Nightlife in Amsterdam – Best Clubs, Bars and Areas

The amount of party areas of different styles, the sense of freedom and the large international crowd make the nightlife in Amsterdam unmatched. Undoubtedly, the capital of the Netherlands has one of the best party scenes in Europe.


  • Infinity of events: the Netherlands in general and Amsterdam in particular offer a multitude of national and international events throughout the year. Check Facebook before going out to party.
  • Different areas to go out: Like most big cities, Amsterdam has several popular areas to party. Unlike elsewhere though, here each one has its own particular style, read more below.
  • Cosmopolitan and international: Amsterdam is one of the most cosmopolitan cities in Europe and it shows immediately when you arrive at the airport. This allows you to enjoy a wide variety of cultures and styles all around.
  • Amsterdam has a huge and charming historical centre full of canals and bridges. The dim lighting and the Renaissance buildings contrast with the brightly illuminated electronic music clubs.
  • The city can be also very romantic for a couple – if you walk along more quiet canals, their atmosphere in the darkness with low lights reflected in the water is truly special.

Opening hours of bars and clubs in Amsterdam:

  • During the week days the bars remain open until 1:00 am.
  • Clubs during special parties and on weekends remain open until 5:00 or 6:00 am.

The Main Nightlife Areas in Amsterdam

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Amsterdam has 3 main areas to party, the Dam Square (same area as the Red Light District), Leidseplein and Rembrandtplein. Another recommended area to visit is the Jordaan district, the alternative neighborhood of the city, ideal for shopping and for a coffee or beer with a canal view.

1. Dam Square and the Red Light District

Red Light District in Amsterdam

Red Light District in Amsterdam – Photo by maevekroyCC BY 2.0

The largest tourist area of Amsterdam is concentrated around the Dam Square, with its numerous historical and governmental buildings, as well as an endless number of bars and restaurants.

Along the way from the Dam Square to the Red Light District, close to the Old Church (Oude Kerk) are located the most famous coffeeshops (marijuana bars). Here are also the rows of famous red-lit windows of “working girls”. Walking around this area you can grasp the essence of the city, famous for its open culture, sexual liberty and legal use of marijuana.

The Red Light District is a great area to enjoy the coffeeshops with their delirious interiors and the excited crowd. It’s also perfect for a beer in one of the typical and traditional pubs with dark wooden panels.

Read more on the Red Light District here

Read more on Coffeeshops here.

2. Leidseplein – The Zone with Most Discos and Clubs

Leidseplein in Amsterdam

Leidseplein in Amsterdam

Leidseplein is the most popular area to party,  both for locals and tourists. Here you can find the best nightclubs in Amsterdam (which we list below) and small clubs scattered around the streets of the area.

You have a guaranteed party until 5 in the morning and you can also start as soon as you want. There are numerous coffeeshops and pubs in the surrounding area, as well as a large selection of international restaurants.

3. Rembrandtplein in Amsterdam – Pubs, Coffeeshops and Good Atmosphere

Rembrandtplein in Amsterdam

Rembrandtplein in Amsterdam – Photo by Ivan MilinkovCC BY 2.0

This small square has become the epicentre of the Amsterdam nightlife. It has many pubs, some coffeeshops such as the Smokey (photo) and has a great atmosphere and a superb location.

It’s ideal to spend an evening and have a beer. Then, if you still want more, go to Leidseplein or the Red Light District, as this area is right between them, just 10 minutes walking from each.

The Best Pubs & Bars in Amsterdam

Let us recommend you 3 classic Dutch pubs with a lot of style, perfect for tasting Dutch and Belgian beers. Belgian beers are considered by many the best in the world (I agree). Hence, they are very popular in the neighbour country – there is a good selection of them in many Dutch pubs.

Obviously, Holland has a great beer heritage, too – this small country has no less than 400 breweries!

1. Proeflokaal Arendsnest

Impressive choice of beers in Proeflokaal Arendsnest

Impressive choice of beers in Proeflokaal Arendsnest

This typical Dutch pub has more than 50 tap beers, all Dutch. The venue is very small and always busy. Ideal to discover new beers and try them with the cheese and croquette platter – typical snacks to accompany beers in the Netherlands.

2. Bar Oldenhof

Oldenhof may be described in these two words: prestige and elegance. It is a classic pub specializing in cocktails and whiskey.

