Amsterdam Sights

Brown Cafés (bruincafé's)

→ traditional meeting places sometimes very venerable with plenty of atmosphere and local colour.

A bruin ("brown") café is similar to a pub. What the pub is for the Londoner, is the brown café for the Amsterdammer. They are casual, neighborhood gathering spots, where people meet looking for a drink, a snack and friendly conversation.

Brown cafés (also called "kroegen") are located all around the city but especially in the Jordaan and in the Old Centre.

Cafe Anno 1890
Café Anno 1890 at Amstelveenseweg, Amsterdam. Foto Klaas Fopma

Most Dutch brown cafés stay open until 1 or 2 am. The term "brown" comes from their generally dark interiors with tottering old chairs and tables, wooden floors and stained walls that supposedly owe their hue to years of smoking patrons.

Most brown cafes have at least different sorts of beer on tap and Dutch jenever, a spirit similar to gin. The quality of wine served in these cafes vary per location.

Amsterdam's best brown cafés

Anno 1890 - Amstelveenseweg 1124 (Zuideramstel)
Café Oosterling (from 1640) - Utrechtsestraat 140 (Grachtengordel) - large old barrels, a granite floor and wooden bar counter
Café 't Smalle (from 1786) - Egelantiersgracht 12 (Jordaan) - a former liquor distillery and tasting room
De Blaffende Vis , Westerstraat 118 (Jordaan)
De Doffer, Runstraat 12-14 (Canal Belt)
De Toog , Nic. Beetstraat 142 (Oud-West)
Festina Lente , Looiersgracht 40b (Jordaan)
Gambrinus , Ferdinand Bolstraat 180 (De Pijp)
In 't Aepjen, Zeedijk 1, Amsterdam (Old Centre)
Quinto , Frans Halsstraat 42 (De Pijp)
Van Buuren , Sarphatipark 4 (De Pijp)

More Cafés and Bars...   (Amsterdam Directory)


Taste genevers, liqueurs and beers

in one of Amsterdam's authentic tasting rooms

Cafe Hegeraad
Cafe Hegeraad at Noordermarkt