Okay, I’ll say it: Amsterdam gets a bad rap. While the city’s liberal attitudes towards everything from nudity to recreational drugs can discourage some from visiting, I’m here to shout from the steep Dutch rooftops that Amsterdam offers something for everyone, no matter what travellers are seeking.
The city is steeped with cool in all forms, from gilded museums to incredible restaurants to, of course, an amazing bar scene. You may have heard that Amsterdam’s bars are second to none, but if you’re the kind of traveller who isn’t happy to just visit the most popular destinations in a city, Amsterdam’s secret bar scene will thrill you. We’ve gathered a few of our favourite secret bars and speakeasies in this
Travel to: The Netherlands
- Reguliersdwarsstraat 74
Door74 is one of Amsterdam’s most popular speakeasies, and it’s plain to see why! You won’t find a single sign or marker of this cozy bar; you’ll just have to trust that the plain black door across the street from popular lounge Fejoa will open to reveal exciting things. Door74 offers top-shelf cocktails, decor straight out of the twenties (just look up at that tin roof!), and a friendly, welcoming atmosphere. Cocktail workshops are also available when booked ahead!
- Albert Cuypstraat 129
If you’re looking for a seriously unique speakeasy experience, The Butcher may be just the thing for you. By day, The Butcher is a local chain of delicious burgers. By night, and only by reservation and with an exclusive password, guests can go through a secret door and sip on curated cocktails in what’s possibly the most exclusive bar in Amsterdam. For those able to secure a reservation, The Butcher must be at the very top of your list.
The Wine Cellar
- Nieuwezijdsvoorburgwal 137, across from the Magna Plaza
Luxurious spirits are one thing, but what about those looking to find the perfect glass of wine during their visit to Amsterdam? Skip the usual wine bars and head to the 15th-century “New Church” in Amsterdam’s Dam Square! In the church’s catacombs you’ll find The Wine Cellar, where visitors can experience an informal tasting session with an expert sommelier. Sip on New World wines in the heart of the city, and, if you find something you love, The Wine Cellar also sells by the bottle.
See Also: What to Expect on a Wine Tour
No visit to Amsterdam would be complete without a walk in the Vondel Park! But if all that walking makes you thirsty, you may be surprised where you can find a refreshing drink at the end of the day. A former Cold War bunker is now home to a counterculture haven. Here, you’ll find art exhibits, special movie nights, concerts, dinners, and the bunker’s very own microbrewery, Bunkerbier. While you can find their beers in various locations around Amsterdam, visiting the actual bunker is an unbeatable experience.
World Class Room
- Utrechtsestraat 30A
Another exclusive speakeasy, the World Class Room is located above a large restaurant. If you have a reservation, a representative from the bar will meet guests at the restaurant’s check-in and lead you upstairs to the kitchen. Once there, it’s simply a matter of typing in the code, and entering the speakeasy through a door disguised as a refrigerator. Yes, really! Only seventeen people are permitted to visit the World Class Room at once, which makes it the most exclusive bar on our list, but we’re told the cocktails are more than worth it.
See Also: Is Travelling Solo Fun?
- Rapenburg 18
Hiding in Plain Sight, or HPS, describes themselves as “Occasional creators of memorable evenings.” When you arrive on the ground-floor bar, don’t let let appearances fool you! Head upstairs to find yourself in a lush, intimate bar. Expert staff create custom cocktails personalized to each guest, and that’s if you aren’t there on the night of one of their famous events. Don’t be surprised if your trip to HPS lands on the night of a murder mystery, swing-dancing, or Day of the Dead celebration! Just make sure to book in advance; reservations are recommended for groups of four or more, and groups are limited to under 8 people on weekends.
Amsterdam is full of surprises, from the quirky to the downright bizarre, and why shouldn’t that translate to their bars? No matter what you’re looking for in your next night out in Amsterdam, you’ll be able to find it – and beat the crowds – with one of these secret bars or speakeasies!
What’s your favourite hidden gem in Amsterdam? Let us know!