Throughout the month of the December, the Netherlands overflows with Christmas cheer. Markets become more than a place to buy food and trinkets – they become a place to warm up with glühwein and oliebollen, find the perfect gifts for friends and family, and spend time with those you love.
Whether you’re after soaking up the atmosphere of a traditional Dutch brown café, lounging in a city luxurious grand café, enjoying a summer cocktail on one of the city’s many terraces or checking out the thriving bar scene, Amsterdam is the perfect place to enjoy a drink.
With its rich heritage in brewing and distilling, you could say that Amsterdam likes a tipple. It’s impossible to walk for more than 50ft in the city without stumbling across a bar or café, and indeed watching the world go by from the comfort of a canal side terrace bar is one of the most pleasurable ways to while away an afternoon in Amsterdam.
Bars in Amsterdam: From brown cafés to cocktail chic
For a taste of authentic Amsterdam bar culture, head to one of the city’s many ‘brown cafés'; so-called because of their nicotine stained walls and cosy wooden décor. Here you’ll find good Dutch beer, locally distilled (often on-site) jenever and a warm welcome in historic surroundings. Serious beer fans are also well catered for in Amsterdam thanks to a plethora of microbreweries and tasting rooms dotted around the city. Read our guide to the top 10 speciality beer bars in Amsterdam.
If you’re looking for something a little more shaken and stirred, then explore Amsterdam’s vibrant cocktail scene at one of its many buzzing cocktail bars; covering everything from swanky hotel bar chic to tatt-and-tache hipster hotspots.
Cafés and coffee
But of course it’s not all about the booze. Amsterdam’s burgeoning coffee culture is one of Europe’s finest, and the term 'coffee shop' is slowly beginning to take on a whole new meaning in the city as more and more serious bean roasters ensure that you’re never far from a lovely cuppa. For a brew with a difference, check out our guide to 10 arty coffee spots in Amsterdam, where you can enjoy a finely roasted cuppa whilst indulging in some very arty surroundings, or take a look at our favourite 15 coffee spots in Amsterdam.