Where to find the best brown cafes in Amsterdam

The famous brown cafes of Amsterdam are renowned for their homely, cozy atmosphere and are an integrated part of Dutch culture. They are often where people go for a drink after work or to socialise at the weekends, but also a great place to relax and unwind.

Stepping into a brown cafe is a little like entering a time machine. They are usually found in a historic building and offer an authentic Dutch / Amsterdam experience. We’d recommend popping into at least one if you’re in the city, so we’ve rounded up our list of best brown cafes in Amsterdam.

1. De Dokter

De Dokter (The Doctor) is the smallest brown cafe in Amsterdam at just 18 metres squared. The atmosphere is homely and historic, the cafe was founded back in 1978 and you’ll be greeted with some background Jazz music too. They also serve side plates of cheese or smoked beef sausage alongside famous Amsterdam pickles!

Inside of a brown cafe in Amsterdam
Cafe de Dokter: Rozenboomsteeg 4, 1012 PR Amsterdam

2. De Sluyswacht

This brown cafe has a lot of history. The building was constructed back in 1695 as a home for the lockmaster. The lockmaster maintained the lock (right next to the cafe) to ensure enemy ships did not enter Amsterdam as well as regulate the flow of water. Nowadays, the building stands alone and has little support – meaning it’s even more slanted than the Leaning Tower of Pisa! 

exterior of cafe sluyswacht
Cafe de Sluyswacht: Jodenbreestraat 1, 1011 NG Amsterdam

3. Arendsnest

Looking for Dutch beers? Arendsnest is the place for you. They only serve beer from Dutch breweries and there’s over 100 to choose from. Arendsnest also have a tasting room downstairs in Bartholomeus which will reach you how to properly taste beer and sample some different types too.

Brown cafe beer menu
Arendsnest: Herengracht 90, 1015 BS Amsterdam

4. Cafe Chris

Cafe Chris is the oldest bar in Jordaan, having opened its doors back in 1624. There’s just one beer on tap here, but there’s a pool table so that’s pretty rare for a Brown Cafe. You can also sit outside and watch the world go by.

black and white shot of amsterdam brown cafe
Cafe Chris: Bloemstraat 42, 1016 LC Amsterdam

5. Cafe ‘t Mandje

A landmark gay bar in A

Exterior shot of a brown cafe in amsterdam
Cafe ‘t Mandje: Zeedijk 63, 1012 AS Amsterdam

msterdam since 1927. That’s right, 1927. Bet van Beeren opened and owned the bar, who was openly gay in a time when homosexuality was far from widely accepted. His niece is now running the place, which is very typical of a Brown cafe, they are often kept in the family through generations. 


A map of the best brown cafes in Amsterdam.