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Ampsterdam

Started by Crenners, July 02, 2022, 01:51:05 PM

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Blinder Data

note of caution re: bikes: i found it about as stressful as renting a car to drive around a foreign city. if you and your partner are confident on bikes then you should be fine but it's very much an everyday mode of transport for people who live there, not some fun touristy thing to do

also don't wander around with your phone in your hand. it's common for tourists to get theirs swiped by people on mopeds/bikes.

this post is a bit of a downer, sorry. was last there six bloody years ago and did a load of stuff based on what people suggested. it's a great city to visit.

bgmnts

Yes, be very weary of bike lanes they don't fuck about.

Glebe

Worked in Holland for a a short time in my early 20's, (just shitty factory jobs), ended up cycling everywhere in the end.

Gurke and Hare

If you're going to go to lots of museums/galleries check out the I amsterdam city card which covers most of the main stuff and can save a decent amount - it also acts as a travel card.

The Amsterdam City Museum is worth a trip if you like your local museums.

Go to the Albert Cuyp Market and eat kibbeling.

Crenners

@ImmaculateClump I have enjoyed it plenty over the years and that's good advice. It was just a lighthearted way to turn the page on the topic without saying that I don't smoke at all post-cancer.

Quote from: Gurke and Hare on July 03, 2022, 01:32:50 AMIf you're going to go to lots of museums/galleries check out the I amsterdam city card which covers most of the main stuff and can save a decent amount - it also acts as a travel card.

Thanks, that's a great tip. Looks like it will save us a few bob.

Oh, right. Yeah, that's probably a good idea.
Sorry, I must have unwrapped that all wrong what you were saying there.

Crenners

Quote from: ImmaculateClump on July 03, 2022, 06:16:54 AMOh, right. Yeah, that's probably a good idea.
Sorry, I must have unwrapped that all wrong what you were saying there.

Not at all, I should have just been more straightforward about the reason than give an unnecessary white lie, but I try to avoid invoking cancer. I only mention because you took the time to send a thoughtful reply. Anyway...

poo

Ride a bike and get off yer tits. It's not rocket science.


shoulders

Ok, time to discuss pubs.

You have 2 distinctive styles of venue that are particular to Amsterdam (though naturally spread out across the lowlands and even into France). The Brown Café/Bruine Kroege and the Jenever tasting house a.k.a Proeflokaal.

I'll start with the latter:

Jenever

So this is gin, but the Oude Jenever is aged and this process turns it into more like a whiskey. It is served in fluted sherry glasses to the brim and normal etiquette, unless I was being trolled, is to begin by stooping over to sip the top without touching the glass, then pick up the glass and continue.

They also offer korenwijn and brandywijn but I haven't got around to those yet.

De Drie Fleschjes - a good place to start, friendly servers and a characterful dinky little venue that feels somewhat Georgian, a little like the apocryphal Jerusalem Tavern in London (now called the Holy Tavern). Standing is de rigeuer and as a result it has quite a different vibe even in the afternoons. Busy and buzzy. From my experience and knowledge this is not as touristy as some of the others although it still is central so should have an international flavour.


Proeflokaal Wynand Fockink - the main one, really. It is called Wynand Fockink to begin with... lol, hahahaha. You crazy, crazy Dutch bastards. These guys produce their own spirits and the shelves are heaving with every flavour under the sun. The bar guy is more of a raconteur and visiting is like going to see a performance really, you feel like an extra in a play. It's potentially a love-hate marmite type thing but my partner and I had a lot of fun. Again, the venue is small and simple, mostly about standing and chatting.

Proeflokaal De Ooievaar - another small venue near the docks and in tourist country, this one is a bit more versatile, more pubby, but still offers a range of Jenevers which you will see by the side, their strange tall orange ceramic bottles. I would recommend visiting this one on a bad weather day as it has that cosy, gezellig feel.

Proeflokaal Arendsnest - weird to place this one on the list when its main attraction is 50, yes 50 taps of Dutch craft beer but it is also famed for Jenever and has some top of the line stuff. A more classic narrow one room bar up a few steps, that could easily be somewhere like New York. Expensive but the quality is there.

Proeflokaal In De Wildeman - again, far more beery but the venue has the low key pantry/kitchenette decor with parquet floor and old cupboards and is a good setting for Jenever as well as beer. This one is slap bang in tourist land and a lot of the customers are craft beer fans.

shoulders

Brown cafés

Amsterdam's equivalent to the 'London pub', so many venues with a similar style although arguably Amsterdam has done a better job of preserving and not fucking around with the format. As a result there are easily 40+ fantastic pubs within walking distance of each other. I haven't been to all of these yet so will just mention those I have been to.

