This popular European city is entering a new era – a third of its brothels are in the process of being closed down and the city is aiming to attract a new sort of clientele. Now is the time to choose your cool Amsterdam hotel and embrace the new Amsterdam, the hip hangouts and sophisticated joints are definitely there if you know where to find them…
We loved this place. It’s a typical brown cafe so-called for their nicotine-stained walls but also for their cosy and relaxed atmospheres. Cafe Kobalt is a slice of more of an authentic Amsterdam but also manages to be pretty hip. Housed in an 18th-century warehouse, expect friendly locals, a good selection of food and drink and even a live jazz session on a Sunday. Here’s some more great suggestions on how to spend one day in Amsterdam.
- Cafe Kobalt Singel 2 A, 1013 GA Amsterdam, Netherlands.
This is the place that foodies rave about. It’s actually housed in a greenhouse – one half is the restaurant and the other half grows it’s own organic herbs and produce. If your food wasn’t produced here, it will come from the surrounding garden or a nearby farm. This may sound pretty rustic but it’s actually very chic and the ‘greenhouse’ is far more like a spectacular glass conservatory. Serves up (extremely fresh) Dutch‑Mediterranean fayre.
- De Kas Kamerlingh Onneslaan 3, 1097 DE Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Named after Vesper Lynd, the only woman James Bond ever loved, it’s a small place that can get very crowded at weekends but what it lacks in size it makes up for in superb credentials. This intimate boutique bar has an award-winning ‘mixologist’ team and a very trendy Jordaan district location.
- Vesper Vinkenstraat 57, 1013 JM Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Chicago Social Club
Avoid the mega clubs and go to this small intimate club instead. In terms of music, It has everything from fast-paced comedy shows to music at the weekends. The feel of the club really depends on the line-up for that night – it offers everything from new soul to experimental with a couple of house/techno nights thrown in. Expect a cool, attractive crowd of people looking for a good night out.
Yes there are probably hipper joints in town, but we have a soft spot for Humphrey’s. It’s one of those places that you would probably wish was in every city. It offers excellent value food but they’ve also made a huge effort with the decor. Expect wooden floors, dark decor, over-sized bookcases and a cosy but sophisticated ambience.
Bar Lux Amsterdam
A laid back place and also a little bohemian, with rust-coloured walls, funky wallpaper and projection screen above the bar showing classic movies. Regulars are usually a pretty creative crowd including writers, painters and designers. The DJ spins tunes as laid-back as the bar itself but be warned this places gets packed solid after midnight on Friday and Saturday.
- Bar Lux Marnixstraat 403, 1017 PJ Amsterdam, Netherlands
The Noordermarkt is a square located in the attractive Jordaan neighbourhood. Lined with cafés and restaurants, Monday is market day and it seems to be the place to hangout. Here you’ll find a mix of second-hand goods for sale, ranging from antiques and books to clothes and household kitsch. On Saturdays it turns into a foodies’ paradise with a popular organic farmer’s market.
For a good dose of both food and culture try Toko MC – a cool laid back restaurant, bar and theatre all rolled into one. Go for the Caribbean food, the art exhibition or just to party. The club events here are an imitate, relaxed affair with a feel of being at someone’s house party.
- Toko MC Polonceaukade 5, Amsterdam, Netherlands
A cool brasserie and bar with bare brickwork, a 79-foot-long concrete bar and a huge lounge area complete with sofas and easy chairs. There’s also an atmospheric candle-lit restaurant which specialises in North African food, just make sure you book in advance if you plan to visit on a weekend.
- Bo Cinq Prinsengracht 494, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Yes Speakeasy style bars are nothing new, but this one is worth a mention. Of course, being pseudo-speakeasy there is no actual door number (you have to ring before 8pm and reserve a table on the day you plan to visit). Once you do get inside the bar is actually very impressive with an attractive dark-wood dominated art deco interior and leather seating. Also expect very good quality cocktails.
- Reguliersdwarsstraat 74I, 1017 BN Amsterdam, Netherlands