An Oenophile’s Guide to Amsterdam: Wine Bars and Wine Shops

My favourite moment of the day is somewhere around 6.30 pm, when work is finished, it’s not yet time for dinner, and the kitchen is filled with the familiar glug-glug-glug sound of a just-opened bottle of wine being poured. If I’m at home, it’ll perhaps be accompanied by some cheese and crackers or slices of chorizo; if I’m out, it might be bitterballen or jamón. Either way, this first-glass-of-wine-meets-early-evening-snacks moment has a name in our house: Hapje Hour – which, incidentally, will be the name of my wine bar if the Mr. Foodie and I ever open one.

More and more Amsterdam wine bars are starting to offer shareable bites with a selection of wines by the glass, and the quality and inventiveness of the food is going up in parallel. At the same time, Amsterdam’s wine shops are understanding that consumers want more than a cheap tipple, and are starting to offer great advice about wine pairings, wine styles and more.

Wine shops in Amsterdam: physical and online

Some of my favourite physical wine stores in Amsterdam include Wine & Roses on the Van Woustraat in De Pijp, Chabrol Wines (which is handily close to Centraal Station), and Vindict Wine with locations in the Jordaan and Noord, which also carries a selection of Dutch wines at their shop-in-shop Bob Wijn.

For online wine orders, try Colaris.nl, which carries a wide selection of wines at different price points as well as Vivino top-rated wines and some lovely gift packages. If your love of booze extends to cocktails, online liquor store Topdrinks.nl sells every spirit imaginable, including all your favourite brands.

Looking for more than wine bars in Amsterdam? Download my Amsterdam Restaurant Guide:

13 of the Best Amsterdam Wine Bars

Bubbles & Wines

Nowadays, there are dozens of great wine bars in Amsterdam. But when I moved here in 2006, there was pretty much just one: Bubbles & Wines. I used to go there a lot, but hadn’t been back in years – until very recently when I’d booked their “high wine” arrangement for a friend’s birthday. It involved eight half glasses of wine, in a diverse range of styles from an apple-fresh Cava to a luscious New Zealand Pinot Gris to a deep and complex 2014 Rioja Reserva. Each round came with snacks that were substantial enough not to need anything else for dinner, and the server very kindly switched out the platter of cured ham for some veggie snacks for my friend who doesn’t eat pork. This was particularly notable since I’d failed to tell them beforehand, and he was immensely kind and smiling about our last minute request. And all of this for €45 per person. When you consider that Bubbles & Wines is a stone’s throw from Dam Square, that feels like very good value. Sometimes the oldies really are the goodies.


New in my neighbourhood in 2023 is Bottleshop – located in that strange Beetlejuice building on Wibautstraat that used to be home to Undercover. It’s a natural wine bar that also serves some fantastic, upscale bar bites. I’m not usually a huge fan of natural wines, but I loved Bottleshop’s fruity, farmyard-y French Gamay and juicy, low-extraction Cabernet Franc. Not to mention their pungent cheeses, melting beef short rib, punchy chicken yakitori and simple but heavenly bread and butter. I’m glad this is only 50 metres down the road from my apartment!

French Gamay and yakitori skewers at Bottleshop natural wine bar

Bar Parry

In a super cosy little café in the Jordaan, Bar Parry is the kind of place where you turn up for a drink after work and end up spending all evening. It offers a number of interesting wines by the glass – I particularly enjoyed the silky Cava and Les Maiols light and juicy Spanish red – but there are also lots more wines by the bottle (you can take a look at them in the floor-to-ceiling wine cabinet at the back of the bar). On the food front, Parry’s shareable snacks are a cut above your average borrelhapjes: think sobrasada with orange marmelade, boiled eggs with anchovy mayo, and wafer-thin celeriac with beetroot mascarpone and dukkah. The evening I visited, it was raining outside – which only added to the snug ambience. Note: Bar Parry doesn’t take reservations, so it pays to arrive early.

