Amsterdam’s nightlife for some visitors is an ‘epic’ or ‘legendary’ bout of boozy excess. Locals find scenes of binge-drinking tourists hilarious, and they couldn’t be further removed from the classy nightlife they know. As a rule of thumb, we steer away from the loud stag parties, and head for the stylish clubs listed below. And as another rule of thumb, you’d do well to follow us.
I asked my coolest party-loving friends to select their favourite nightclubs. These six clubs serve up the hottest music, coolest vibes and most flavourful drinks – all recommended by locals!
Address: Amstelstraat 30
ABE is named after Abraham Carel Wertheim, CEO of the Wertheim & Gompertz bank that was once located in the exact same place as the club is now. The luscious interior – featuring turquoise velour couches and gold peacock murals – is a homage to the heyday of the bank. Club-goers are 25+, and make sure you’re not only dress in your Sunday best, but also bring a thick wallet, as entry- and cocktail-prices add to the exclusive nature of the club.
Address: Rembrandtplein 80.
Further down the street you will find Studio 80, which only has capacity for 600 people, but is worshipped by Amsterdam’s party crowd. The origins of Studio 80 can be found in a radio studio, whose aim was to provide a platform for young talents – and is still in use today. The club remains a great venue for new talent to show off their skills. The playlist is mainly underground electro music, provided by both newer and more established DJs. My friend I. swears this is the absolute best place to have a proper rave.
Address: Lijnbaansgracht 234a
Once upon a time I saw Katy Perry crawl her way across the stage of the small concert hall of Melkweg laughing, after having asked her crowd how to translate certain expletives into Dutch. Baby-faced Perry had just had her first hit with ‘I kissed a girl’, and was light-years away from the megastar she would eventually become. Aside from the daily concerts, Melkweg hosts dance parties. The weekly ENCORE is particularly popular with hip-hop and R&B fans.
Address: Korte Leidsedwarsstraat 18
At it’s opening in 2003, the club was cloaked in an air of mystery. Jimmy Woo, a little-known, well-off businessmen with a big passion for Kung Fu would soon open the club on the Korte Leidsedwarsstraat. It turned out that Woo was nothing more than a very clever marketing ploy of entrepreneur Casper Reinders, who loved collecting Chinese antiques, and used them to decorate the bar. Jimmy Woo is a must-see and be-seen-in kind of place. And on entering the club, you’ll be hit by the thought that you’re surrounded by the best-looking people in Amsterdam. Jimmy Woo, with a mix of R&B, hip-hop, dance and pop, is a celebrity favourite. Rihanna is once said to have asked the DJ not to stop the music. And he didn’t.
Address: Wibautstraat 150
Just a few years ago, the Volkshotel building was being used as the offices for Volkskrant newspaper – a far cry from the fabulous stylish hotel it is today. On the rooftop you’ll find a restaurant and club. During the day Canvas op de 7e is the best place to nibble on lunch while enjoying a 360-degree view of the city. At sunset it’s transformed into a nightclub with Amsterdam’s best DJs, where you can party against the backdrop of an insane skyline.
Address: Spuistraat 2.
Just a stone’s throw away from Amsterdam Central train station you will find Bitterzoet (Bittersweet). The vib and atmosphere in this relatively small club is continually changing, having been the venue from anything from intimate foreign indie acts to steaming parties accompanied by hip-hop, pop and dance beats. The coloured stained glass is a fancy nod to the history of the location: the medieval part of Amsterdam city centre.