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 30

Jordaan 18

Leidseplein 16

Canal Rings 16

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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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Best For

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Gay and Lesbian 24

New 4

Amsterdam Nightlife

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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...

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...

Club Church

  • Dance Clubs

Three floors of play-and-dance space offer changing theme nights six times a week. If you're looking to cruise, this is a good bet. ...

Cuckoo's Nest

  • Bars/Pubs

Back in 1984, this bar was so leather-lined it put San Francisco's Folsom Street to shame. Today it attracts a more diverse crowd, many...

De Trut

  • Bars/Pubs

Every Sunday night, the basement of an old squat in an unmarked building opens its doors to gay men and women. All the workers are volunteers...

Dirty Dick's

  • Bars/Pubs

Founded in 1974, this must be the oldest leather cruise bar in Amsterdam. On Thursday all local beers and soft drinks are €2. ...

Flirtation

  • Dance Clubs

This highly successful women-only dance event for young lesbians and bi-curious girls takes over dance club Panama four times a year,...

Garbo

  • Dance Clubs

This women-only dance night for lesbians and bisexuals takes place every third Saturday of the month at the popular bar-restaurant Strand...

Getto

  • Bars/Pubs

Founded in 1996, this truly mellow place welcomes everyone: gay, lesbian, bi, queer, or straight. They have an appetizing cocktail menu...

Lellebel

  • Bars/Pubs

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

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