The nightlife in Amsterdam is always alive and energetic. When the sun goes down, the city comes to life with a number of clubs, bars and cafes open until the wee hours of the morning. No matter whether you are looking to dance the night away or enjoy a late night drink with some friends, Amsterdam’s nightlife offers something for everyone. Before delving into the city’s hotspots, it’s important to first understand how to navigate your way through Amsterdam’s party scene.
Opening and Closing Times
Throughout the week, local cafes and bars stay open until 1AM. On the weekends, they are allowed to stay open until 3AM. Nachtcafes, or night cafes, are an exception to this rule as they are allowed to stay open until 4AM during the week and 5AM on the weekends. Dance clubs stay open until 3AM during the week and 4AM on the weekends. It is best to check with the venue you plan on visiting as some establishments will close their doors a bit earlier.
Dress Codes and Fees
Many of the bars and clubs in Amsterdam have a casual dress code. While the dress code may be casual, it is still important to look presentable, tidy and clean. Only a handful of clubs enforce a strict dress code. Two of the most notable clubs are Escape and Jimmy Woo.
Most clubs will require that you pay at the door. Females may be able to get in for free, but this should not be expected. Entrance fees will vary and can range anywhere between 5 and 20 Euros. Some clubs will reduce their fee for those who arrive before midnight. Those who plan on seeing a live show may want to purchase tickets in advance.
Nightlife Hotspots in Amsterdam
The vast majority of Amsterdam’s nightlife hotspots are located in two areas: Leidseplein and Rembrandtplein.
Leidseplein is home to a number of popular music venues, nightclubs, Irish pubs and brown cafes. Famous spots include:
· Paradiso –A popular live music venue that was once a church. Paradiso is famous for having an exceptional atmosphere and incredible acoustics. Many famous international artists perform at Paradiso, but the venue also serves as one of the most popular clubs in Amsterdam.
· Melkweg –Melkweg, or Milky Way, is a popular entertainment venue that features two halls, a theatre, café and cinema. Famous international DJs and many Dutch hip hop artists make regular appearances at Melkweg.
· Jimmy Woo – Jimmy Woo is all about being seen. This hotspot is popular with local and international celebrities alike. The club features two floors. The upstairs floor features an Asian style bar, while ‘the cellar’ features a bar and a dance floor. The low ceiling in the cellar features more than 11,000 light bulbs that blink in sync with the music being played. This club is rather picky about who they let through their doors and they enforce a strict dress code.
· Sugar Factory –The Sugar Factory is located directly opposite Melkwegand offers a great mix of house, soul and funk music. On Sunday evenings, the venue hosts their Wicked Jazz Sounds event which offers a mix of live musicians and DJs.
· De Zotte –An authentic Belgian pub that serves up a wide range of beers and great food. De Zotte boasts a more relaxed atmosphere.
· Café Alto –This little gem is an integral part of the local jazz scene with live performances taking place every night of the week.
· Stadsschouwburg Theatre –Visitors can enjoy a live theatre show at this famous venue. Known as The Municipal Theater in English, the Stadsschouwburg is home to the Toneelgroep Amsterdam, which is one of the most famous theater groups in the Netherlands.
· Boom Chicago –If live theatre and dance clubs are not your cup of tea, Boom Chicago can offer you a night of great laughs. This famous comedy club can be found on the western side of Leidseplein and offers English improvisational comedy shows. Guests can enjoy a few drinks and a meal at the nearby Chicago Social Club.
Although not quite as active as Leidseplein, Rembrandtplein also offers plenty of entertainment and nightlife opportunities.
· Escape –Escape is one of Amsterdam’s largest night clubs and plays the most popular styles of dance music, including electro, techno and house. World famous DJs often play at Escape.
· Studio 80 – Studio 80 features a wide range of different musical styles and acts. Both DJs and live bands play at this venue.
· Club Smokey –Club Smokey plays a mix of old and new music. No matter your musical tastes, you are sure to enjoy your stay. This popular spot is open every night of the week.
Amsterdam’s nightlife is both rich and exciting. Visitors can dance the night away at one of the popular local clubs or spend a relaxed evening at one of the nearby coffee shops or cafes. Just make sure to check out the venue’s door policy and entrance fees beforehand to ensure you have the best possible time.