Tiny dancefloors in Amsterdam
Alongside its larger, internationally known nightlife spots, there are tons of smaller places to dance in Amsterdam, from small clubs to DJ bars and dance restaurants. Whether you want a dining-plus-dancing experience, something a little more underground, or a closer-knit crowd, these tiny dancefloors have you covered.
Volkshotel: Canvas and Doka
Volkshotel in Oost boasts not one but two dependable small dancefloors. Enjoy panoramic views from the top floor’s Canvas restaurant bar, as dining tables are cleared for a dancefloor every Friday and Saturday night, with resident DJs spinning funky global sounds. Or head downstairs to basement bar Doka, where DJs, artists, live bands and other creatives provide the early evening soundtrack as cocktails are slurped. In the late hours, the space transforms into an intimate, sweaty club that stays open until the sun comes up. Check the programme for visionary local talent and international guests spinning vinyl.
This DJ bar and club in Westerpark might be small, but it’s big on sound, atmosphere and bookings. Over several refurbishments since opening in 2018, the Radio Radio team have honed this intimate space and premiere sound system – attracting world-class DJs alongside their impressive roster of residents. Thursday–Sunday evenings offer cocktails with a killer soundtrack, while on Saturdays and Sundays you can tune into live streamed mixes or dance the night away until late. An unfailing choice for intimate parties with eclectic tunes and solid selectors.
On the larger end of Amsterdam’s smaller dancefloors, Garage Noord has cemented a central role both in Noord and the city’s wider club scene since opening in 2018. Now boasting a roti restaurant, two dancefloors and bookings to rival the biggest clubs, this former car repair shop continues booking parties with a rare authenticity and intimate atmosphere. Diversity is more than a buzzword here, from the club’s progressive policies to the eclectic, underground sounds of its DJ lineup. Well worth crossing the IJ for a pilgrimage to this hallowed hall.
In 2022, the Garage Noord team opened a second venue in the heart of the City Centre, on the Warmoesstraat. Kanaal40 carries over the same progressive spirit, in a multifunctional space including a bar, basement club and cafe open seven days a week. Inclusive community is key here, with a membership system and overarching foundation for inventive, cosmopolitan entrepreneurs. However much their manifesto for “micropop culture” resonates with you, come Thursday to Saturday to drink cocktails and dance ‘til late to homegrown sounds from local artists and collectives.
At the fringe of Westerpark, near the IJ’s waterside in the piers of Houthavens, lies an eye-catching yellow walkway. Follow the yellow-bannistered road to Yellow House, where in the day and early evenings co-workers and neighbours mingle to lunch and dine, indoors or on the spacious terrace. But when night falls, this house parties: a solid sound system turns the interior into an intimate but lively dancefloor. Get stuck in or peer down from the snug mezzanine overlooking the revelry.
One of many fashionable new joints scattered along the post-industrial Gedempt Hamerkanaal in Noord, Benelux caters both to early evening crowds and weekend warriors. As a chic bar, Benelux offers snacks and aperitivos from Tuesday to Sunday, with pop-up menus and listening events filling its agenda, and a crowd cross-pollinating with next door’s Euro Pizza restaurant. Friday–Saturday, the spacious 350-capacity space turns roomy dancefloor with a beefy Funktion 1 system, hosting well curated DJs until closing time at 03:00.
An interdisciplinary space to the extreme, the labyrinthine Sexyland World provides unpredictable programming in a range of spaces for hire. The original Sexyland in NDSM Wharf invited different guest curators to take over its space every day for three years, after which Sexyland World carried on the tradition – but bigger and better, in a new three-storey location near IJplein, Noord. Besides Sichuan and fusion Caribbean food, an “art castle” gallery space and a radio station, there’s also a regular club programme, delivering boutique parties for clubbers of all stripes.
Way out by Sloterdijk in West, craft beer bar and venue, BRET manages to be both spacious and cosy. Its distinctive red container structure is a welcome haven for the neighbourhood’s after-work drinkers, surrounded by gardens and especially snug in winter. But things really kick off late on weekends, when DJs take over the entire complex. Despite the relatively small main dancefloor, up to 400 clubbers can spill over to explore the building’s many nooks and outdoor spaces, providing an exclusive festival feel all year round.
Pushing the threshold of “tiny”, the dancefloor at Levenslang can accommodate up to 550 people, but still retains a surprisingly intimate, underground vibe for such a large space. Housed in the boiler room of former Bijlmerbajes prison at the southernmost edge of Oost, the space welcomes diners from early evening. Once the tables are cleared, this concrete corner turns fully fledged techno paradise, with all-nighters hosting some of the biggest local and international DJs around.
Bar Dancing Multipla
Another combined restaurant-club concept – from those behind Sissi’s – pop-up Bar Dancing Multipla takes things even more conceptual: its namesake and muse is the Fiat Multipla, in their eyes, “the ugliest car ever”. One model, to be raffled off to a lucky guest, adorns their terrace in the former industrial part of the Schinkel District in Zuid. Meanwhile, inside, they serve food with a similar playfulness – simple Italian sharing bowls, free snacks and an after-dinner dance. Once tables are cleared, an Italo-flavoured boogie commences, open to diners and dancers alike.
For all things (electronic) music and culture, find Amsterdam-based writer Callum at his website.