Amsterdam Nightlife

Beyond the smoke and red-lit windows, Amsterdam is a city teeming with music, dance, theater, and art, that has given it the epithet "nightlife capital of the world." Think outside the box, and even outside the Grachtengordel, and you'll be amazed at what this city that (almost) never sleeps has to offer.

Many people know that The Night Watch is the name of Rembrandt’s most famous

painting, but not everyone remembers that, back in the early 2000s, it was also the nickname of a bunch of "Night Mayors." This group of cultural leaders saw their role as fighters against the frumpiness that had cast a shadow over Amsterdam’s night scene, thanks to the fact that the city fathers had cleared away the "squats"—the deserted buildings that were the settings for city’s wildest nighttime events and raves. Now, 15 years later, Amsterdam has happily reclaimed its reputation as a true nightlife capital. The city is a must-stop on the international DJ circuit, and new pop-up clubs and dance venues and a plethora of homegrown festivals keep all walks of life shaking until the wee hours of the morning. The city is rich with inspired folk who are willing to organize a video arts festival in a cruise-ship terminal, a gentle Bach recital on a canal, an arts festival in an abandoned factory, a house party in a football stadium, or some heart-stopping spectacle in a park. So get ready to savor Amsterdam’s giant cultural wallop through its numerous venues—from former churches and industrial monuments to the acoustical supremacy of the legendary hall of the Concertgebouw.

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Fodor's Choice

Area

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Centrum 26

Leidseplein 13

Jordaan 13

Canal Rings 13

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Rembrandtplein 10

Western Canal Ring 3

Oud-West 10

De Pijp 8

Oosterdok 7

Museum District 6

Red Light District 5

Amsterdam-Oost 5

Nieuwmarkt 4

Plantage 3

Western Islands 1

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Category

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Bars/ Pubs 38

Brewpubs/ Beer Gardens 3

Cafes–Nightlife 46

Dance Clubs 15

Gathering Places 3

Music Clubs 16

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Best For

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Gay and Lesbian 17

New 4

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Amsterdam Nightlife

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Air

  • Dance Clubs

Although spacious, Air aims for an intimate vibe, with loads of dimly lit nooks and multiple bars. If you're traveling with a crowd,...

Amstel Fifty Four

  • Bars/Pubs

Formerly known as Amstel Taveerne, this is still a gay-friendly bruine kroeg . Tankards and brass pots hanging from the ceiling reflect...

Café Krom

  • Bars/Pubs

Bruno the bartender is as much a fixture at this local café as its lovingly restored Art Deco features. High ceilings give a more spacious...

Café Oosterling

  • Bars/Pubs

The fourth generation of Oosterlings still runs this corner bar with its original stone floor and barrels of jenever way up high. Popular...

De Admiraal

  • Cafes–Nightlife

The tasting house of the only remaining traditional distillery in Amsterdam serves potent liqueurs, including jenever. ...

De Kroon

  • Cafes–Nightlife

This grand café dating back to 1898 is popular for both its intimate seating arrangements and a U-shape bar surrounding old-style wooden...

Escape

  • Dance Clubs

Thursday through Sunday, this megaclub opens its doors to some 2,500 people. The great Escape is meant for those who take "dress to impress...

Lellebel

  • Bars/Pubs

This decade-old drag-show bar is renowned for its extravagant weekend performances. Recent additions to the weekday program include karaoke...

Montmartre

  • Bars/Pubs

This kitschy gay pub attracts an outgoing, all-ages crowd stopping in for a drink and perhaps a sing-along before heading out to the...

Studio 80

  • Dance Clubs

With its dim lighting and alternative programming, Studio 80 is unlikely to share its clientele with the neighboring mainstream clubs.

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