Though they are sometimes hard to spot, there are plenty of excellent cocktail bars in Amsterdam that offer everything from ice-cold margaritas to a perfectly balanced Old Fashioned. Continue reading to discover the best spots for cocktails in the city.
Much like its namesake actor Kevin Bacon, this trendy cocktail bar maintains a famously unpretentious attitude towards craftsmanship and has an effortless sense of charisma. Though the bar’s cocktail menu clearly draws from classic, old-school mixology, its in-house creations often contain tangy or spicy ingredients that give older recipes a surprising edge. Bacon also serves a mouthwatering selection of meals inspired by Thai street food, including full-blown curries and smaller bar snacks like fish cakes or fresh spring rolls, which pair wonderfully with its cocktails.
This lively multi-functional venue serves cocktails that are inspired by great works of poetry or literature. Though these drinks are mainly based on classic cocktails, they are given slight twists by Labyrinth’s mixologists in order to draw out new flavours or add subtle undertones. As its full title suggests, Labyrinth also serves as a restaurant and poetry platform, where guests can enjoy delicious soul food while listening to poets, storytellers and spoken word artists perform their work. The venue hosts live events three times per week and organises popular open mic nights every Monday.
Due to its almost clandestine entrance on Elandsgracht, this exclusive, speakeasy-style bar is notoriously difficult to spot, even with the help of Google Maps. Once guests find their way to Bar Oldenhof, they must ring an unmarked doorbell and wait for a server to greet them. After gaining entrance to the bar, guests are welcomed into a charming two-storey lounge complete with hardwood furnishings that look like they were lifted from an Ernest Hemingway novel. Oldenhof stocks an excellent selection of beer, wine and spirits from around the world and serves many exceptional cocktails ranging from classic simple mixes to more adventurous creations laced with high-quality liquor.
This charming bar and restaurant was christened after a street in Little Havana, Miami, that is renowned for its multicultural atmosphere and bustling culinary scene. In honour of its namesake, Calle Ocho draws together flavours from all over North and Central America and serves dishes that are chiefly inspired by Mexican, Tex-Mex and Cuban cuisine. Calle Ocho imports regional spirits to accompany its meals and stocks many varieties of high-quality mescal, tequila and rum. Its bar serves an extensive range of cocktails based on the aforementioned liquors and features a slushy machine that mixes first rate frozen margaritas.
This sky-high cocktail bar stands on the 23rd floor of Hotel Okura and offers guests panoramic views across central and southern Amsterdam. Although it is located inside a hotel, non-residents are welcome at Twenty Third Bar and can enjoy an impressive range of high-end cocktails inside its stylish lounge or order from an extensive wine and champagne list, arranged by a professional sommelier. Twenty Third Bar also serves a selection of hors-d’oeuvres, which are prepared at another Michelin-starred restaurant called Ciel Bleu located inside Hotel Okura.
Even though it is located deep within Amsterdam’s bustling city centre and openly advertises its presence, Hiding in Plain Sight manages to maintain an ambiance that’s usually reserved for more secretive speakeasies. The bar’s entrance looks southwards from Amsterdam’s Oosterdok harbour and leads onto an intimate, dimly lit lounge furnished with red velvet bar stools and leather-bound armchairs. Once seated, guests at Hiding in Plain Sight are presented with a modest menu that features a refined selection of wine, beer and craft cocktails. The bar regularly changes its assortment and bases its mixes around specific themes related to 19th- and early 20th-century culture, for instance, Charles Darwin’s magnum opus On the Origin of Species or classic whodunnit, murder mystery novels.
To replicate the feeling of a Prohibition-era speakeasy, Door 74 keeps things hush-hush by concealing its entrance and only allowing guests to access its lounge after they’ve made reservations in advance. The bar’s interior certainly matches with its secretive, exclusive stance towards hospitality and features classy Art Deco-style furnishings that hark back to the early 20th century. Larger groups are welcome at Door 74, once they’ve secured a reservation, and the bar also offers cocktail workshops and space for private parties.
Since opening in 2009, this friendly neighbourhood cocktail bar has grown into one of the most popular hangouts in Amsterdam’s Haarlemmerbuurt neighbourhood, due to its welcoming atmosphere, excellent service and inventive, yet down-to-earth drinks menu. Though the bar serves classic drinks on request, its menu features many in-house creations that are mixed with the utmost skill, patience and attention. To keep things fresh, Vesper regularly adds new drinks to its menu, which are each created by its team of expert mixologists.