Amsterdam has a bit of a reputation as a party spot. However, as anybody who knows the Dutch capital will tell you, there are plenty of high-end venues that wouldn’t be out of place in cities that are often considered a little more upmarket and refined when it comes to nightlife, which shouldn’t come as a surprise given Amsterdam’s cosmopolitan nature, and the history that runs through its streets. If you’re on the way to the city and want to know where to stop off for a drink while exploring its canals, galleries, and museums, then read ahead for our guide to the best cocktail bars in Amsterdam!
If you want classic glamour and old-world charm in your cocktail venue, this hotel bar, a stone’s throw from the Tulip Museum, is the spot for you. Open seven days a week, the bar is tucked away in the Pulitzer Hotel, but it’s well worth checking out for the quality of product and ambience. Fitting with its historic vibe, Pulitzer does a fantastic job of rendering all the classics, making sure the drinks look as good as they taste but doing so via elegant simplicity rather than the more outlandish decorations that can sometimes come with craft cocktails. They have a changing selection of house creations, too, so if you like to experiment, you’re in luck.
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If Michelin gave out stars for cocktail bars, Bar Mokum would likely have a handful by now. Named for the Yiddish word for sanctuary (a designation given to Amsterdam, thanks to the city’s long history of tolerance for other cultures), there’s a homely feel to the bar thanks to its lack of pretension and focus on Dutch ingredients for their drinks and garnishes. However, don’t mistake that friendly, laid-back vibe for an absence of quality. The menu offers some stunning and inventive takes on old favourites, delivering on flavour and aesthetics—an exquisite and unique experience.
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Innovation and joyfulness drive the menu at this upmarket but welcoming bar right in the centre of the city. As you’d expect from any good cocktail bar, the classic favourites are available and made to an impeccable standard, but it’s the homemade creations that really stand out here. Additionally, they have a real treasure trove of whiskies and other high-end spirits, so if you want something neat, you’ll only be served the best. Add in the stylish decor and high-end art that surrounds you, as well as the slightly hidden feel (it’s on the third floor of a hotel), and a drink here feels like a truly special experience..
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Another spot for those who like their drinks to be served like they might have been in during the birth of cocktail culture in big cities during prohibition in the U.S, Bar Oldenhof has low lighting, velvet furnishings, and furniture made from deep, richly coloured woods that practically breathe class. The staff are highly professional but have a warm, welcoming demeanour that reminds you that you’re here to have fun, not just sit in awe of the drinks and your surroundings. And, frankly, even without the luxurious interior design, it would be worth visiting here because the creations are totally unique in the best possible way, not only in taste but also in style. With that said, if you want a classic Martini, they do a phenomenal job of that, too.
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With over a decade and a half spent working on their bar, the owners at Door 74 have practically perfected the art of the speakeasy. From the unassuming entryway to the sleek, chic decor with just a sprinkle of a classic touch, the second you enter this spot, you know you’re in for a good time. The drinks are divine, the atmosphere perfectly balanced between relaxed and refined, and the staff prompt yet friendly. Whether you’re looking for a simple Caipirinha or want to indulge in the adventure that is one of their in-house creations, you’re sure to love your visit here.
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This fun, classy spot is walk-ins only, but it’s definitely worth taking a chance as there’s few places in the city like it. Set over multiple stories, there’s also a restaurant attached, which means the bar food is to the highest standard. However, even with all that delicious grub, there’s no doubt your attention will be on the drinks. The in-house creations come alongside a fun little story about their origin, adding an extra dimension to a visit here. They also do a host of variations on the Old Fashioned, so if you’re a fan, you’re in luck. An experience as unforgettable as it is delicious.
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