The Best Bars And Pubs In Rotterdam

© Mlefter / WikiCommons
Photo of Tom Coggins
28 December 2018

Travelling is thirsty work, especially in large cities like Rotterdam. Fortunately, though, this southern Dutch gem is full of world-class bars, pubs and breweries that are guaranteed to keep your spirits high.

Experience the local nightlife scene at De Witte Aap

Bar, Northern European, $$$
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De Aap
© De Witte Aap

De Witte Aap has plenty to offer night owls. Unlike most bars in Rotterdam (or bars in the Netherlands for that matter), De Witte Aap stays open past 3am every night of the week and keeps things rolling even later over the weekend. Aside from its late-night business hours, the bar boasts an extensive drinks menu, featuring many Belgian and Dutch craft beers, plus a decent selection of wine and bubbly spirits. Guests at De Witte Aap can also expect on-point music selection, friendly service and one of the largest heated terraces in the city.

For local brews head to De Kaapse Brouwers Taproom

Craft Ale Bar, Northern European
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© Philippe Verreault-Julien / De Kaapse Brouwers

Located amid the many other culinary hotspots found inside Fenix Food Factory, De Kaapse Brouwers is an independent craft brewery that makes beers inspired by old-fashioned and modern recipes alike. The brewery features an in-situ taproom, where beer lovers can sample its wares at their own leisure or sign up for special tasting sessions. Thankfully for anyone who suffers from beer munchies, De Kaapse Brouwers serves several small dishes alongside its beer menu, including particularly appetising cheese platters.

For stunning views of Rotterdam city centre check out nhow

Bar, Northern European
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Located on the seventh floor of nhow Amsterdam Rai Hotel, this sky-high bar and restaurant offers almost unrivalled views across Rotterdam. A great spot for casual get-togethers with friends, nhow has an extensive drinks menu that includes everything from standard Dutch pilsners to fancy cocktails laced with imported liquor. The bar’s kitchen caters to meat-eaters, vegetarians and vegans equally by serving a flexitarian menu that can be altered to fit guests’ dietary needs or preferences.

Soak up Rotterdam's underground scene at Wunderbar

Bar, Northern European
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Attached to avant-garde cultural venue WORM, this weird and wonderful pub looks as if it was put together from old furniture, creating an awesome DIY aesthetic that matches perfectly with its overall vibe. One of the most animated pubs in Rotterdam, Wonderbar regularly hosts live events involving experimental performances helmed by local or international artists. In regards to refreshments, Wonderbar stocks many regional and foreign brews, plus a number of imported soft drinks, including Club Mate and Fritz Cola.

For late-night drinks and music go to BAR

Bar, European, $$$
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© BAR, Rotterdam

A one-of-a-kind venue with plenty of heart, BAR serves as a hangout, club and restaurant rolled into one, with space for relaxing, dancing and dining. It is easily one of the best spots for electronic music in Rotterdam and hosts trendy yet laid-back club nights every weekend, featuring local and international talent. BAR regularly collaborates with other movers and shakers working in the Dutch club scene and often hosts special events during music festivals in Rotterdam.

Sample dozens of craft beers at Locus Publicus

Craft Ale Bar, European, $$$
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A traditional Dutch beer café with a typically down-to-earth atmosphere, Locus Publicus stocks over 200 ales, lagers and stouts, which are mainly brewed in the Netherlands and Belgium. Outfitted with dark-wood furnishings and old-time knick-knacks, the café feels homely, to say the least, and looks as though it hasn’t changed much since the turn of the century. There’s plenty of space for prolonged beer-drinking sessions inside its cosy lounge and even more seating available outside on Locus Publicus’s terrace.

Discover Rotterdam's music scene at Rotown

Bar, Northern European
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Rotown's terrace | © Rotownrotterdam / WikiCommons

A bulwark of Rotterdam’s alternative music scene, Rotown ranks among the longest-running venues in the city and opened its doors over three decades ago. Known for organising shows and parties geared towards Rotterdam’s younger generation, Rotown hosts events throughout the week, ranging from monthly open-mic sessions to club nights dedicated to music from the 2000s, 1990s and 1980s. Even when it isn’t hosting events, Rotown still welcomes visitors and features a popular on-site bar with restaurant.

Grab a beer and watch football at Bar Panenka

Bar, Northern European, $$$
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© Bar Panenka

If you’re worried about missing a footie match while in Rotterdam, it’s worth heading over to Panenka, as this one-of-a-kind sports bar screens multiple international games per day. Designed with sports fans’ needs in mind, the bar has a cosy layout that centres around several large-screen televisions. In addition to booze and soft drinks, Panneka also serves a sizeable selection of dishes inspired by Dutch and American pub grub, ranging from hot dogs topped with saté sauce to beer-can chicken.

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