Lifestyle

The Best Date Spot in Each One of Amsterdam's 24 'Hoods

Published On 02/24/2016 Published On 02/24/2016

Amsterdam’s sexy reputation may come from the Red-Light District, but that’s just because outsiders don’t know how hot the local dating scene is. There’s no such thing as a dry spell when there are dating apps and low standards. (Yeah, we’ve seen you on Happn. We’re still waiting for you to respond to our Charm.) 

So meeting locals who want to get lucky isn’t too tough, but where do you take them after you’ve both swiped right? No matter where you live (or your date lives), we have you covered with the best place to impress a date in 24 Amsterdam neighborhoods. 

W Amsterdam

Dam & CS

W Lounge

Address and Info

A comfy-chic interior, swanky staff at your beck and call, DAT ROOFTOP/TOWER VIEW -- this new drinks spot (head to the adjoining MR PORTER restaurant for steak meals) is a no-brainer. Just make sure you have a wallet to impress, too -- class comes at a price. Luckily, this is Holland, where the whole “going Dutch” thing got started.

De TonTon club

Red-Light District

TonTon Club

Address and Info

Check your date’s competitive side and (lack of) gamesmanship at this arcade for grown-ups. You’ve got a selection of pinball, Mario Kart, shooting and fighting games, and even a ball pit. Plus there’s plenty of local beer by the bottle to smooth over any early-date awkwardness.

Flickr/Jean-Pierre Dalbéra

Spui

Hoppe

Address and Info

There are two sides to this classic bar, but you should head straight to the smaller, older (as in 1670) side, of course. It gets cramped in the dark-wood space with old-school sandy floors, so you’ll have to get close. All the better to hear what your date has to say... or whatever. You can order beer (don’t bother with the wine), but this spot’s a good excuse to hit the hard stuff -- in, ya know, a classy way. You’ll find a giant selection of jenever and its more herbal/fruity Old Dutch Liqueur cousins. It’s like a museum for the mouth (or at least the liver).

Restaurant-Cafe In de Waag

Nieuwmarkt & Waterlooplein

In de Waag

Address and Info

Sometimes the obvious option is obvious for a reason. Atmospheric (and authentic) medieval interiors. Big, sunny terrace. Top-notch food and a decent wine list. Come on, it looks like a frickin’ castle. Don’t fight the romance.

Flickr/Sergey Galyonkin

Rembrandtplein

Starbucks

Address and Info

Sometimes you’re just looking for a coffee date -- but this Starbucks flagship location is like a coffee date all hopped up on... Red Bull! The enormous, multi-level interior (an old bank vault) looks amazing from floor to ceiling, as it's all made from repurposed materials and designed to conserve energy. You have the widest selection of Starbucks stuff you’ll find anywhere: beyond frappucinos, try a tasting of the not-found-elsewhere Reserve coffees at the separate bar -- er, sorry, “Slow Coffee Theater.” (Products are tested here before they’re rolled out to other stores.) Plus there are some serious sweet and savory snacks at the bakery here.

Mashua

Leidseplein

Mashua

Address and Info

We clearly love this place. And with decor almost as gorgeous as what comes out of the kitchen, it’s a great way to impress without breaking the bank.

Tales & Spirits

Canal Belt

Tales & Spirits

Address and Info

It’s actually like two steps out of the Canal Belt, but the cobblestoned back-alley location out-charms even the 9 Streets. It’s pretty inside, and the staff is uniformed to do the menu of specialty cocktails and tasty small bites justice. Worst case scenario, if you and your latest Tinder catch don’t have anything to talk about, the entertaining staff will supply plenty of fodder with their antics, as will the creative cocktail presentations: pop rocks, cotton candy, and dolls, oh my.

Flickr/Yelp Inc.

Jordaan

Boom Chicago

Address and Info

Yep, there are many charming corners to explore in this historic, water-laden ‘hood -- and this ain’t one of them. You’re bringing your date here because there are two paths to a person’s heart: comedy and food. And both are dished out here. Just be warned, the closer you sit to the stage the more likely your date is to become part of the show.

Het Concertgebouw Amsterdam

Museumkwartier

Het Concertgebouw

Address and Info

Want to look classy and cultured? This is your ticket. Plus, it’s got some of the best acoustics in the world, making it seriously worth checking out even without a date to impress. There are regular concerts, some of which veer away from the classical standards, but if you want to be authentically Dutch about it, go for the free weekly lunchtime rehearsals

Old West

T’s Bites & Wine

Address and Info

In this light and airy double-decker bar you’ve got a whole menu of bites -- from crispy, herb-coated patatas bravas with a spicy mojo sauce to caviar-and-violet-topped wild salmon blinis -- to choose from. Plus an even longer list (well, book, really) of wines by the glass (almost 40 options) and/or bottles that won’t blow your dating budget for the month. But make it easy on yourselves and just let Tanja (that would be the T) and her chef choose the best selections of both for you.

