The Best Bars in Utrecht, the Netherlands

© Belgian Beer Café Olivier
© Belgian Beer Café Olivier
Photo of Tom Coggins
2 August 2017

Utrecht has plenty to offer in the way of nightlife and there are dozens of bars nestled between its charming townhouses, ancient churches and low-lying canals. Besides classic Dutch or Belgian style beer cafés, the following list of awesome hangouts also includes two spots hidden on the banks of Oudegracht canal and several watering holes that organise events throughout the week.

Grand Café Lebowski

Bar, Cafe, Coffee, Dutch, American, $$$
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Lebowski is right next to the Dom Tower
Lebowski is right next to the Dom Tower | © pixabay

This popular grand café on Domplein is decked out in weird and wonderful paraphernalia such as exotic taxidermy specimens, kitschy Hollywood memorabilia and vintage furniture. The bar’s lunchtime and dinner menu includes many classic American-style dishes like chilli dogs and superbly crafted burgers. There’s seating outside underneath the Dom Tower and live music around four days a week.

Beer & Barrels

Bar, Pub Grub, Dutch, $$$
Map View

Beer & Barrels introduced an incredible alcohol-related concept to the Netherlands that was previously absent from the country’s bar scene, namely tabletop mounted beer taps that stream out golden lager on demand. These awesome contraptions allow guests to pour out their own pints without the aid of a bartender and serve up entire rounds whilst remaining in their seats. The bar itself looks incredible and is housed within one of Oudegracht canal’s cave-like, subterranean wharfs.

Behind Bars Cocktails

Cocktail Bar, Pub Grub, Dutch, Japanese, $$$
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This classy cocktail joint in Utrecht’s historic city centre offers a wide range of classic, modern and experimental mixed drinks that includes several pre-prepared concoctions that have been matured inside wooden barrels in order to add subtle undertones to their composition. Besides high-end mixology, Behind Bars Cocktails is also renowned for its impressive selection of authentic Japanese whisky.

Belgian Beer Café Olivier

Cafe, Pub, Restaurant, Bar, Dutch, Coffee, $$$
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Belgisch Biercafé Olivier Utrecht
Belgisch Biercafé Olivier Utrecht | © Belgian Beer Café Olivier

As its name suggests this cozy café on Achter Clarenburg has a soft spot for Belgian beer culture and bases its menu around delicious brews from the Netherlands’s southern neighbour. Whilst most beers inside Olivier originate from Belgium, there are many other draft and bottled brews available at the café which hail from other parts of the world including the Netherlands and Germany.

Kafé België

Pub, Pub Grub, Dutch, $$$
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There’s always an enormous selection of international and local craft beers on offer inside this homely café on Oudegracht. The café regularly changes its barrels and bottles meaning that there’s a constant stream of new, tasty beers available from its bar. Besides IPAs, lager and stouts, Kafé Belgie also serves hot, homemade meals throughout the day and keeps a stack of board games ready for its customers.

Three Thirsty Deer

Pub, Pub Grub, Dutch, $$$
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This charming, old school beer café always has over 100 beers available behind its bar and acts as an official taproom for Utrecht’s Maximus craft brewery. The café is located just behind Oudegracht canal and looks directly onto the largest museum dedicated to religious artwork in the Netherlands – Museum Catharijneconvent.

Wijncafé Lefebvre

Wine Bar, Cafe, Coffee, Dutch, $$$
Map View

Wijncafé Lefebvre keeps its shelves stocked with a superb selection of refined old and new world wines created by highly esteemed international wineries. There are also nibbles and snacks available inside alongside a small assortment of beers from a nearby craft brewery called Brouwerij de Leckere.

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