Tourraine rosé with celeriac, dukkah and beetroot


With the unfortunate timing of opening right before first lockdown, Alba on the Wibautstraat has been making up for lost time ever since. The restaurant’s extensive, leafy terrace is perfect for summer evenings, and it’s even covered with vast umbrellas in case it rains (which it did – a lot – when I was there). There’s a varied menu of natural, organic wines by the glass, which the servers will let you taste before you decide if you ask nicely. But for those who fancy themselves as sommeliers, there’s an expansive list of wines by the bottle to select from. On the food front, Alba is hard to categorise. We tried a perfectly devilled egg, which felt classically French, but later had a Japanese-style slow-cooked egg with a sort of curried mousse – impossible to describe but trust me, it was good. Continuing the fusion theme, we ate ultra-fresh peas with tofu and crispy chilli oil, side by side with ricotta gnocchi and courgette. And finished up with hanger steak with spiced sweet potato puree and chipotle dressing. Even the bread and butter were delicious. It’s been just as good on every occasion since.

Ricotta gnocchi with courgette at Alba
Ricotta gnocchi with courgette at Alba

Rayleigh & Ramsay

Rayleigh & Ramsay have a unique concept in Amsterdam as far as I know: instead of table service, they have at least half a dozen (probably more) wine-dispensing machines throughout the bar. Each machine contains ten bottles of temperature-controlled, vacuum-sealed, perfectly preserved wine. As a customer, you simply pre-load a card with credit and wander around to take your pick of the dozens of wines available. And not only do they come by the glass – they come by the half glass and by the taster sample, too. In short, R&R is a great way to try lots of different, and interesting, wines – especially if you’re with a few people who each fancy something different. On the food front, Rayleigh & Ramsay does various shareable, snackable plates – think charcuterie, pâté, cheeses, and so on. If you’re looking for something more substantial, main courses are also on offer, and there’s a good-value fixed menu. The good news is that Rayleigh & Ramsay now has three locations: in De Pijp, Westerpark and Oostpoort.

Wine tasting heaven at Rayleigh & Ramsay


On perhaps my favourite square in Oost, Beukenplein, you’ll find Clos – a wine bar with a covered, heated terrace and plenty to make you happy in the wine and food department. The wines by the glass are arranged to make it easy to select one you’re bound to like, and there are plenty of top-notch snacks to nibble while you tipple. Think good-quality charcuterie and cheeses, fresh bread with hummus, meatballs in tomato sauce and more.

Wine and charcuterie at Clos


Meanwhile in Amsterdam West, Fabus is a women-led wine bar featuring natural wines from underrepresented regions and some fantastic Levantine food to go with it. The vibe is rather younger and edgier compared with other places on this list (we were the oldest people there by about 10 years) but the wine selection is no less accomplished. The occasion we visited was one of those miserably damp autumn days when only red wine will do: we started with the “juicy AF” Carignan/Merlot blend by Reynard Rebels, followed by a super smooth, vanilla-tastic Spanish Tempranillo/Syrah blend. They paired perfectly with the creamy spinach-bean dip and panisse chips we ordered to nibble on. But it was the whole, spicy, roasted cauliflower with tahini sauce that really stole the show, eaten alongside a Greek red wine that (I kid you not) channelled pure After Eight mints. Bizarre but beautiful.

“Juicy AF” red blend at Fabus

Editor’s note: I was invited to eat at Fabus as a journalist, and I didn’t pay for my meal. Obviously I try to be as objective as possible, but I always disclose when I’ve had a freebie.


Paskamer is Dutch for changing room, but this cosy spot in de Pijp is in fact a wine bar-slash-restaurant. So who knows where the name comes from? Because they offer around 50 wines by the glass, you can pair a different one with each dish you order, or just plump for a bottle to split with your pals. I think we accidentally did both, which is probably why I ended up so drunk. Anyhoo… The food is perfectly designed for sharing, and the knowledgeable waiting staff will help you with wine pairings if you’re into that. Think smoky pulpo (octopus) with spicy mayo paired with a grauburgunder from Pfalz, or umami-rich marinated salmon with an Alsace pinot blanc. But perhaps my favourite wine came from the Spanish specials: a Catalunyan blend of syrah, carignan, mazuelo and grenache that tasted like a Priorat but for a fraction of the price. With cheese? Yes, please.

