LGBTQI+ bars and cafes in Amsterdam
Amsterdam's commitment to diversity shines through its thriving queer scene and the many cafes and bars spread throughout our LGBTQI+ welcoming city. Come on in and order your favourite beer, mocktail or “pikketanussie” while you get to know all the different shapes, shades and sizes of our community.
Café 't Mandje
Located on the Zeedijk, Café ‘t Mandje opened its doors in 1927 by openly lesbian Bet van Beeren. For Bet, everyone was equal, and her café, at a time when homosexuality was not accepted, was a place to be yourself between sailors, prostitutes, and intellectuals. Like Stonewall, this cafe is an important symbol in our gay history. Definitely go by and order a “Pikketanussie” before the rest of your evening plans.
Nestled just behind Dam Square, you will find bar Prik (meaning fizz/bubbles in Dutch). This proudly queer-owned hotspot welcomes everybody who adores vibrant pink colours, signature cocktails, and a no-nonsense atmosphere. The crowd is relaxed, and it is easy to make contact with locals, expats, or other visitors. Whether you enjoy the afternoon sun on the terrace, a drink at the bar, or a dance in the back, Prik and its friendly team of prikkies will make you feel welcome and at home.
Located on the busiest street market of Amsterdam, the Albert Cuyp, you will find Bar Buka. Known as a lesbian bar, which aims to bring women together, Bar Buka offers a safe queer space for everyone („buka” means „open” in Indonesian). With their good-vibes-only policy, you can come over for a few drinks and bites, watch one of the football games on the big screen, play a few board games, or meet up with that cutie you met online.
In love with that queer sexy nineties vibe? Go check out Pamela at her bar in „Oud West” or during one of her parties around town. Getting known as the new queer and BIPOC safe haven, Pamela became very popular in a very short time. Because Pamela loves not only all kinds of people but also all kinds of animals, all bar food is vegan/vegetarian.
Step back in time while you walk down the stairs into Bar Spijker. This gay bar on the Kerkstraat feels like it has not changed since it opened its doors at the end of the 70s. Started as a leather bar, Spijker’s clientele is mostly gay men who like beer, play some biljart, and take a look upstairs in the „gym.” The place is tiny but a lot of fun and a great place to have some drinks before ending up at Club Church, which is just a few doors down the street.
Who likes to play pool? Café Saarein in the Jordaan is the place to catch up with your friends or (ex)lovers while playing a game or two. Known as the only lesbian bar left in Amsterdam (before Bar Buka and B’Femme opened their doors), this cozy brown bar on the corner of the Elandsstraat and Hazenstraat welcomes nowadays all queer-minded people.
The Queen's Head
This brown café serves you old-school gay bar right in the middle of the red light district. Next to the regulars, you will see a lot of tourists except on Tuesday during Drag Bingo. So if you're a fan of red velvet, disco balls, and someone with a fabulous wig telling you which numbers to cross, then The Queen’s Head on the Zeedijk is your place to be.
Opened as a queer and POC-centred bar and creative hub, Bar Bario in Oud West wants to create an inclusive environment where our marginalised communities come first. From visual artists, spoken word poets, to panel discussions, at Bar Bario is always something to do. So, if you want to share something in a safer and inclusive space, let them know!
This well known bar in the Reguliersdwarsstraat offers drinks, food and drag performances for the many tourists that visit the gay street and the big group of local customers who come here weekly or even daily. Taboo is the perfect spot for a drink after work or a pre-clubbing cocktail.
Are you ready to see some Gurrrls?! The trans-owned drag show bar Lellebel (harlot, trollop, hussy) is the place in Amsterdam to dive into the world of glitter, lip sync battles and gorgeous outfits. Bar at night and safe space for several trans support groups during the day, Lellebel is mostly a place where everyone can be themselves (queens and kings).
As a born and raised queer local, Daan knows all the ins and outs of LGBTQI+ life in Amsterdam. Follow him and his boyfriend Karl on their gay travel blog coupleofmen.com for queer-welcoming destinations around the world.