Café De Dokter
Unmissable. It is absolutely tiny and by even early evening gets heaving. Why is it so good? The place is rotting, the lampshades are moth-eaten and the fabric is decaying, the candlelight takes over quickly and the owners vast collection of music memorabilia and nik naks draws the eye. He spins whichever jazz records takes his fancy and both he and his wife attend to service at their own glacial pace. It's a venue you can't help but remark on even 10 seconds into entering.

De Druif - Rickety ramshackle and also run by a man approaching retirement age, this dockside pub has been really well preserved with old brandy barrels behind the bar, mid-brown characterful environment and very cosy. A little bit out of the very centre means more locals congregate here improving the atmosphere.

De Pilsener Club - I love the place. Pure atmosphere of decades upon decades of social history, really 'if these walls could talk' place. It isn't one of those cluttered pubs though, it's fairly minimalist with basic wooden furniture and doesn't even have a bar. A waiter comes back and forth from behind a curtain. As likely to find an old man reading the news with a beer as you will a group of young people, I love venues like that.

In 't Aepjen - I suppose this had to get a mention. It is touristy, it is still special. Another one room pub with a high ceiling, there are large oil paintings and taxidermy, a bar on one side and a wonderful atmosphere that creates that melange of exotica and welcome you look for when you're somewhere far from home.

De Wetering - I agree with the fellow above. This café is in a really well heeled part of the centre near the Museum district. Typically characterful townhouse corner cafe with a balcony overlooking the bar and enormous fireplace on the mezzanine level. Twinkly fairylights and in the evening that clear sense that everyone there knows this is the place to be.

Slijterij Oosterling - Get a travel card so you can bomb around on the trams and metro, you won't regret it. This café is easily reachable by tram and is less touristy and more local. In fact it is a bit of a local legend. Enormous barrels hoisted above basic wooden seating and a saloon type bar with preserved features like adverts from what seem to be the belle epoque era. A cast of bantery Dutch guys run the bar almost mafia style.

De Eland - for pure low key, possibly intimate coupley bar going I highly recommend De Eland which oozes atmosphere from brooding lamplights and old timer decor. Going here feels itself like you're under the influence of something more than alcohol.

t Smalle - Rickety like De Wetering with vibes like De Eland, t Smalle has a very cosy, if structurally unsound-feeling raised level, it is an ur-typical brown café on a corner that sums up Amsterdam bar going to a tee.

De Laurierboom - interesting angle here, this is a chess bar, although hardly mandatory, you will probably see at least one table having a game over some beers. Really low key neighbourly, local and social given how close it is to the  chaos and debauchery just a few canals to the east. Younger, friendly, bohemian but fairly liberal left rather than anarcho left.

Cafe Gollem (Raamsteeg branch) - it's beer central and anyone into trad lowlands ales, Trappist, Abbey, etc will be in hogs heaven here. If you're nice to the bar lady and she takes a shine to you, the cheese board is one of the better value deals around in Amsterdam bars. A true unpretentious, unromatic but bloody good fun drinking den, international flavour.

De Nieuwe Lelie - A stylish corner cafe that strides old and new. Something fairly effortlessly cool about it, like it would stay open even if it was making a loss. Difficult to pin down, there is just an attitude. Visit around 7pm-ish, maybe you'll see what I mean. A couple of more modern beers on tap.

Hoppe - Don't visit the Estaminet room but the bar room on the right hand side. Large oil paintings, barrels, wood partitions. A striking frontage with neon signage. Not my absolute favourite due to a degree of tourist churn but very much worth a look and worth having up your sleeve as an option in the area. To be fair, on my last visit it was mainly Dutch people in there.

Scharrebier - a true neighbourly expression of the brown café. Friendly folk who know each other and see each other regularly. Staff who are accordingly informal and welcoming. Board games and terrace drinking, while the room itself is that woozy low key cool. Very brown, lamp lights, filigree detailing. Pub snacks are a little cheaper here than most, though basic.

Café Mulder - Something reassuring about this place that seems to glow from the outside. Popular little bolthole with a degree of well preserved old fashioned style. Perhaps more Café than bar but not enough to be off-putting. When the weather is grim this is a great place to dive into a feel instantly safe - Covid aside.









shoulders

Some others I just can't be bothered to talk about but are worth knowing:

Café Langereis
Van Daele
Cafe Spuyt
Onder de Ooievaar
Karpershoek
Louis Bar (formerly In De Olofspoort)

Finally, other pubs I heard are very good but haven't got around to visiting:

Twee Zwantjes
Blauwe Parade
Cafe Brecht
Thiejssen
Papeneiland
Hegeraad
Blaffende Vis
De Reiger
Cafe Chris
Cafe Chaos
Gouden Florijn
De Pels
L'Affiche
Eijlders
De Zotte
Cafe Pieper
Heuvel
Berkhout
Foeders
Gruter
Welling
Hesp

Crenners

Damn, that sounds great, really got the juices flowing. Thank you very much. I'm looking forward to checking them all out and hopefully making it out the other end.

dr beat

Cafe Chris is worth a visit as a historical, atmospheric venue, even though I didn't find the beer menu particularly interesting. We went in as soon as it opened, which was 3PM on a Saturday.  It filled up quite quickly.

