As you might expect, you are never too far away from a bar on Amsterdam. Beer is of course one of the national pastimes and there is an amazing variety of watering holes on offer. A favourite of many locals and tourists alike are the quintessentially Dutch “brown cafés” which usually have a wooden, cosy interior and serve both alcoholic drinks and soft drinks/ tea and coffee.
For a slightly more trendy drink, why not check out one of the many bars with terraces and soak up some of the atmosphere? In central Amsterdam, many of terraces can be found around the squares of Leidseplein, Rembrandtsplein or Spui but there are many others to be found along the canal banks and around the picturesque Vondelpark.
Cocktail bars form an important part of Amsterdam's nightlife with many being found at some of the more upmarket hotels. The trendy Momo at the Park Hotel on Leidseplein is one of the trendiest hang-outs at present or you could try the Bluespoon Bar at the Andaz Hotel on Prinsengracht or the industrially named Floor 17 at the Ramada Apollo on Staalmeesterlaan.
For a refined coffee or for a nice liqueur, you could try one of Amsterdam's so-called “grand” cafes. The art deco Parisian inspired Café Luxembourg at Spui 24 is arguably the most famous of these establishments, however, the Café Americain at the Amsterdam American Hotel on Leidseplein is one of the oldest, dating from 1900. For a more contemporary take and a younger crowd, Café de Jaren on Nieuwe Dolenstraat offers a light and airy environment.
Of course there are any number of other pubs, bars and cafés around the city (too many to mention here) but don't forget the coffeeshops. Remember though (and this is an important distinction!) if you really just want a nice coffee, head to a café. If you want a soft drink and to buy marijuana, then the coffeeshops are what you are looking for! Probably the most famous of these is the Bulldog Coffeeshop which has been around since 1975 and has two locations in Amsterdam (Oudezijds Voorburgwal and Leidseplein). Watch the locals enjoy a quiet smoke or take the plunge yourself. There is a menu for choosing your own hash or weed or for a taster you can even buy joints ready rolled.
Amsterdam has gained a bit of a reputation as one of the best clubbing destinations in Europe and this is thoroughly deserved with clubs such as Escape, Paradiso, and Bitterzoet leading the way. Musically, you can find clubs to suit most tastes whether you are into techno, hard house, funk or any other club music genre. Club entry varies greatly depending on the venue but expect to pay anything between €5 and €20. As with clubs in the UK, many have special entry promotions such as “free before 11pm” or “girls get in free”. The dress code for clubs in Amsterdam is quite relaxed compared to other European destinations and you will probably get into most clubs in jeans and trainers if you so desire.