6 Alternative Bars You Need To Visit in Amsterdam

#1 Cafe Alto

The perfect compromise: located in dead-center but definitely not touristy, Cafè Alto will win your soul with its intimate, dark and charming atmosphere. Host to many of the big names in jazz over the years, with its vintage vibe and its live jazz this place welcomes people from all over the world every night.

Tip: Try to arrive early, the place is small and usually packed! (Well, that says something about how cool it is, doesn’t it?)

#2 Mezrab

Mezrab is a Persian cultural center located near Amsterdam Centraal train station with a lovely and cozy atmosphere, lots of couches and terrific events. Have a look at their agenda to attend their exhibitions, dance or music events! Moreover, and most importantly, don’t miss their storytelling nights on Fridays. They’re just magical. Bunches of both Dutch people and internationals gather at Mezrab to listen to comedy, and moving or insightful stories.

#3 The Waterhole

Ooh how many nights I’ve spent here with my friends! I just love the place. Great vibe, rocking music and crazy people. Definitely worth the visit when in Amsterdam.

Free wardrobe and toilet,  cigarette vending machine inside!

#4 Cafè Sound Garden 

On Marnixstraat, just a few meters from Maloe Melo, you’ll Cafè Sound Garden, definitely more a bar than a cafè. Though for all the rock music lovers out there, you can enjoy a relaxed vibe, sipping your beer while playing pool or listening to music.

If you’re visiting in summer, don’t forget to check out the terrace overlooking the canal.

#5 Vondelbunker

Vondelpark is one of the main tourist attractions in Amsterdam, as you can see by just walking its lovely paths: families, students, and tourists gladly spend their time here, enjoying the (rare) sun or picnicking. What they don’t know, however, is that under their feet lies THE underground bar par excellence. I’m talking about Vondelbunker, a counterculture meeting place run by volunteers, which was originally meant to be a bomb shelter. Built under a bridge, it certainly is not easy to find, but once you’ll see the light and hear the music coming from its door, your efforts will be rewarded.

#6 Maloe Melo

If you’re looking for live music every night, this is the place. Maloe Melo is officially a blues bar but rockabilly, rock, soul and other genres feature in the place. Cool and laid-back atmosphere, great music, hidden away from tourists.


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