My sister-in-law once said that she always imagines me living this Sex-and-the-City lifestyle in Amsterdam… Not wanting to disappoint, I make it my mission to live up to this reputation. How well I do on the sex aspect is not the subject of this blog post. But I do know a good Cosmo when I taste one. Which brings us onto my fourth FAQ…
Question: where can we have a proper girls’ night out with cocktails and everything?
Answer: look no further than my top five Amsterdam cocktail bars…
1. Door 74: causing more than a stir (possibly a shake?) when it opened, Door 74 owned Amsterdam’s underground scene for – ooh – all of two months. It’s exclusive, but only in the sense that you have to know where it is, and you have to book. There’s no entrance fee, but drinks aren’t cheap. They are, however, bloody lovely. And this is one of the few bars in Amsterdam where you can get dressed up New-York style without feeling silly.
2. Vesper: somehow related to Door 74 in a way that I don’t seem to be able to verify via the usual wonder that is Google, Vesper is smaller, cuter and more local. But the drinks are no less fabulous (and I have a crush on the barman).
3. Harry’s Bar: the original cocktail bar in Amsterdam, Harry’s still has an old-world charm that cannot be emulated by its newer rivals. The waiters wear white suits, the punters drink at dark tables, and you feel compelled to order drinks like Old Fashioneds… Only downside is the whole place smells really odd. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. Please note that since this post was written, Harry’s Bar has closed down.
4. Njoy: a hidden gem, just off the Leidseplein, Njoy has you doing what it says on the tin. The bar staff know their Lillet from their lychee syrup, and you feel like you’ve discovered a funky little haven of cool among the Argentinian steakhouses and dodgy night spots.
5. Hiding in Plain Sight: a newcomer to Amsterdam’s cocktail scene (I added it about two years after originally writing this post!), HPS is in the style of an old-fashioned American speakeasy, but then with giant windows covering two walls – making it the most ill-concealed ‘secret’ bar ever. The bar staff are extremely knowledgeable, and the drinks are all themed according to type. My new favourite.