How to drink like a local in Amsterdam: from the best happy hours to offbeat bars

Yes, you can experience the famous Amsterdam nightlife on a budget.

Picture this: you’ve arrived safely in Amsterdam and you’re in desperate need of a drink. The good news is that Amsterdam has hundreds of bars and clubs where you can quench your thirst. The bad news? Unless you know where to go, you may end up spending a small fortune.

Photo by marcelgermain/Flickr

As is the case with most popular tourist destinations, the bars in Amsterdam’s city center are pricey. A beer will set you back five to ten dollars and a mixed drink costs even more. As a general rule of thumb, you will pay a premium for drinks in the Rembrandtsplein and the Leidseplein, Amsterdam’s main entertainment districts.

If you want to drink cheaply in Amsterdam, follow these simple tips.

1. Leave the Tourist Traps

The farther outside of the city center you go, the cheaper the drinks become.

A great place to spend at least one evening is in the trendy Jordaan neighborhood, where as well as stunning architecture and a warm local culture you’ll find affordable bars.

One such bar is Werck, which is laid back, well-priced and set within an old church.  Mesmerized by it’s quirky interior, most visitors end up spending an entire evening here relaxing and admiring the architecture.

2. Pre-Party at the Supermarket

Despite the savings, sometimes it’s not always practical to stray far from your hotel in Amsterdam. It’s prudent to know where you can buy booze on a budget in the city center.

Photo by Jet2holidays

If you’re planning a big night, it’s a good idea to buy your drinks from a supermarket like Albert Heijn and enjoy some pre-gaming in your hotel first.

3. Hit the Happy Hour

After you’ve had a glass of wine in your hotel room and are ready to experience Amsterdam’s racy nightlife, it’s time to hit some of the city’s many happy hour specials.

Some Amsterdam favorites include two-for-one bottles of beer until 9pm in Belushi’s Bar and discounted drinks between 9pm and 11pm at the Greenhouse Effect Bar, both of which are right in the Red Light District.  In addition, there’s almost always a great drinks promotion at Coco’s Outback on the Rembrantsplein.

So as you can tell, you don’t have to pay through the nose just to enjoy the nightlife in Amsterdam. Even getting there costs less than you think; with cheap flights to Amsterdam with, you can have a holiday to remember for all the right reasons.

Have you gone drinking in Amsterdam?

Share your favorite Amsterdam drinking spots by leaving a comment below!

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