3.  Cafe Gollem Amstelstraat

Cafe Gollem is a lively, informal pub with a great selection of beers. Nowadays it is a franchise with 3 locations in the Dutch capital. Their speciality is the selection of local beers.

The Best Discos and Clubs in Amsterdam

Here is the list of the best clubs in Amsterdam:

  1. Escape: the biggest disco in Amsterdam.
  2. Chicago social club.
  3. The Power Zone.
  4. NYX Amsterdam.

Three Coffeeshops of Amsterdam that you must Visit

Coffeeshops are an unrivaled tourist attraction, even non-smokers are amazed that a country allows the sale and consumption of cannabis in their premises. However, my personal experience is not very positive.

Generally the coffeeshops are full, they are very small and extremely expensive. Since the first time I visited Amsterdam 10 years ago, it seemed strange to me that they enjoyed such international fame. I have selected the three best coffeeshops I know. Make no mistake, the selection of marijuana and hashish is very similar in all, the interesting thing is their decoration, history and the environment.

If you find the culture of cannabis fascinating, you can learn much more at the Marijuana Museum.

1. Bulldog – the First Coffeeshop

Coffeeshop Bulldog in Amsterdam

Coffeeshop Bulldog in Amsterdam

Nowadays, Bulldog owns multiple businesses: cafés, coffeeshops, hostel and restaurants spread throughout the city, but especially in the Red Light District. Their premises are always full and they are a must – at least to see. Bulldog proudly claims to have been the first Coffeeshop ever.

2. Original Dampkring

The Original Dampkring coffeeshop near Leidseplein is always busy, especially at night. Its fame is due to its fantastic psychodelic decoration and lighting (see also beautiful details at the entrance), which mixed with chillout music creates an outworldly atmosphere.

3. Barney’s Coffeeshop

Barney’s knew how to innovate and introduced – in addition to the usual service of marijuana and hashish – also good breakfasts and food. Since the year 1986 when it was founded, until now it is still its business model. You can visit the place for lunch and dinner. The marijuana-patterned cappuccino is the signature drink of Barney’s.

Jazz Clubs in Amsterdam

Jazz occupies a very important place in the life and culture of Amsterdam, where great talents and stars like Chet Baker were born.

1. Bourbon Street Jazz and Blues Club

One of the places where you can listen to good jazz is in Bourbon Street Jazz and Blues Club, located in Leidsekruisstraat 6-8.

2. Jazz Club Bimhuis

Another option is the well-known and famous jazz club Bimhuis, located in Oude Schans 73-77, in the glorious historic centre of the city. Every Wednesday there are performances by the Dutch Jazz Orchestra.

Chinatown in Amsterdam

Just behind the Red Light District there are some small blocks of buildings that make up Amsterdam’s Chinatown. The denomination is not the most appropriate since its huge community comes from different Asian countries, especially Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand. There are few pubs here, but it’s a great place to grab a bite in the evening. There are plenty of great Asian restaurants and small snack bars, and it’s very animated in the evening.

Casinos in Amsterdam

Amsterdam has two casinos. To enter, it is required to be dressed formally, be at least 18 years old and have an identity card or passport. These are:

  • Holland Casino Amsterdam, located at Max Euweplein 62, open at 1:30 pm at 03:00 am.
  • Holland Casino Schiphol Airport, located in the West Terminal of Schiphol Airport, from 6:00 am to 7:30 pm.

More Options of the Nightlife in Amsterdam

We have mentioned the main points of interest of the nightlife of Amsterdam – if you know other cool places, leave a comment and don’t forget to share the article ;)

3 thoughts on “Nightlife in Amsterdam – Best Clubs, Bars and Areas

  1. I’m an expat from Slovakia living in Amsterdam. From my experience, Leidseplein is a really cool place to go out. NJOY is nice, good cocktails. For beers I like Beer Temple, incredible selection of beers!

  2. During my first visit, an obsession with gezellig (very cozy!) Amsterdam began. This New Yorker has since travelled there over 30 times. I’d like to share my favorite Coffeeshop, one for which “High Times” is in Agreement: The Tweede Kamer. On a Steeg (an alley) off Koningsplein, it’s small, crowded but should be the Ganga destination of choice for the discriminating Cannibis consumer.

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