The Red Sun

Stadionbuurt & WTC

THE RED SUN

Address and Info

The sushi is inventive, with options like nigiri halibut with truffle soy sauce and lightly fried vermicelli, and the swank blood-red interior is guaranteed to get you hot and bothered in all the right ways, just as much as the wasabi. 

Westerpark

Mossel & Gin

Address and Info

The spiffed-up industrial interior is lovely, but bonus points if you can land a spot in the walled garden. Either way, you’re indulging in at least two known aphrodisiacs: mussels (or other seafood if you prefer) and alcohol, the ultimate aphrodisiac -- most likely in the form of a G&T.

Ginger Grill & Asian Tapas

De Pijp

Ginger Grill & Asian Tapas

Address and Info

So long Oolong (a former cocktail favorite of ours), and hello to the new Ginger Grill. Luckily the menu and ambiance haven’t changed much. The date-ready dark interior matches the modern-style Asian-influenced dishes like dumplings and other dim sum classics, spiced meat on a stick, and a lot of prawn. A menu of decently priced wines and cocktails will make sure you’re feeling friendly by the end of the night.

Plantage

Kriterion

Address and Info

Michael Bay’s latest attempt to entertain doesn’t exactly scream romance (and screaming isn’t very romantic anyway), which is why you’re better off using an indie or foreign film as the soundtrack to whatever sweet nothings you plan on whispering in the dark. Sure the theater is a little... musty, but that’s culture for you. And there’s a cafe that sells way better stuff than popcorn (like a full bar of drinks you can take right to your seat with you) where you can perform your post-film analysis of the movie... and your chances with your new boo.

Kattencafé Kopjes

De Baarsjes

Kattencafé Kopjes

Address and Info

Get the oxytocin release going with some cuddly felines and win over the animal lover in your life without shelling out too much dough. However things go with your human companion, as least you know you’ll get some cuddle action on your date.

Wilde Westen

Bos & Lommer

Wilde Westen

Address and Info

The couple that does laundry together... well, at least knows that they both have clean underwear. Here you can dine (mostly wood-oven pizzas) and drink (local beers) while you do just that. Mid-week dates might even benefit from one of the weekly menu specials.

Eastern Docklands

Farina

Address and Info

The food is fantastic and the service is gracious (and often authentically Italian), but you’re really coming for the location: a dock under an apartment building in the middle of a mini-lake, reached via a couple long boardwalks, with 360-degree water views. In the summer you can enjoy these even more closely from the wrap-around terrace. Plus, everyone knows Italian food is date food, right?

Walter's

Indische Buurt

Walter’s -- The Walter Woodbury Bar

Address and Info

You know Walter’s is a great date spot because it’s always full of people on dates. The well-prepared menu and pretty staff members are draws, but not as much as the sizable, jaw-dropping interior of lush plants and birdcage lighting.

Restaurant De Kas

Watergraafsmeer

De Kas

Address and Info

It’s not one of the cheapest spots on the list, but this restaurant has been an Amsterdam favorite for over a decade, despite an until-now not-so-trendy location, for a reason. That reason is the experience of eating wholesome, local food in an upscale environment... inside a massive working greenhouse. Sign up for lunch to save a few bucks. There’s a different menu every day.

Noord

Saunakaravaan by De Ruimte

Address and Info

It’s an all-year outdoor sauna party! With little to no drinking... However, it’s cheap, it’s unusual, and there’s always live music or storytelling. And it’s now located just around the (canal) corner from NDSM. As we’ve noted before, the policy here is full nudity -- so, maybe not a first-date spot unless you’re both looking for a preview of the coming attractions. On the other hand, if you can get someone to sweat with you in a hut with a bunch of naked strangers on the first outing, you know you’ve got a keeper.

Blijburg Aan Zee

IJburg

Blijburg

Address and Info

Amsterdam’s best beach is pretty cozy in the winter months, too, thanks to its new fire pit-heated home with regular live music nights and plenty of decent sips and nibbles.

Knijn Bowling en Restaurant

Rivierenbuurt & RAI

Knijn Bowling & Restaurant

Address and Info

It's classic dating action with a surprisingly classy restaurant (Meat Paul) and bar (Bar 71) tacked on. Make your date a party with the weekend Disco Bowling events. 

