Amsterdam has the name as one of Europe's main party cities but gone are the days when it was a seven night party town, since the introduction of the Euro back in 2002, going out more than once a week has become so expensive people cannot afford it. Even the once huge seven nights a week gay scene has gone from a seven night thing to just the weekends, Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
Thursdays start the ball rolling now , not a real busy night but ok but once you are in Amsterdam you are nearly guaranteed to meet all sorts of weird and wonderful people. You never know who you'll meet in Amsterdam as it's a city which has an amazing mix of people and seems to attract nutters, weirdo's, crackpots and all sorts of other interesting people.
Amsterdam's nightlife has something for everyone, weather you are on a romantic getaway weekend or a group on a stag or hen party the city is sure to have something for you.
A couple can go on a real romantic walk along the canals which at night with the lights surrounding the arch of each bridge all lit up and the lights from the houses reflected in the canals can be very romantic indeed. Amsterdammers do not use curtains so you can clearly see into the houses some of which you will drool over.
Stags and Hens can spend at least one night bar hopping, hopping from bar to bar as Amsterdam boasts over 1000 of them dotted all over the city before heading for one of the many night clubs around town to party until dawn.
If you wish to hear live music while dancing through the night, then head to Rembrantsplein and Leidseplein areas or there are also a few in and around the red-light/ Walletjes area.
Amsterdam also has a number of ‘grand cafes’, a mixture of bar and café, where you can enjoy a drink, food or just sit and read or just watch the world go by over a coffee. Cafe Grand on Rembrantsplein is one of the best, good food, good coffee and an amazing view as well as all the staff (male and female) being model or cat-walk material.
Amsterdam’s clubs usually open at 10pm - 11pm and, must close at 4am (by law) weeknights and 5am at weekends. The trendier clubs want smart-casual looking dressed clientele and as with clubs the world over , no trainers or jeans. Any dress goes at the more down to earth venues. Persons aged 18 years or older are allowed to purchase alcohol anywhere in Amsterdam..
The sale of soft drugs is allowed in Amsterdam and mainly centre's around the coffee shops which are easy to recognise as you walk around from the smell wafting from the shops and they are usually named after something or some association with drugs, like High Times, The Doors, The Grey Area, Free, happy times, All coffeeshops have a drugs ‘menu’, with is usually on the counter
and sells weed and hash in 1 gram deals. Maximum by law is 5 grams at any one time.
Most if not all night clubs let you smoke joints but the regular bars will ask you to "Put out the joint"
Whisky lovers should not miss stopping off at De Stil, Spuistraat 326, which stocks 150 different single malt whiskies. The owners / staff will even teach "whisky virgins" the first stages of discovering whisky unaided by a mixer.I.E Straight Whisky
Beer lovers head for De Wildman, Nieuwezijds located at Kolk 3, which has a selection of over 200 different bottled beers from around Europe. Sports fans who do not wish to miss their favourite game while on holiday should head for the Satellite Sports Café, located on at Leidseplein 11, a very touristy place, mainly for the English market but a great place for those missing their favourite games from home. With over 15 different screens they show nearly every major sport event from around the world.
Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal has become one of the current trendy areas of the city for bar/clubs. With many pubs and clubs opening up around this area , The Getaway bar is a real hip and happening place, always packed and also does real good food at a fixed price of Euro 10 and the menus is different each day. The Seymour Lounge, is also a funky place with an amazing looking fish tank filled with what look like small building bricks. Live DJs play to entertain the customers before they move on the night clubs. also located close by is the very trendy Club NL with its cutting-edge sounds, discerning crowd and asshole bouncers – dress to impress or you will not get in.
The gay and lesbian scene is mainly located in and around Reguliersdwarsstraat , which is quite central just off the floating flower market.
Casinos: Amsterdam has just two places where you can loose your shirt during your stay and are located close to Leidseplein at Max Euweplein 62, open daily 1.30pm to 3am (last entry at 2am), and also at Schiphol Airport, in Terminal West open daily 6am to 7.30pm. (All the gamblers must take early flights) Casual dress is allowed, trousers and shirt or tee shirt and only those over 18 years are admitted. Make sure you bring your passport.
Amsterdam has a number of good clubs and new ones are opening all the time. Some of the most famous are The Paradiso located at Weteringschans 6–8, and The Melkweg located at Lijnbaansgracht 234 are always a good spot at weekends. Amsterdam biggest and most famous club is Escape which is located on Rembrandtplein which runs different nights each month as well as it's regular Saturday ‘Chemistry’ night which is very famous and hugely popular, attracting some big names in the international DJ world. The queues outside can be huge and getting in is not guaranteed. A group of guys together will NOT get in. Best ask a girl in the queue if you can go in with her.
A few other regular hot spots are Sinners / Heaven located at Wagenstraat 3–7, and the now famous Panama located at Oostelijke Handelskade 4 in the docks area of the city at the back of central station a new up-and-coming warehouse district.
Club More located at Rozengracht 133 is an exclusive club operated by the owners of the really famous Supper Club restaurant chain, with the same chic feel about it and attracting the "It" crowd.
Live music: Jazz being very popular in Amsterdam has become home to several of the jazz greats and Amsterdam offers several good Jazz clubs. The most popular and famous ones are Bourbon Street Jazz and Blues Club located at Leidsekruisstraat 6–8, or the Bimhuis located at Oude Schans 73–77, The Dutch Jazz Orchestra play every Wednesday and on other nights European and world wide jazz players perform . Details at (www.dutchjazz.nl)
The following pages list a complete list of all clubs and the best bars to check out during your stay in Amsterdam.
New places are opening up all the time and places are closing all the time, some places last a few months and some you think wont make it last forever.
The smoking ban has had a major effect on most bars with all reporting less business and several have already closed down. The good news is as of late the bars are ignoring the ban and are allowing customers to smoke.
Some other pages which may be of interest
Explore our Red-light Guide