjerie

De Oranjerie Amsterdam

For those who fancy Belgian beer in a friendly atmosphere must go to café De Oranjerie. This ‘brown’ café in a side street of the Haarlemmerdijk has specialty beers that people, everyone from old men to trendy students, come from far and wide to seek out. The room is full of art deco details, has a high ceiling and a wall covered in theatre posters. There is a corner for Scrabble and other board games for some good old-fashioned Dutch sociability.

Het Molenpad

Once upon a time, Het Molenpad was a good old-fashioned ‘brown bar’, but it can now call itself a ‘new brown’ bar. The bar, with its fabulous terrace right on the Prinsengracht, has been modernised with a lot of black decor, a granite bar and the gigantic letters M and P on the wall. Luckily one can still get a perfect draught beer, a first-class steak and a real taste of the true Amsterdam here.

Café Kuijper

Café Kuijper is a neighbourhood standard that locals can’t get enough of; it's both a pleasant place for lunch in the afternoon and drinks in the evening, When searching for something to do on an otherwise subdued Tuesday evening, head over to Kuijper to join in on a lively pub quiz – if you win, they’ll pick up your tab.

Het Paardje

't Paardje is a modern 'brown' café with a large terrace in the centre of De Pijp, where easygoing young locals and older regulars rub shoulders. It is not only a pub: there is a choice from the French bistro menu with dishes such as oysters, snails and bouillabaisse - much in vogue with the thirty-somethings.
Looking for some authentic Dutch cuisine? Be sure to check the Dutch food restaurants Amsterdam has to offer.