Zuidoost

World of Food

Address and Info

Explore entire continents of street food at the best thing to happen to Zuidoost eaters since... ever. This food court may not be as fancy as De Foodhallen, but it’s bigger, less crowded, and more down to earth. Experiment with new flavors and see if your date is a picky eater.

Hotel Buiten

New West

Hotel Buiten

Address and Info

Open year-round, the winter comfort food (like cheese fondue) by the fire is replaced by outdoor eating along the picturesque Sloterpas when the summer months roll around. You'll see lots of nooks, a hammock or two, or even a trampoline where you can really get to know someone, all while sipping local beer from the appropriately named Brouwerij De 7 Deugden (“7 Sins Brewery”). Whatever the time of year, there’s a good chance of live music. The catch? This waterside spot’s open to the public weekends only.

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Elysia Brenner is a writer, editor, and all-around Amsterdam expert. Follow her on Twitter right here.

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1. W Lounge Spuistraat 175, ,

With a chic interior, this trendy drinks spot is definitely one of the trendiest locales within Amsterdam's night life. Come for the view and cocktails, but just make sure to bring your platinum credit card -- class comes at a price. Luckily, this is Holland, where the whole “going Dutch” thing got started... kidding. But this hotel lounge is a great pit stop for when you're sight-seeing-- it's super close to the Anne Frank House, Dam Square, and the Rijksmuseum, among other spots to hit up.

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2. TonTon Club Sint Annendwarsstraat 6, Amsterdam, 1012 HC

Check your date’s competitive side and (lack of) gamesmanship at this Red-Light District-located arcade for grown-ups. You’ve got a selection of pinball, Mario Kart, shooting and fighting games, and even a ball pit. Plus there’s plenty of local beer by the bottle to smooth over any first date discomfort.

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3. Hoppe Spui 18, Amsterdam, 1012 XA

There are two sides to this bar, but you should head straight to the smaller side. You can order beer (don’t bother with the wine), but this spot’s a good excuse to hit the hard stuff -- in, ya know, a classy way. Choose something from their extensive menu of jenever and pair it with one of many offered Dutch bar snacks including herring and the ubiquitious bitterballen.

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4. Restaurant-Café In de Waag Nieuwmarkt 4, Amsterdam, 1012 CR (Nieuwmarkt)

Since it started out as the 15th-century city gates, this castle-like building in the center of modern Chinatown has been everything to everyone, from guild house to modern event space. (Rembrandt even used to come here to paint dead bodies.) Most people head there today, though, for the restaurant on the ground floor, which serves the best eggs Benedict in the city and dinner classics, like scallops (with Serrano ham, endive, curry mayo, and hazelnut) and steak worthy of their price tags, in the gilded stone interior and expansive terrace.

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5. Starbucks Utrechtsestraat 9, Amsterdam, 1017 CV

This Starbucks flagship location boasts an enormous, multi-level interior that used to be an old bank vault. It looks incredible from floor to ceiling, as it's all made from repurposed materials (the wooden beams and blocks on the ceiling are gorgeous) and designed to conserve energy. You can pick from the widest selection of Starbucks items you've probably seen anywhere, including the not-found-elsewhere Reserve coffees at the separate coffee bar, and sweet and savory snacks like croissants, muffins, and brownies at the bakery.

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6. Mashua Prinsengracht 703, Amsterdam, 1017 JV (The Jordaan)

This canal-side restaurant near Leidseplein specializes in Peruvian fusion and so it's not out of coincidence that they pour a mean Pisco Sour.

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7. Tales & Spirits Lijnbaanssteeg 5-7, Amsterdam, 1012 TE

This drink den of brick and dark wood beams supporting crystal chandeliers not only boasts one of the best spirits menus in the city, but also some of the kookiest bartenders to ever don bow ties. In other words: fun guaranteed.

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8. Chicago Social Club Leidseplein 12, Amsterdam, 1017 PT (Leidseplein)

The Chicago Social Club is one part nightclub, one part comedy club (Boom Chicago, located in the back), with a distinctly international vibe. Once the laughs end, the music and dancing begins.

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9. Het Concertgebouw Concertgebouwplein 2-6, Amsterdam, 1071 LN

For a dependably classy experience, head to Het Concertgebouw. It's got some of the best acoustics in the world, making it seriously worth checking out whether you're with company or not. There are regular concerts, some of which veer away from the classical standards, but if you want to be authentically Dutch about it, go for the free weekly lunchtime rehearsals.

