You are never far away from a good cheap bar in Amsterdam. Any time you’re tired after sightseeing, you’re all set to grab a beer or two in the neighborhood. This bustling city is literally sprinkled with bars and believe me, not all of them are insanely expensive. There are several spots I particularly recommend due to their excellent, yet cheap drink menu and unrivaled ambiance.
If you want to enjoy an evening beer at a reasonable price (less than an average price which is around €4), visit De Pilsener Club, Kriterion or Sound Garden. If, on top of enjoying a tasty pint, you want to learn about Dutch beers, go to Café Belgique or Proeflokaal Arendsnest.
In the article, you’ll find some detailed information about the cheap (yet worth recommending) bars in the city. I mainly focused on prices but also the interior design, location and atmosphere. If you want to learn more about beer prices in Amsterdam though, check out this article.
|Kriterion||170 Roetersstraat||From €2.50 for a 0.33l beer|
|Flying Pig Downtown Bar||100 Nieuwendijk||From €2|
|Sound Garden||164 – 166 Marnixstraat||From €3|
|Belushi||129 Warmoesstraat||From €3.50 for a Corona or Beck’s|
|Café Belgique||2 Gravenstraat||From €3.50|
|Hannekes Boom||4 Dijksgracht||From €4|
|De Pilsener Club||4 Begijnensteeg||From €3|
|Proeflokaal Arendsnest||90 Herengracht||From €5 for a 0.33l bottle|
|Café De Minds||Spuistraat 245||Less than € 5 for a pint|
I’ve always loved movies so a combination of a cinema and a bar sounds like heaven to me. And so is Kriterion – it’s one of the trendiest Amsterdam’s cinemas with an impressive movie selection (it’s unlikely to watch the big blockbusters there), as well as a nice bar serving extremely cheap beer. It’s kind of a classic in the city – you cannot miss it! Kriterion is always lively and busy, especially on Friday and Saturday. I am not surprised – it’s a fusion of an art house cinema and a student bar . On top of that, the bar is operated by students. I love this place because of its unique vibe – low-price movies and low-price beer are always the best choice one can make while in Amsterdam. I am sure you will fall in love with the interior too. It’s both classic and classy!
Flying Pig Downtown Bar
A place for a younger clientele, students in particular I guess. Always busy and crowded, the bar is situated in the famous Flying Pig Hostel. What I like there is a very wide clientele – you might be surprised about who can you meet there. The bar (as well as the hostel actually) is a bit grungy. The menu is affordable for everyone – beer and drinks are low-priced, yet quite good. The bar hosts an amazing DJ. You really should take part in one of the famous themed parties! These nights are nothing but wild, trust me! During the day the atmosphere is cozy and relaxing and the spot is full of backpackers. Flying Pig Downtown Bar plays various genres so that there is something for everyone. Highly recommended, especially if you and your friends still consider yourself to be a university-going team.
A super-chilled place for those who go for a good bottle list, cheap drinks and cool music. To be honest, this is one my favorite affordable bars in Amsterdam. During the day they have a breathtaking back-terrace (changes into a balcony at night) with a spectacular view. The bar was first open in 1993. If you’re a fan of beer, do not miss out on a beer of the month – they usually taste delicious. Sound Garden and its staff are passionate about music, so if you feel like some great tunes to rock out to, this is your place to go. Don’t forget to get familiar with a lovely café cat. Oh, and even if the place is well-known in the city, don’t dress up to visit it – Sound Garden is welcoming and unpretentious. It even has a pool table, table soccer and pinball machines.
An ideal spot if you want to grab a quick snack and have a few pints of cheap beer on a very comfy couch. The bar is situated on the edge of Red Light District so it’s usually loud and crowded. The venue itself consists of a bar, restaurant and a nice garden. The bar is open all week long, there are parties with the DJ. In my opinion, straight up indie classics and the most recommendable. In general, the music out there is surprising – mostly alternative indie-rock-punk-electro tunes. You will definitely love drink promotions… every day of the week! Among the others, they have Russian Standard Vodka, Gordons Gin, Grouse Whisky, Brugal Rum and Captain Morgan Rum. At Belushi, the longest happy hours runs from open until midnight. And, oh my, you have to try their burgers and smokin’ hot suicide wings! Most burgers and snacks cost less than 10 euro!