Gouden Florijn is ok, but seems to set itself up as a bit of a sports bar.

dr beat

Like cheese? Amsterdam Cheese Museum is really a shop with a perfunctory museum in the basement, but lots of free samples and some interesting stuff. Staff seemed friendly too.

Dont like cheese? I wouldn't go.

imitationleather

Very useful posts there, shoulders. Thanks!

shoulders

Quote from: imitationleather on July 03, 2022, 01:17:52 PMVery useful posts there, shoulders. Thanks!

Oh yeah, also there's an electronic music museum called Our House. I haven't been because no-one I go with cares about that.

Psybro

Quote from: dr beat on July 03, 2022, 12:26:11 PMLike cheese? Amsterdam Cheese Museum is really a shop with a perfunctory museum in the basement, but lots of free samples and some interesting stuff. Staff seemed friendly too.

Dont like cheese? I wouldn't go.

Yes, if we weren't spending another few days going to France after our visit, we could've handily filled all our available luggage space with their wares.  As it was I had to settle for a jar of dill pickle.

Martin Van Buren Stan

In urecht now. Way nicer than Amsterdam. Wish I'd stayed here for more than a day trip

Blue Jam

Go to The Black Dog and have a traditional British Sunday roast.

I'm actually being serious, their Sunday lunches are streets ahead of any I've had in any pub in the UK:

https://theblackdog.nl/

Blue Jam

Also have a nice glass of Dutch wine. I made it my mission to have one but couldn't find any until I got to Schipol for my flight home. Trip made:




bgmnts

Oh in terms of booze i'd recommend Lowlander.

DJ Bob Hoskins

#52
Quote from: Blinder Data on July 02, 2022, 10:48:56 PMnote of caution re: bikes: i found it about as stressful as renting a car to drive around a foreign city. if you and your partner are confident on bikes then you should be fine but it's very much an everyday mode of transport for people who live there, not some fun touristy thing to do.

This. As a longtime resident who goes everywhere by bike I can assure you that inattentive/inexperienced cyclists (usually to be found riding in large groups on rental bikes) are the bane of local cyclists' existence. The city council made a great video aimed at tourists a few years ago. If you're confident on a bike and stick to these tips you'll be fine:



I added a few quick comments on some noteworthy places from Shoulders' list:

Quote from: shoulders on July 03, 2022, 09:42:30 AMFinally, other pubs I heard are very good but haven't got around to visiting:

Twee Zwantjes
Blauwe Parade
Cafe Brecht - I like this place. It's a Berlin-style 'living room' cafe with Jever and Weihenstephan on tap. Gets very busy though.
Thiejssen - Amazing interior (it used to be an olde worlde apothecary), good atmosphere, nice terrace, decent menu but often staffed by very pretty, bored students who couldn't give a toss and take ages to serve you, assuming they even got your order right.
Papeneiland - Just around the corner from Thijssen. One of the most quaint cafes at a stunning location at the junction of two canals. It's so picturesque you'll see it on a lot of postcards. But in my opinion, the cafe itself is really nothing special. Sure is pretty though.
Hegeraad
Blaffende Vis - Not bad, but nothing to go out of your way for. It's a bit of an institution and popular with a younger crowd.  A hotspot on sunny days and around King's Day.
De Reiger - Love this place. Art deco interior, lovely staff, great food.
Cafe Chris
Cafe Chaos
Gouden Florijn
De Pels
L'Affiche - A little off the tourist track but not far out of the centre and it's a really cosy and slightly funky place with a bit of a Belgian twist. A great cafe.
Eijlders
De Zotte - One of the first / only dedicated Belgian bars in the city. It's fantastic, and they have great food, but it's so tiny that you'll likely need to book a table for dinner if you fancy being able to sit down.
Cafe Pieper
Heuvel
Berkhout
Foeders
Gruter
Welling
Hesp


djtrees

Ignore anyone saying you have to be confident on a bike, get fucked up and do skids and wheelies by canals.

DJ Bob Hoskins

Quote from: Martin Van Buren Stan on July 03, 2022, 03:37:54 PMIn urecht now. Way nicer than Amsterdam. Wish I'd stayed here for more than a day trip

Utrecht is fantastic, and a lot less hectic and touristy than Amsterdam. Definitely worth the half-hour train journey.