Unless you’ve been living under a rock, it won’t come as a surprise to you that Amsterdam is a pretty good place to go if you fancy a drink. But it’s not all about staying out until the early hours (although it is still a little bit about staying out until the early hours), because the Amsterdam café scene is nothing to sniff at either.
Whether you’re looking for a ‘lekker’ (cool) bar for late night festivities or a cosy café (not to be confused with a coffeeshop) for a coffee to wake you up, Amsterdam has got you covered. Fun fact: the Dutch even have a word to describe the kind of cosiness that only a café can offer – ‘gezelligheid’.
Want to know the best place for brunch in Amsterdam? Fancy a drink by the canal? Read on for the best bars and cafés in the city…
Where can you find the best coffee in Amsterdam, you ask? We can’t say for sure (we’re travel experts, not coffee connoisseurs after all) but Bakers & Roasters in De Pijp (or Kadijksplein) has really, really good coffee. The New Zealand and Brazil-inspired café serves fantastic Ozone coffee to start your day right as well as some great brunch options. This is the place to go to grab a great coffee and hearty breakfast in Amsterdam.
Avocado is the key to a killer brunch spread, right? So, while we were noncommittal on crowning Amsterdam’s best coffee, you won’t find such hesitation here. If you’re looking for the best brunch in Amsterdam, you’d do well to consider The Avocado Show. This exceptionally Instagrammable restaurant specialises in creative, visually stunning, avocado-centric dishes and – as its website reassuringly states – is a “magical place full of good avocado vibes”. We agree.
Located in De Hallen (so you know it’s cool), Kanarie Club does it all – serving up breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner, bar snacks, coffees, cocktails and nearly every type of drink under the sun all day, every day. Oh, and there’s an upstairs ‘pool’ and an accompanying cocktail bar for refreshing evenings and hot nights out. Don’t worry about falling in after a few drinks though, it’s completely empty but perfect for lounging in. Why? Why not.
Helping us segue effortlessly (ish) from cafés to bars is Canvas. Open throughout the day for breakfast and brunch, but especially great of an evening, Canvas is one of Amsterdam’s most must-see bars. From its spot on the seventh floor of the Volkshotel, this rooftop offers cracking views of the city centre and the River Amstel, and there are few spots better for pairing a panorama with a drink than this. ‘Club Canvas’ is open on Fridays and Saturdays until 4am.
If rooftops aren’t your thing, then head to Amsterdam’s Noord district for a boaty bohemian bar unlike any you’ve seen before. Café De Ceuvel is a (very) quirky establishment located in a former shipyard and made up entirely of old houseboats. Sustainability is the name of the game here, which explains why everything is built out of recycled material and the kitchen serves up a menu filled with organic, locally produced food. While that might make it a good place for a spot of brunch or breakfast in Amsterdam, this riverside hotspot really comes to life as the sun goes down – Café De Cuevel hosts everything from concerts to film screenings and parties.
Meaning ‘The Grape’, Cafe de Druif on Rapenburgerplein has stood for over 400 years and hosted some of the Netherlands’ most famous seafaring heroes – not to mention the thousands of sailors who passed through for a jenever (a predecessor of gin, if you didn’t know) back in the day. With wood panelling, old casks and chandeliers, this bite-sized boozer might not score well in the looks department, but it does deliver character and charm in spades. Oh, and it’s a pretty great spot for some al fresco, canalside drinking – not always an easy feat in the city centre.