Amsterdam’s Oud-West district lies just beyond the city’s historic canal belt and runs southwards alongside Vondelpark. Like other central neighbourhoods in Amsterdam, Oud-West has more than its fair share of bars, including the following noteworthy watering-holes, which range from down-to-earth craft beer pubs to more energetic hotspots with live music and games.
In 1999, a group of local artists squatted a building on Overtoom and founded OT301. Their plan was to create a cross-disciplinary cultural platform in the heart of the Oud-West and use their new home as an incubator for experimental art, film and music. Today, OT301 remains an active part of Amsterdam’s art scene and houses several cultural initiatives. Its main bar is attached to a large concert hall that hosts several events throughout the week, including gigs, festivals and weekly ping pong nights.
Aside from excellent brunch and dinner, which mainly centre around premium cuts of meat or locally-sourced fish, Café Panache also offers an extensive cocktail menu that includes many long drinks that are available by the pitcher. The cafe serves its selection inside a renovated warehouse that was once used by merchants from Ten Kate Market. This classy, almost industrial, location matches perfectly with Café Panache’s welcoming vibe and features many dimly-lit spots that are perfect for drinks with friends. The cafe also has a long terrace near its entrance that catches a lot of sun during the warmer months of the year.
This trendy bar and kitchen serves an extensive selection of Thai street food alongside beer, wine and cocktails. Its food menu includes many larger dishes like pad thai or red curry, as well as other smaller dishes such as chicken satay skewers and spare ribs, which can be ordered as entrées or bar snacks. Golden Brown keeps its bar stocked with local and imported booze and offers many well-balanced mixed drinks, ranging from uncomplicated G&Ts garnished with Granny Smith apples to more adventurous cocktails like Thai mojitos laced with lemongrass and ginger.
Although it sounds hyperbolic, it is possible that Waterkant has the best terrace in Amsterdam. Its awesome outdoor seating area curls around Singel canal and looks like it was lifted straight from a music festival, due to its twinkling multicoloured lights and wooden picnic benches. Unsurprisingly, the bar attracts a lot of footfall during sunny spells and customers tend to head straight for its terrace. Thankfully, there’s plenty of space inside and outside at Waterkant and an impressive selection of drinks is available at the bar, ranging from pitchers of beer to fresh mint tea.
As its name suggests, this lively bar on Overtoom features several ping pong tables and encourages guests to grab a paddle and play off against each other. Aside from providing space for friendly ping pong matches, PARCK also offers an impressive range of cocktails, liquor and beer (mainly from local breweries) alongside what it calls ‘Animal Style Food’ – which essentially consists of platters of traditional Dutch bar snacks, including several varieties of bitterballen filled with meat, veggies or cheese. The bar welcomes groups and takes reservations for parties or other social get-togethers.
Bar Centraal stands amid the hustle and bustle of Ten Kate Market and looks almost directly onto Oud-West’s largest cultural hotspot, de Hallen, a multi-purpose hub housed inside an old tram depot with a cinema and a food court. The bar stocks a generous selection of organic wines from around the world and serves small tapas-style meals that are ideal for sharing among friends. The bar has two spacious rooms furnished in dark woods and a sunny terrace that runs alongside Bellamystraat with several rows of tables and chairs.
This friendly neighbourhood bar blends in perfectly with its peaceful residential surroundings on da Costakade and ranks among the best spots in Oud-West for quiet after work drinks or small get-togethers with friends. After entering Bar Benjamin, guests can grab a seat at its bar or head upstairs to a cosy lounge area that’s equipped with two tables and several comfy armchairs. There’s also more seating outside on Bar Benjamin’s street-side terrace, which features around four large picnic tables that are protected from the elements by an overhead awning. There are many local and international drinks on offer inside the bar, including imported premium whiskies, well-balanced cocktails and bottles of craft beer created by breweries based in Amsterdam,
This charming brewpub on the southern side of Overtoom keeps 40 different craft beers on draft and around 100 more bottled brewskis behind its bar. As Craft & Draft imports its stocks from all over the world, it always has an impressive selection of international brews on tap, ranging from American pale ales to classic Trappist triples. There’s plenty of space for groups, couples and solo drinkers inside Craft & Draft’s down-to-earth taproom and more seating available outside on the pub’s covered terrace. What’s more, Craft & Draft offers takeout service and lets customers purchase litres of beer to-go in special jugs called growlers.
Gollem has several locations in Amsterdam, each of which stocks an impressive variety of craft beer mainly from the Benelux region. Many of these tasty craft brews are presented in special glasses that are specifically designed to draw out their flavours and add another layer to the whole beer-drinking experience. Gollem’s bar on Overtoom is the largest in the city and serves hot meals from lunchtime until late at night, including several dishes that are cooked with beer. Gollem also hosts events throughout the week, such as pub quizzes and live jazz concerts.