Cafe Papeneiland is perhaps one of the most photographed corners of Amsterdam. It is where the Prinsengracht meets the Brouwersgracht. It is charming and old school, and it is a joy to sit outside and watch the world go by. It has been there since 1642. It is really typical of the cosy cafe that you are taking a step back in time. A perfect place to stop for a drink and soak in the Amsterdam feeling. It was really thrown into the international spotlight a few years ago when President Clinton stopped here to try its (now) famous homemade Dutch apple pie. If you are in the area, you must stop here. See our handy overview for more local brown cafes.
Cafe De Doktor is a little gem right in the middle of Amsterdam, but it thankfully is missed by the thousands of people who are in the town centre every day. It is on a little side street near Spui andkalverstraiat. It is almost impossible not to fall instantly in love with this lovely little bar. Its interiors are like a step back in time to a different century. The owners, Maria and Henny, clearly love their place and are the friendliest proprietors you will ever find. There is an excellent selection of local beers. If you are in the centre and fancy a nice cold beer away from the crowds, then pop in here and enjoy the atmosphere. For more like Cafe De Doktor, see our overview of Brown Cafes in Amsterdam.
Cafe Chris is a beautiful brown cafe that has been serving drinks to its customers since 1624. That makes it the oldest bar in the Jordan area of Amsterdam. Tucked away in a corner off the main areas, it is the perfect place to enjoy a drink at any time. You will likely bump into some locals as the bar is packed on weekend evenings. The atmosphere is always friendly. The story has it that the people building the beautiful Westerkerk nearby used to head into Cafe Chris to collect their wages. Maybe they spent their wages there too. Check out the designs on the outside doors, which are just incredible. See more on the Cafe Chris website here. For more brown cafe ideas, see our handy overview.
Café ‘t Smalle is a perennial favourite of both locals and tourists alike. The name itself is an interesting one, and it means ‘narrow bar’. It closed during the lockdowns and emerged with new owners who added a modern twist to this historical classic. It kept most of the old world feel with its wooden panelling and mezzanine. It has been saving drinks since the 1780s. There is always a lovely atmosphere inside and during the good weather it has a lovely waterside terrace. They have some really lovely beers and some classic bar snacks, including bitterballen and cheese cubes. For more information, see the Café ‘t Smalle website. For more local brown bars, see our handy overview.
In ‘t Aepjen is a beautiful brown cafe on the Zeedijk close to Central Station. It is one of the very few surviving wooden buildings in Amsterdam and it dates back to 1519. It wasn’t always a bar and, in the past, was a lodging, often for drunken sailors. Legend has it that sailors who could not settle their bills used to leave their pet monkeys as part payment. This bar has lots of atmosphere and is always a great place to stop for a beer or two. There is no website for In ‘t Aepjen. For more bars like this, please see our handy overview.