Our guide to gay bars in Amsterdam.
A night out in Amsterdam could begin any number of adventures. And it is likely to cost less than any big city in Europe or the US. Drinks (meaning beer) are cheap, bars don’t have cover charges, and at the few clubs that do, they are minimal. (The exception being the occasional big bash—circuit parties or leather parties or gay pride weekend parties.)
Amsterdam boasts a huge number of gay venues—some of the most interesting club nights only happen once a month, once every two months or even more erratically. One of the most popular is the Sunday “happy hour” from 6 to 8 pm at the Soho bar, where the very happy crowd spills out into the Reguliersdwarstraat,a block south of the flower market,lined with many bars, restaurants and shops. On summer nights, this pedestrian street fills with young gays..
You’ll also usually find a sociable, if older, crowd at the three adjacent bars on the Zeedijk including the long running Queen’s Head. A good place to start your night is at the Amstel Taveerne , the oldest gay bar in Amsterdam.
A few other bars deserve mention, particularly, Prik, which has a relaxed and friendly ambiance. Prik is Dutch for “bubble,” and this unironic smiley face of a bar is pure effervescence — from its fruity specialty apple mojito to the open terrace where you can pop toastie sandwiches to a weekend DJ spinning. If all that good cheer proves infectious, you can buy the I LOVE PRIK shoulder bag or T-shirt.
After midnight, there’s dancing on the Reguliersdwarsrtraat at the NYX or at the campy (and cover free) Montmartre nearby. For most leather and sex barscheck out the Warmoesstraat just north of Dam Square and Nieuwezijds Kolk areas, where you’ll find them amidst the coffeeshops, porn stores and take-out eateries.If you want cruising without the dancing, the Eagle and Dirty Dicks are the bars for you but don’t plan on going until well after midnight.
Where Warmoesstraat meets the Zeedijk, picturesque gay pubs draw sexually mixed crowds, from the maturely sophisticated to the young and artsy.On streets leading to Rembrandtplein from the Amstel canal, there are some lively local gay bars.
Club Church has reaffirmed Amsterdam’s bad-to-the-bone status with a calendar of nonstop kink that includes Wednesday night’s Naked Bar (dress code: buck naked), Friday’s underwear party, and Sex on Sunday (free condoms and, um, coat check). You won’t go home feeling dirty, though; there are showers downstairs for that after-party scrub-down.
If you are on a budget, then drink beer (just ask for a “biertje”—pronounced “beer-cha”.) Mixed drinks are expensive and anything more complicated than a gin and tonic is impossible outside the trendiest bars A Dutch happy hour is two drinks for the price of one, so this is the best time to satisfy your desire for strong alcohol should you tire of beer.