Amsterdam Bars & Nightlife
2e van der Helststraat 3, De Pijp
This stop is an especially valuable recommendation if you're visiting Amsterdam in the cold winter, as the cozy interior is a pretty perfect place to warm up from the cold with a glass of wine. Stop by in the early evening to pick up a bottle of wine from their shop for dinner, or come after dinner for a more bar-like feel (they're open until midnight most nights).
Singel 460, Centrum
This glitzy, "American-style" bar is a central part of the newly revived Odeon building, a historical building that's been standing along Amsterdam's central canal since 1662. The bar has two identities, depending on when you arrive. Before dinner, it's a classy cocktail bar with a jewel-toned Art Deco vibe. Later on, things get a little more raucous, as it stays open until the wee hours. Check out the cocktail "laboratory" in the back, where bartenders prepare craft cocktails under an operation lamp.
Hiding in Plain Sight
Rapenburg 18, Centrum
If you looked up "hipster" in the dictionary, it's likely there'd be a picture of Hiding in Plain Sight (or HPS, as locals call it)—and the clientele here would be the first to acknowledge it. Before you roll your eyes at the waiters in vests with waxed moustaches, take a sip of your cocktail; it's likely one of—if not the—best in the city. HPS is also a hangout for local musicians, so check the calendar in advance to find out if anyone's playing while you're in town.
J.D. William’s Whisky Bar
Prinsenstraat 5, Jordaan
The couple behind this Jordaan bar (it's a family affair—the initials "J" and "D" stand for their sons, and William for one of their fathers) is obsessive about whisky, and it shows. Behind the bar, open shelves drilled into an exposed brick wall belie rows and rows of backlit whisky bottles, so the selection is endless. The decor is a mix, with warm brown leather in the bar area and white walls, pine floors, and teal booths in the back, where you can order fresh, Asian-inflected food.
Ruysdaelkade 149, De Pijp
Don’t let the creepy cannibal theme throw you off—it actually makes for a very original, moody design scheme and gives the proprietors here an excuse to gather some fascinating antiques. As for the food, the charcuterie plates and simple salads are delicious and easy, and the long draft list features some of Europe’s best craft beers. They serve food late even on weeknights, making it a god-send after delayed trains and planes. There's a second location in Centrum.
Handboogstraat 17-19, Centrum
Don’t let the creepy cannibal theme throw you off—it actually kind of works. As for the food, the charcuterie plates and simple salads are delicious and easy, and the long draft list features some of Europe’s best craft beers. They serve food late even on weeknights, making it a god-send after delayed trains and planes. There's a second location in De Pijp.