Where to drink a beer outside in Amsterdam
Looking for the best beer bars in Amsterdam? One of the best things about the Dutch is that once the temperature rises above 10 degrees celsius and there is a hint of blue sky, the Dutch seem to multiply and suddenly there are people everywhere, sitting on terraces, enjoying beer in Amsterdam. I’ve compiled my list of the top bars in Amsterdam where you can sit and enjoy a drink outside in the sun, just like the Dutchies do. In fact, there’s even a phrase for going to sit outside in sunny weather on a terrace – people often ask “Zullen wij een terrasje pakken?” – shall we grab a drink on a terrace? Ok literally that isn’t how it translates… since it is untranslatable really.. but you get it 😉
In this post you’ll find info on cool Amsterdam bars, top Amsterdam bars, nice bars in Amsterdam, and best of all, these are all outdoor bars!
Before reading any further, make sure you know the difference between Holland vs the Netherlands first.
Looking for more great Amsterdam travel tips? Check out these posts:
- HIDDEN GEMS: the best secret places in the Netherlands
- 10 Amsterdam museums you shouldn’t miss
- The best day trips from Amsterdam
- How to spend one day in the Hague
- Get dirty with Dutch wadlopen
- Escape to the Dutch island of Texel for a chill weekend away
- The best things to do in Rotterdam Netherlands
- Visit the breathtaking Kasteel de Haar
Best bars in Amsterdam where you can sit outside
Below I’ve mapped out where all the cool bars in Amsterdam are located (well cool bars in my humble opinion). Of course you don’t need to follow the route between all of these – it would take you all day to do it! But if you’re feeling ambitious, go for it!
Best beer bars in Amsterdam city center
Hanneke’s Boom (12) Dijksgracht 4
Located right by Amsterdam Central Station is Hanneke’s Boom, an outdoor terrace that is always bustling in the summer time. Here you’ll find tons of picnic tables on both levels of the bar, and you’ll likely see boats pulling up from time to time with drunk passengers jumping on and off the boat. Hanneke’s Boom is one of the top bars in Amsterdam and is a real local favorite. They also serve snacks and meals as well – just don’t expect anything too healthy.
Cafe de Jaren (8) Nieuwe Doelenstraat 20
I’m always amazed that despite sitting smack in the center of the city, Cafe de Jaren is almost unknown amongst tourists. Cafe de Jaren has a huge indoor restaurant, but my favorite part of it is the outdoor terrace on both the bottom and top level. Here you can sit on the water – this is really one of the only decent bars in the city center where you can be on the water – and enjoy the view! Cafe de Jaren is one of the best bars in Amsterdam if you are looking for laid back vibes – don’t expect any crazy nightlife here – it is best visited during a summer afternoon.
De Waterkant (7) Marnixstraat 246
De Waterkant shot to popularity as soon as it opened and is now just as popular as Hanneke’s Boom. Located on Marnixkade (canal), under a parking garage and next to a gas station (I know, it sounds weird), De Waterkant is another bar where you’ll find canal boats (not tour boats) are pulling up, beer is flowing, and nachos are baking in the oven – yum. I love De Waterkant, it gets lots of sun and is one of the hottest spots to visit in Amsterdam for drinks. Look for the butt-shaped parking garage, and you’ll find De Waterkant beneath it!
Bars in Amsterdam Noord
Pllek (11) Tt. Neveritaweg 59
Head across the water from Amsterdam Central Station to discover Amsterdam Noord, and chill out in the sun and next to the Ij (water) at Plekk. Don’t worry, you don’t have to swim there – there are is a free ferry (906) from the back of Amsterdam Central Station to NDSM Wharf, just a short walk to Plekk. If you’re into industrial vibes, you’ll love Plekk (and all of Amsterdam Noord really). Plekk has a great restaurant as well and it is 75% vegetarian (!), so consider grabbing a bite here after a day of relaxing in the sun on their outdoor terrace. Like so many of the other places on this list, Plekk is really popular so be sure to snag a table! For me, Plekk is one of the best places to enjoy a beer in Amsterdam – I just love getting to the other side of the city to see a different side of it.
Looking for great food too? Check out the best Amsterdam food tours
Cafe de Ceuvel (9) Korte Papaverweg 4
Cafe de Ceuvel might be more of an experience than a bar in Amsterdam. It is located on an old shipyard in Amsterdam Noord where entrepreneurs and artists have built an office park (no worries, there is beer here too), with a big cafe and food stalls. They have a mission to combat climate change which is why all the food they serve is organic and they have future plans to turn their organic waste into biogas. Cafe de Ceuvel is an entire area you can walk around and discover new sections of it. Stay in the main area where the food and drinks are primarily located, or wander around and you’ll probably come across a small concert along the water. Cafe de Ceuvel is super unique and deserves a visit! From Amsterdam Central Station take bus 391, 394, 34 or 35 to reach it (approx 20 minutes).