The most famous Belgian bar in Amsterdam. Mostly because of laid-back atmosphere, rustic décor, brass taps and wooden counter. To me, no trip to Amsterdam would be 100% complete without visiting Café Belgique. The bar offers eight great beers on draught (try Le Trappe – it tastes like heaven, same as La Chouffe!) plus a variety of bottled beers (my top two are Orval and Rochefort). Most of them are from Belgium and I must say they are surprisingly cheap when compared to quality. Café Belgique is a very small place with only six stools at the bar and two or three tables. There’s also an option to sit outside. The bar itself is dimly lit with candles, the atmosphere (as well as the interior) is rustic and kind of traditional. The bar is nicely formed and there is a funny staircase up to the bathroom. To me, this spot is one of Amsterdam’s hidden gems.
A beach hut in the heart of the city? Why not, visit Hannekes Boom – a place completely surrounded by water. The location is just incredible ( a five-minute walk from the central station) and waterside terraces are nothing but jaw-dropping. However, the bar itself is decorated with second-hand items, it’s a bit tacky but actually it all makes it look special and gives it an original bohemian charm. Hannekes Boom has very decent prices and the food is also ok. If possible, go there in the summer. Hannekes Boom is packed with locals who come by boat. Those are locals in their 20’s and 30’s but let’s be honest – who cares? A breath-taking view on the center from a unique side is so worth it! And those boats passing by while you’re sipping your drink and enjoying the sun… Unforgettable experience.
De Pilsener Club
One of the coolest places when you want to enjoy your afternoon beer close to the center of the city. De Pilsener Club is situated in Central Amsterdam, right next to the busiest shopping street – the Kalverstraat. One could imagine it would be extremely loud but in fact, it’s quite a peaceful spot. The atmosphere is kind of old, the place just feels like history, to be honest, it seems like the venue has no bar, it’s just some nice guys in neckties pour various brews from a back alcove. The place has wrinkled lithographs of the city and the peeling wallpaper, the selection of tasty brews is surprisingly impressive, though. Each beer is served in the appropriate glass and labeled with the appropriate name. To me, it’s the first bar that comes to my mind when someone says ‘Amsterdam’s brown cafes’. The bar is also known as ‘Engelse Reet’. Make sure you ask the bartender what it actually means.
Proeflokaal Arendsnest is one of the most famous specialist craft beer bars in the city. However, it’s the only one exclusively stocking Dutch brews. I really like their customer service. They’re nice, helpful and really know what they are doing. Proeflokaal Arendsnest is just an awesome spot if you want to try some Dutch beers. They might have the best tap list in the whole city and a wide selection of interesting craft beers (over 100 different beers). The venue itself is quite cozy with its brown, wooden décor and chalkboards around the bar. There is even a nice outdoor table by the canal and some additional seating downstairs. Prices are okay (to be honest they are not very cheap but the whole experience is worth a slightly higher price). Proeflokaal Arendsnest is a perfect place if you want to learn all about local beer. Unfortunately, beer is the only alcoholic drink served there.
Cafe De Minds
Café De Minds is situated around the corner of Dam Square. Just look for the big red neon arrow to get there. When it comes to the atmosphere, I believe it’s one of the best bars in the whole city. Let’s be honest, what else could you want when you have some cheap beer (real beer, not Heineken!), good music and pinball? While in Amsterdam, I go there every time I’m in the mood for a spot to have a couple of affordable drinks. Café De Minds is a real punk bar (they say that they’re the only one that’s real) so when it comes to music, they obviously play punk. The bar itself makes you feel a bit like you’re back in the 1980’s, mostly because of a gritty brown interior. A big plus for extremely friendly staff. Make sure you have a quick chat with an emotional bartender.