Amsterdam is known for its nightlife: including pubs, bars, clubs, coffeeshops and cafés, but one of the most famous is the brown café. The brown cafés, “bruine kroeg” in Dutch, are known for their dark wood interior and smoke-stained walls. The atmosphere is relaxing and cozy so that people feel at home.
The brown café is a long-time part of the Dutch culture, a place where people go for a drink after work or to chat with friends on the weekend. Most brown cafes serve beer and wine, as well as traditional Dutch snacks like bitterballen! It is good to bring cash to brown cafes, as some do not accept credit cards.
Brown cafes can be recognised by an old-fashioned, home-like interior. The origin of the brown cafés dates to the beginning of the 19th century. The first brown cafés were created in people’s homes or front rooms. Locals would decorate their front room like a living room cafe.
Later, as permits were required, most of these cafes disappeared, but the intimate, homely style remains to this day.
Bruincafé ‘t Centrum
Rembrandtplein 4, 1017 CV Amsterdam
Only a few steps away from the hotel, located in downtown Amsterdam is the Brown bar ‘t Centrum. It has been well known for years at the Rembrandt Square. It is a real local café with friendly staff. Despite being in the centre of Rembrandtplein, Amsterdam’s hub for nightlife, this bar has managed to maintain its charm and its stunning brown decor. It’s a great place to stop in for a coffee or lunch.
Café De Dokter
Rozenboomsteeg 4, 1012 PR Amsterdam
With its barely 18 m2, De Dokter is the smallest café in Amsterdam! With a cozy atmosphere and design, background music from jazz greats such as Billy Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald. Het Doktertje serves traditional Brand beer, delicious house wines and a very extensive range of whiskeys.
Amstelveld 21, 1017 JD Amsterdam
Located at the Amstelveld and Prinsengracht, only 5 minutes away from the hotel, with heated terraces right at the water side. It is a traditional ‘brown café’ with a number of nautical references. Marcella serves great food, for example, in winter you can try typically Dutch pea soup with bacon and rye bread on the side!
Cafe ‘t Molentje
Singel 278, 1016 AC Amsterdam
Café ‘t Molentje is an old brown café that has existed since 1892! They play music on records and everyone is welcome to put their own record on! Café ‘t Molentje is located on the corner of Singel and Gasthuismolensteeg, just behind the Dam!
How to get there
Cafe De Sluyswacht
Jodenbreestraat 1, 1011 NG Amsterdam
Café De Sluyswacht is a special and popular brown cafe – the building was constructed in 1695 and even endured World War II! Because the house has little support, it is even more slanted than the Tower of Pisa. De Sluyswacht is a local favorite with a charming two-story interior and beautiful view.
How to get there