Burrata and a cracking bottle of red


Opening on Frederiksplein in autumn 2022, Oocker occupies a skinny space but makes it both elegant and cosy. I visited with a small group for a friend’s birthday, and we polished off several fantastic bottles, from a smooth Jura crémant to a fresh-yet-full bodied Dao blend to a buttery Argentinian chardonnay. The staff were extremely knowledgeable, gave us great recommendations and were happy to have a chat about wine in general. During the daytime, there’s a limited snacks menu – of which we tried the caccio e pepe croquettes and the burrata bruschetta – both delicious. After 17:30, the menu expands into larger warm dishes, which you can share or not depending on how hungry you are. I loved the bone marrow and the slow-cooked neck of lamb. Oocker has a tiny terrace that acts as a sun trap, too.

Creative wine racks at Oocker

Five Brothers Fat

Five Brothers Fat calls itself a Champagneria. But don’t let that scare you – they sell delicious Cava too, which is much more wallet-friendly. On the food front, Five Brothers Fat offers a tapas menu that’s designed to be shared: we tried the jamón Serrano, Manchego cheese, chorizo croquettes and pan con tomate – all of which were as you’d expect: simple but spot-hitting. On a more recent visit to their new location next to Oosterpark, I particularly enjoyed the watermelon and feta salad and the tuna tartare with Asian overtones. Prices are friendly (as is the atmosphere, for that matter), and now that Five Brothers Fat has three locations – in West, Zuid and Oost respectively – a good glass of bubbles is never too far away.

Five Brothers Fat: jamón and a good glass of Cava


Officially the cutest wine bar in Amsterdam, GlouGlou is the very definition of gezellig. I can happily while away an evening here, starting with after-work drinks and progressing steadily into late-night “ohhh, just one last round then” territory. GlouGlou specialises in natural wines – of which I’d like to tell you what to order, but I always seem to go off-menu with some ad-hoc recommendation or other from the nice barman. Snacks are a little less elaborate than at some of the other wine bars on this list, but no less tasty, with top-notch cheese platters to keep the wolf from the door (as my mother would say).

Looking for more than wine bars in Amsterdam? Download my Amsterdam Restaurant Guide:

Wijnbar Paulus

No more than a couple of blocks from GlouGlou (which is handy if the former is full), Wijnbar Paulus is a rather more modern, hipster alternative. But no less helpful when it comes to making off-menu recommendations. They also offer a selection of cold cuts and cheeses to keep the tipsiness at optimum level.

Bar Pif

I was a little gutted when Alex + Pinard closed down in July 2023 as it was one of my favourite wine bars in Amsterdam. However, the same team are behind Bar Pif – a convivial little spot in the Jordaan for a glass of natural wine and some high-end bar bites. It has a French café vibe, with compact round tables spilling out onto the pavement and a constant buzz of conversation. I had a particular soft spot for their fried chicken and homemade pickles (two separate dishes but they went perfectly together) alongside a white Portuguese blend from the Setubal peninsula. In general, there were rather fewer wines by the glass than I might have expected (far more by the bottle) but I stuck to them anyway to give myself a chance to try more. The Loire valley “Improbable” blend of pinot noir, gamay and sauvignon blanc was also a hit – and surprisingly fuller bodied than it sounds.

Bar Pif: natural wines and bites

Aperitivo o’clock, borreltijd, tapas time or happy hour – whatever you call it, what’s your favourite wine bar in Amsterdam for an early-evening drink and a snack?

all the info

Alba (International)

Bar Parry (European)

Bar Pif (International)

Bottleshop (European)

Bubbles & Wines (European)

Clos (European)

Fabus (Middle Eastern)

Five Brothers Fat (Tapas)

GlouGlou (European)

Oocker (European)

Paskamer (European)

Rayleigh & Ramsay (European)

Wijnbar Paulus (European)


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