Thursday, July 07, 2011

Amsterdam Insider's Tip: Drinks

So, I should be working, but I realised I haven't written anything in my blog for awhile. Thus decided to provide the world abit more of my good will and wisdom ;) before the year is completely over.
Also, I am terribly unproductive during the month of July - although my garden is growing like a jungle.

Anyhow, the first edition of Amsterdam's insider's tip is where to go drinking.
Abit background. I've lived in the Netherlands for 6 years now, but actually my trips to Amsterdam date back from when I lived in Edinburgh, but dated an Amsterdammer (which is btw what the rest of the Netherlands call a taller glass of beer)
Another background of why Drinking is put here as the first, is because Amsterdam is better in terms of drinking than food.(but food I will come back to later.)

Anyhow, here are my favourites in themes but first some rules.

1. First Rule
DO NOT DRINK neither at LEISEPLEIN nor Rembrandtplein.
Seriously, these are the most touristy places in Amsterdam and the beer sometimes cost twice as much as you would usually pay. Rather go to nieuwemarkt, jordaan, and really just anywhere but there.(having said this some places not smack inside these areas but in the surrounding areas are quite alright)

2. Second rule
Order a Vaasje otherwise you will get a fluitje - which is like a shot of beer.

3. Third rule
you DON'T have to tip waiters/waitresses at bars, and also when they bring you beer/drinks you would usually round it up. Don't change this culture by bringing your own tipping culture into this world - yes I am looking at you guys Americans!
(but ofcourse you can tip for good service)

So the thematic places.

Breweries and distilleries

*Brouwerij 't IJ : is the Amsterdam home grown organic beer at the East side, with their own traditional windmill!! They have one of the most delicious beers you can find, and hey you drink it from the source. It also has a nice terras(beer garden) right next to the waters. What else do you want? - the bars that are open right next to the brewery opens from 3~8pm so don't be late! Don't forget to try their sausages and cheese with the beer.

*Wynand-Fockink: is a liqueur distillery in the heart of Amsterdam. they have several different liqueurs starting from lemon, blue berry to some strange names, such as attic ?? The tasting room also opens from 3pm to 9pm, so go there early! The shots are about 1.5euros each and they really fill it up to the top!

For the hipsters/artsies

*Cafe Brecht: vintage furniture, all sorts of Germany beers and an lounge like atmosphere with a piano inside. IT looks like something out of Prenzlauer Berg. Also they have poetry reading nights. A Great place for book worms.

*W139: This bar/club gallery space which used to be a squat is a hipster central of Amsterdam. Every weekend it looks like someone threw up hipster all of the street. Very artsy group of people.

* Kriterion: A bar next to the student run artsy/alternative cinema Kriterion provide another alternative bar scene for students but also a wide range of people. They have DJs during weekends and it becomes quite crowded.

For the Punks
Go to squats - such as OCCII, OT 301, Joe's garage and Blijvertje.
Otherwise.. here are some alternatives.

* Sound garden: this is probably the only punkish bar in amsterdam. Yeah, Amsterdam doesn't do punk. There is a pool table and a wonderful beer garden next to the waters which draws alot of punkish alternative crowds but also very international crowds.

* Pacfic Parc: okay this isn't really punk, but still the closest you get to it. It has a nice outside area next to waters and has really good music events.

Terrases and water
Amsterdam is well known for having nice places to hang next to the waters.
Here are my favourites

* Noorderlicht: This is right on the NDSM island, which you have to take a ferry to get to. This looks like a converted green house that changed its function into a bar/restaurant. When the weather is nice, they have nice bbqs and really comfy couches just outside next to the water. This cannot even be counted as a terras since its just outside in the "wild" so to say. During the evenings they also have parties/djs and live music. however, don't forget the last ferry back to civilization leaves around midnight!

*Cafe Hesp: is right next to the Amsterdam Amstel River. Thus it has the advantage of having this massive terras next to the river.It also has its own brewed beer. Perfect place to catch that bit of afternoon sun while lounging next to the river.

cozy areas

There are loads of cozy bars around Amsterdam, in the centre.
however, here are some that are even extra cozy.

Cafe Langereis: This is smack in the centre but still has that extra cozy sweet living room feeling to it without having to pay for the extra costs.

Cafe Skek: This is a student run cafe/bar, which has music evenings during Thrusday to Sunday. Also has nice foods. Check out its cozy attic like room, where you really can fit 6 persons or so, and a window looking towards the stage area.

Cafe Zeppos: This place has a nice winter garden, with all the flowers and plants inside!
They also provide some nice food and good quality jazz music during weekends.

I strongly believe that too much choices makes one depressed as well, so I stop here but I must say that there are quite alot of places I haven't really mentioned but are nice... so try the others out as well!

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