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


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Centrum 30

Jordaan 18

Leidseplein 16

Canal Rings 16


Rembrandtplein 13

Western Canal Ring 3

Oud-West 10

De Pijp 8

Museum District 8

Oosterdok 7

Red Light District 5

Amsterdam-Oost 5

Nieuwmarkt 4

Plantage 3

Western Islands 1

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Bars/ Pubs 44

Brewpubs/ Beer Gardens 3

Cafes–Nightlife 53

Casinos 1

Comedy Clubs 1

Dance Clubs 19

Gathering Places 4

Music Clubs 16

Nightlife Overview 1

Tapas Bars 1

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Gay and Lesbian 24

New 4

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...


  • Cafes–Nightlife

Down a small alley, just a stone's throw from the Dam, you'll come upon what would seem to be the multilevel home of a family of hip...


  • 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,...


  • Music Clubs

Hear the top picks of local ensembles (and some well-respected locals) in the jam-packed and ultra-intimate environment of one of Amsterdam...


  • 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...

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...


  • Cafes–Nightlife

Jutting out of the music theater Stopera, this grand café is the perfect point for a pre- or post-performance drink or meal. The staff...

Bar Bukowski

  • Bars/Pubs

This local hot spot in the up-and-coming East has a sunny corner terrace facing the Oosterpark and a weekend cocktail bar, Henry's Bar,...


  • Music Clubs

The best-known jazz place in town occupies the utterly awesome Muziekgebouw aan 't IJ. Everyone, fans of the old legends to those of...


  • Dance Clubs

An adventurous and diverse program of entertainment includes DJs, live bands, and even theater. When it comes to music, hip-hop, funk,...


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