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10. T’s Bites & Wine Kinkerstraat 53, Amsterdam, 1053

This wine bar is decorated with a modern minimalist style. But, its menu is certainly not minimal as it features almost 40 by-the-glass wine options plus snacks and small dishes.

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11. The Red Sun Olympiaplein 176, Amsterdam, 1076 AL

The sushi is inventive, with options like nigiri halibut with truffle soy sauce and lightly fried vermicelli, and the uber trendy blood-red interior is guaranteed to entice you in all the right ways, just as much as the wasabi.

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12. Mossel & Gin Gosschalklaan 12, Amsterdam, 1014 DC (Westerpark)

This Westerpark watering hole -- with its spiffed-up industrial interior and hideaway garden terrace -- is one of the town's coolest gin joints, and it's also gained plenty of acclaim for their fresh mussels that come drenched in Roquefort cheese, or Thai spices, or other deliciousness.

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13. Ginger Ferdinand Bolstraat 13-15, 1072 LA Amsterdam,

Ginger's date-ready dark interior matches modern-style Asian-influenced dishes like dumplings and other dim sum classics, spiced meat on a stick, and a lot of prawn. Pair any of these picks with a delicious drink from their menu of decently priced wines and cocktails.

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14. Kriterion Roetersstraat 170, Amsterdam, 1018 WE

This theater might be a little musty, but that’s culture for you. The crowd mostly serves a student and arthouse aficionado community, but the cafe caters to all -- with way better stuff than popcorn, like a full bar of drinks you can take right to your seat with you, where you can perform your post-film analysis of the movie.

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15. Kopjes Marcopolostraat 211, Amsterdam, 1057 WK

This is Amsterdam's first cat café, named for the word the Dutch use to describe when a cat affectionately rubs its head against you. Make a reservation and you can sit around petting kitties for €3/two hours (plus whatever cakes and sandwiches you decide to stuff in your face).

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16. Wilde Westen , Amsterdam, 1055AA

Located under the Old Gak building, this restaurant is open late night and serves pizza, small plates, and salads. There is good variety on the menu despite it not being huge.

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17. Farina Amsterdam Borneosteiger 1, Amsterdam, 1019 KM

Surrounded by water, the Farina terrace is nestled in the Borneosteiger building. Farina caters everyone from folk the moor to entire wedding parties.

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18. Walter's - The Walter Woodbury Bar Javastraat 42, Amsterdam, 1094 HJ (East)

Open for brunch, lunch, and dinner, as well as drinks, the Eastern-fusion menu is inspired by the Javastraat’s traditional multi-culti mix. Plus, there’re tons of beers to choose from... and wide selection of G&Ts, natch.

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19. De Kas Kamerlingh Onneslaan 3, Amsterdam, 1097 DE

This Watergraafsmeer spot is a giant greenhouse dating from 1926 in the middle of Park Frankendael, full of plants and everything. Plus 140 seats. This greenhouse also cooks up those plants (and meats and cheeses and other stuff sourced from the local countryside) and serves them in some pretty posh, pretty delicious three-course meals -- a new one for the whole restaurant each day.

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20. Sauna Karavaan 1 NDSM-Plein, Amsterdam, 1033 RG

Located around the corner from the Nederlandsche Dok en Scheepsbouw Maatschappij (NDSM) docks, this all-year outdoor sauna party (with a full nudity policy) also regularly hosts live music or storytelling. Stop by for a sweat with strangers.

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21. Blijburg Aan Zee Pampuslaan 501, Amsterdam, 1087 LA

Located on Amsterdam's beach, this cafe/event venue offers health-inspired eats, a great atmosphere, and a variety of local craft beers. Blijburg Aan Zee is also pretty cozy in the winter months, with a fire pit and regular live music.

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22. Knijn Bowling Scheldeplein 3, Amsterdam, 1078 GR

This tenpin bowling alley with a surprisingly sophisticated restaurant -- Meat Paul -- is perfect for any kind of date. The eatery offers an extensive a la carte menu, snack food, and a space for about 400 guests. Knijn also boasts weekend disco bowling events.

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23. World of Food Amsterdam Develstein 100, Amsterdam, 1102 AK (North)

Over 20 concrete stands make up the bones of this indoor food market. The simple warehouse will be filled with a wide variety of international street foods, each offering something different to try.

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24. Hotel Buiten Th. J. Lammerslaan 1, Amsterdam,

Kick back and relax at this alternative hotel. Take advantage of the seasonal events— from barbecue picnics in the summer to fondue dinners in the winter.

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