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5 fun cocktail bars in Amsterdam

Don’t we all love cocktails? The mixed drinks are more popular than ever. It’s with good reason that not Radler but gin and tonic has been named THE summer drink of 2015. But where to go in the Dutch capital for a good gin and tonic or cocktail? We’ve drawn up a shortlist of our five favourite bars for you!

A stone’s throw away from Amsterdam’s central railway station you’ll find the hip and happening 5&33 which is a part of the Art’otel. In a trendy but relaxed setting you’ll be sipping smooth cocktails which the professional staff are more than happy to prepare for you. If you’d rather take matters into your own hands you’ve come to the right place. 
Join one of 5&33’s masterclasses and become the king or queen of mixing gin and tonics! Under the professional supervision of a true master you’ll learn all there is to know about the different gins and the different tonics in this world. By tasting you’ll experience which flavours complement each other. Obviously you’ll prepare your own gin and tonic at the end of this masterclass, complete with exciting additions such as herbs and spices. Check here when the next workshop will take place!

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Photo of bar 5-22 Credits: Bianca van der Ham - CityZapper
Hiding in Plain Sight
During the ‘roaring twenties’, the consumption of alcohol was prohibited for more than thirteen (!) years in the United States. It was unimaginable to many people which is why hidden bars soon popped up behind secret doors, the so-called speakeasies (whisper bars). These bars were based at locations that were hard to find and where a secret password was needed to gain access to the establishment. One of Amsterdam’s speakeasies is Hiding in Plain Sight, hidden nearby the Nieuwmarkt. Eye-catching individuals with moustaches, bow ties and sharp shirts serve old fashioned cocktails here. The cocktail also finds its origins in the era of the speakeasies: to mask the flavour of alcohol, bartenders blended lemonade and fruit into their drinks. The word speakeasy came into existence when Kate Hester, owner of the first speakeasy in Pittsburg, called out to her visitors: ‘Speak easy, boys! Speak easy!’.

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Photo of bar speakeasy - Credits: Facebook Hiding in Plain Sight
In the DoubleTree by Hilton’s Skylounge, which can also be found at walking distance of Amsterdam’s central railway station, you won’t be drinking a cocktail. Instead, you’ll be drinking a cocktail with a view. Make sure to find yourself in one of the comfy seats by the window or at the terrace with a cocktail in your hand, especially at sunset. Enjoy the spectacular view over the rooftops of Amsterdam, the IJ river and the Zuid-as district while the skies slowly turn orange. On the cocktail menu you’ll find a wide variety of cocktails so it might be a challenge to find your favourite. Finding it hard to choose? It’s no punishment staying around for round 2.

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Photo of bar sky lounge in Amsterdam Credits: Facebook SkyLounge
If you don’t fancy the crowds at Leidseplein nor the hassle of public transport, then fret not. In a side street of Leidseplein (the Korte Leidsedwarsstraat) you’ll find an oasis of peace at cocktail bar NJOY. It is a bit decadent as you have to ring the doorbell to be let in though. ID checks to establish one’s age are strictly enforced so make sure you’re at least 21 years of age. Once inside, the busy noise of Leidseplein fades away and you can find yourself a place at the purple neon-lit bar or settle on one of the many comfy sofas in the corner. The names of the cocktails sound very promising indeed (The Alchemist, The Dreamer) and even though the cocktail menu is not very elaborate, what matters here is quality.

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Photo of bar NjOy in Amsterdam. Credits: Facebook NJOY
Henry’s Bar
At the edge of Oosterpark you’ll find Henry’s Bar, next to Bar Bukowski. A fine hot spot outside Amsterdam’s city centre where you can enjoy delicious cocktails until the early hours. Their signatures are gins and whiskeys so make sure you’ll choose one of those creations from the menu. The menu is a sight for sore eyes since every cocktail has an extravagant name and slogan. What to think of the Nude Pornstar? “To me, nudity is a joke. I don’t think nude people are very attractive at all.” Henry’s Bar is intimate and fills up fast so make sure to be on time!

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Photo of Henry's Bar in Amsterdam. Credits: website Henry's Bar

Which cocktail bar in Amsterdam is your favourite?

Text: Vicky de la Cotera Manrique & Bianca van der Ham
Image: Bianca van der Ham, Facebook Hiding in Plain Sight, Facebook Skylounge, Facebook NJOY, website Henry’s Bar

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