botanique

Café De Heuvel

The heart of local drinking culture in Amsterdam are the brown cafés, and if you’re looking to avoid the tourists at Hoppe then head to Café De Heuvel. Situated on a busy corner in the Spiegelkwartier, Café De Heuvel overflows with rosy-faced drinkers every afternoon. Signs and stickers plaster the walls and ceilings and polaroids of patrons are tacked up in every nook and cranny, letting you know this place is for regulars. Though you won’t drink any fancy cocktails here, a biertje and a bowl of nuts are all you need.

Waterkant

When the weather is good, there are few spots better than Waterkant. This canal-side bar serves a mean G&T and an even meaner view of the water. Not to mention the lekker (that’s “tasty” in Dutch) local and Surinamese fare. If all the picnic tables are taken, swing your legs over the edge of the quay and drink up.

De School

Absolutely no bonus points if you can guess what De School used to serve as. All you need to know is that it’s now a vibrant multi-purpose creative space, cleverly serving as a restaurant, café, gym, hangout and a club with a 24-hour licence. There’s a dark, low-ceilinged cellar for losing yourself to bone-crunching techno, a garden that’s perfect for warm summer nights, and elsewhere, a window-illuminated DJ booth, where if you stay long enough you witness daytime, sunset, nighttime and sunrise, just like at Panorama Bar in Berlin. Godspeed.

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Claire

Claire took over what was formerly Studio 80 in Rembrandtplein. Though tourists normally flood this square, you’ll be partying among locals at Claire. With an indoor smoking area and an impressive line-up of fresh talent and big-name name DJs (think vibe-heavy house and disco) this club is definitely the place to be.

Café de Wetering

Slip behind the Rijksmuseum and away from the crowds to this back street brown café. Split between two levels with a fireplace upstairs, Café de Wetering is about as cosy and inviting as they come. If you’re hungry – and lucky – the bar’s owner will come around with trays of cheese and crackers or delicate slices of cured meat. Be sure to swing by an ATM before you trundle here, as it’s cash only.

Amsterdam Roest

It must be torture to live alongside so much water and have so few places to really savour it, and that’s why at Amsterdam Roest they’ve built a manmade city beach to ease those yearnings. On summer days, sit outside and bask in the beauty, during winter, head inside, where crumbling walls and vintage leather sofas add to the rustic, industrial appeal. In both spaces there’s always something going on to pique your interest, whether it’s a DJ, a market, an exhibition or a film.

Oedipus

Founded by a group of four friends who shared a love of hops, Oedipus is dedicated to the creation of golden nectar, and its worship thereof. It’s a buzzing little brewery in Amsterdam Noord that’s all about the freshest brews and tasty snacks – locals flock here in hordes.

Miss Moneypenny

There’s a temptation to always run with a tried-and-tested favourite when it comes to cocktails, but at Miss Moneypenny you’ll want to cast aside pre-formed favourites in favour of the house signatures. Try the “Man’s Not Hot”, not only for its on-point cultural referencing, but also for the composition of ingredients that include velvet-falernum-spiced citrus-sweet syrup, Belzasar rose vermouth, Ango Reyes Chile liqueur, watercress, red pepper and lemon. Sound familiar? Us neither – but it’s extremely tasty.

Café de Ceuvel

A sustainable creative space located housed in a former shipyard, Café de Ceuvel is a huge project encompassing many different elements – art, workspace, and community among them. If you’re thirsty or in need of a snack it’s the café you should make aim for. Stop by for a coffee, a juice or a beer, and learn something about the planet in the process.

Shelter

A relative newcomer on the clubbing block, Shelter is found in the basement of the old Shell tower, across the IJ River in Amsterdam Noord. It’s another haunt that’s managed to secure a 24-hour licence and it’s big enough to house 700 sweaty hedonists hoping to crack the techno whip all day – and then all night. The onus here is on quality underground music rather than appearances, so expect a clued-up crowd and deliciously good line-ups. Entrance to the Buiksloterweg ferry (which operates 24/7) is just a short stroll away, so you’re never far from Centraal if for some reason you need to do a runner.

Tolhuistuin

Contributing to Amsterdam Noord’s reputation as one of the city’s edgier locales, Tolhuistuin has a fluid approach to events programming, switching (depending on the day) from film screenings to club nights, theatre performances and exhibitions. Because of this, it’s always a hive of activity but particularly on Thursday and Friday nights, when the vibe ramps up a notch in preparation for the weekend. There’s a great veggie menu if you want to stop off for a snack, too.

Melkweg

A pretty special venue situated in the centre of Amsterdam. Once an old milk factory, Melkweg is now home to live music, theatre, photography and cinema, which each take up residence in one of the venue’s many specially curated spaces. A site at the core of Amsterdam’s cultural heartland, it’s well worth checking out its events schedule if you’re looking for first-hand experience of a local favourite.

Sugarfactory

Directly opposite Melkweg, Sugarfactory is another hotbed worth exploring. Its roster is an eclectic mash-up that caters to lots of musical tastes and always showcases a big commitment to diversity. Consequently, this is a great place to hunt out up-and-coming talent, so take a punt, flip a coin and hope for the best – you may end up unearthing a musical gem.

Gashouder

What to say about this sprawling industrial space in north Amsterdam that hasn’t already been said? It’s an enormous, chamber-like building, with no pillars and enough room to fit 3,500 raring-to-go ravers. Sound promising? Wait until you see its ridiculous production in action, when lasers, light shows and fireworks soar across the iron rooftop. As much of a spectacle as it is a musical event, this is one to attack full throttle.

Claire

De School

Waterkant

Café de Wetering

Café De Heuvel

Amsterdam Roest

Oedipus

Miss Moneypenny

Café de Ceuvel

Shelter

Tolhuistuin

Melkweg

Sugarfactory

Gashouder

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