10 Best Brown Cafes in Amsterdam to Unwind and Have a Drink

Jessica Lipowski

By , Local Expert, Amsterdam
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Amsterdam is home to a variety of nightlife, including pubs, bars, clubs and cafés, but one of the most famous is the brown café. The brown café, the “bruine kroeg” in Dutch, is internationally renowned for its dark wood and smoke-stained walls. The atmosphere is absolutely “gezellig,” which entices people to make themselves at home. Gezellig is not a word that can be translated to English; it’s more of a cozy feeling that you experience. 

The brown café is an integrated part of Dutch culture, a place where people go for a drink after work or to chat with friends on the weekend. They are great to unwind and relax. Most brown...  Read more »

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    Arendsnest only serves Dutch beers. Plus, the café offers at least 30 of them on tap.

    Local Expert Tip: "Join one of the beer tasting sessions. It's the perfect opportunity to sample multiple beers and learn something new."

  • 2

    De Sluyswacht

    • Type: Brown Cafe
    • Neighborhood: Old Center / Red Light District

    De Sluyswacht has quite the history and is leaning even more than the Tower of Pisa.

    Local Expert Tip: "When the sun is shining, head out to the beautiful terrace."

  • 3

    Café De Dokter

    De Dokter is the smallest cafe in the city of Amsterdam.

    Local Expert Tip: "Pair your drink of choice with a juicy pickle."

  • 4

    De Zotte

    De Zotte offers 130 different Belgian beers, eight of which are on draft.

    Local Expert Tip: "Order the beer of the month. It's always a good call."

  • 5

    Cafe Hoppe

    Part of Café Hoppe, the interior of number 18, is a National Monument.

    Local Expert Tip: "Arrive early. Evenings and weekends can be quite crowded."

  • 6

    Cafe de Wetering

    • Type: Brown Cafe
    • Neighborhood: Central Canal Ring

    Cafe de Wetering has a fireplace upstairs, perfect for warming up on a cold day.

    Local Expert Tip: "Strike up a conversation with the owner or the regulars."

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    De Twee Zwaantjes

    De Twee Zwaantjes promises an entertaining evening out, especially with fun theme nights such as Motown Tuesdays and Love Song Wednesdays.

    Local Expert Tip: "Karaoke is every Thursday. Bring your best singing voice."

  • 8

    Café Int Aepjen

    • Type: Brown Cafe
    • Neighborhood: Old City Centre/Old Side

    Café Int Aepjen is one of Amsterdam's oldest wooden houses. It was once a house, trading location, inn and pub.

    Local Expert Tip: "Try the Schoot-An gin."

  • 9

    Cafe Chris

    Café Chris, which opened in 1624, is the oldest bar in the Jordaan. Rembrandt probably frequented the café.

    Local Expert Tip: "Have a peek at the tiny toilets."

  • 10

    Cafe Het Molenpad

    • Type: Brown Cafe
    • Neighborhood: Central Canal Ring

    Het Molenpad is not your average run of the mill brown café. It incorporates traditional elements but with a modern twist.

    Local Expert Tip: "Try to grab a spot on the café's canal-side terrace."



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