Noorderlicht Cafe (10) NDSM-Plein 102
Noorderlicht is probably best known for its evening events, but it is on of the top bars in Amsterdam to enjoy a beer during the day as well. On sunny days you’ll be able to enjoy yourself on their terrace where you can enjoy views of Amsterdam from across the water. To reach Noorderlicht, take ferry 906 from Amsterdam Central Station (it is located just a short walk from Plekk).
Amsterdam Oost (east): where to find the best bars
Brouwerij ‘t Ij (1) Funenkade 7
No list of the best bars in Amsterdam would be complete without the Amsterdam brewhouse Brouwerij ‘t Ij. Better known as the windmill bar in Amsterdam, Brouwerij ‘t IJ is located, you guessed it, at the bottom of a windmill in Amsterdam Oost. Brouwerij ‘t Ij is one of my favorite beers, especially their white beer, Ijwit. You can also schedule a tour of the brewery (available in English), so if its your first time, take the tour, then enjoy a tasting on their terrace. Sounds like the perfect day to me.
Amsterdam Roest (12) Jacob Bontiusplaats 1
Located on an old industrial terrain in Amsterdam east is Amsterdam Roest. Roest is host to a ton of events, so don’t be surprised if there is something going on there when you visit (markets, concerts, etc). Roest has a small beach front (yes a beach! but not on the ocean), where you can kick off your shoes, dig your toes into the sand and soak in some sun rays. At Roest you’ll also find food stalls where you can get some grub, so be sure to arrive hungry.
Cafe Hesp (2) Weesperzijde 130-131
Cafe Hesp is a great brown bar in Amsterdam that also has a massive terrace along the Amstel River. Cafe Hesp is a great place to have a borrel after work to soak in some last sun rays before the sun sets on a Friday afternoon. Cafe Hesp is also a great place to visit before or after your Amsterdam canal cruise if you rent with Mokum Boat.
Top bars in Amsterdam Zuid (south)
Cafe de Gruter (3) Willemsparkweg 73/75
Cafe de Gruter is one of those local spots that hardly anyone outside of Amsterdam Zuid seems to know about… which has been to my advantage, so I’m not sure why I’m even mentioning it here! Located just a short walk from Museumplein and Vondelpark, Cafe de Gruter is located in the heart of Amsterdam Oud Zuid and gets tons of sun, making it a great Amsterdam pub to enjoy a beer at. It is popular, but isn’t as much of a hotspot as De Waterkant or Hanneke’s Boom, increasing your chances of getting a great spot in the sun.
Vondeltuin (5) Vondelpark 7
If you’re already in Vondelpark and are looking for a cool bar in Amsterdam to chill out at, look no further than Vondeltuin located at the southern entrance of Vondelpark! Vondeltuin is one of the best, and most family friendly bars in Amsterdam where you can kick back and relax in the sunshine.
Gent aan de Schinkel (4) Theophile de Bockstraat 1
Just beyond Vondelpark you’ll find Gent aan de Schinkel, a Belgian style cafe, which is another spot pretty much only known to Amsterdam Zuid locals. You can sit on their terrace or along the water and enjoy food and drinks. This is one of the top bars in Amsterdam in my mind because you can almost always find a spot – they just have tons of space here!
Oslo Beers (6) Sloterkade 1a
Better known as Caffee Oslo, Oslo Beers is one of the most popular bars and restaurants in Amsterdam Zuid/West and is is a great bar in Amsterdam to also grab a bite to eat, sit along the canal-side and kick back. If you go, be sure to get a burger here – they’re great!
Looking for microbreweries to visit in Amsterdam? Check out my post on where to get local Dutch brews
What to pack for Amsterdam
Looking for more Amsterdam travel tips? Check out these posts:
- The best Amsterdam day trips
- Visit the Zaanse Schans, a day trip from Amsterdam
- Great museums to visit in Amsterdam
Did this post help you in planning your trip to Amsterdam? Let me know in the comments below!
Gabby is a native (Northern) Californian who spent the majority of her 20’s living the expat life in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, exploring Europe and beyond. 27 countries later, she’s relocated back to her home base in California where she explores her passions for the travel and the outdoors.