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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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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't Smalle

  • Bars/Pubs

Set with Golden Age chandeliers, leaded-glass windows, and the patina of centuries, this charmer is one of Amsterdam's most glorious...

Amnesia

  • Cafes–Nightlife

The dark interior is more than compensated for by the canalside terrace, where you can smoke your weed while watching the boats pass...

COC

  • Gathering Places

Founded in 1946, this center of the Dutch Association for the Integration of Homosexuality is the oldest organization of its kind in...

Café Chris

  • Bars/Pubs

This venue has been pouring beverages since 1624, which makes it the oldest bar in the Jordaan. The tiny washrooms remind you how small...

Café Tabac

  • Cafes–Nightlife

One of the best modern cafés in the Jordaan commands a charming corner between Brouwersgracht and Prinsengracht. The staff are friendly...

Closure

  • Dance Clubs

No pun intended, but this newcomer is helping to fill the gap left by the closure of the popular Trouw, with Saturday techno and Friday...

De Prins

  • Cafes–Nightlife

This mainstay on the Prinsengracht is blessed with a canalside patio. A brown-café atmosphere prevails, while a modern kitchen sends...

De Twee Zwaantjes

  • Cafes–Nightlife

If you want to hear the locals sing folk music, stop by this classic canalside café. ...

Maloe Melo

  • Music Clubs

What could be nicer than a friendly dive, a place for rock, blues, and roots musicians? Sometimes said musicians are joined on stage...

Nol

  • Bars/Pubs

Just getting started around 9, Nol resonates with lusty-lunged native Jordaaners having the time of their lives. ...

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