Weed? No. Coffee? Yes please! As a born and raised “Amsterdammer” who has never had even one puff of a joint, I DO mean cafés when I talk about coffee shops. Actually, finding new cafes in Amsterdam to work or just catch up with friends is my number one favorite activity in my home town, closely followed by number two: conquering nightclubs.
I’m one of those people who sits with a laptop sipping on one cup of coffee for hours while vigorously typing away. In fact, I write a big part of my blog posts there. Pretentious? Maybe, but for me it’s the place where I can concentrate best. Being half introvert and half extravert, I like to be around people, as long as they don’t disturb me when I’m working (including the waiters). Traveling has caused that I more and more see Amsterdam from an outsider’s perspective, which makes me eager to discover it as much as any non-drug tourist would. It surprises me every day what cool places I find when I take a different route from point A to B than I usually do.
There are plenty of great cafés in Amsterdam..
.. but not all of them serve great coffee. I will share a list of my favorite places and trust my gut feeling here: a place can look amazing but if the people that visit is are horrible, it will influence my judgement. Mostly, I am always looking for places that inspire me by their interior, friendly staff and regulars, and of course good coffee. Nice (lunch) food like soups or cakes helps too. I’m an Americano kind of guy: too wimpy for a double espresso but too masculine for a hazelnut infused skinny soy latte. Here are my favorite cafés in Amsterdam, in no particular order.
My favorite cafes in Amsterdam
3. Coffee Bru
4. Two for Joy
10. Quartier Putain
12. Hannekes Boom
A.k.a Hipster Central. The company behind this concept presents itself as a “curator for urbanized lifestyle”. It allows for small businesses and startups like vintage fashion outlets, antiques shops and even a laser-cut gifts store to flourish by combining them in one space. The central elements are a cafe and a flexible office space. The food and drinks are very decent, and the place has enough curious items to keep you busy for a couple of hours. Great wifi and a couple of tables with power sockets available. And of course some of the finest coffee Amsterdam has to offer.
When it comes to fresh food at affordable prices, I would highly recommend to visit one of the two Greenwoods restaurants in Amsterdam. Set up as the first English tea room in Amsterdam in 1988, it has been a success since. The small size of both restaurants create a cozy feel, and the waitresses are always friendly and helpful. Tasty coffee and fast wifi but only one or two tables have power sockets nearby. Do try the sodabread!
3. Coffee Bru
Coffee Bru (pronounced coffee brew) would be an even more amazing coffee place if it didn’t function as a daycare for middleclass stay-at-home moms. Trying to work here for more than one hour is a real challenge when a toddler is banging a mini-frying pan against a mini-stove over and over and over again. Nevertheless, the (filter) coffee and cakes are out of this world, so do give this café a chance (and try the red velvet cake, yum!).
4. Two for Joy
During my first visit to this cafe I noticed how much it was tailored for people working; ample power extension blocks were spread throughout the seating area and fast wifi was available. Often tipped as one of the better coffee makers in town, I have to agree; the beans are fresh and the (semi-automatic) coffee machines look well cleaned (and that’s something you can taste). It is often full with polished silver laptops, so come early or at off-hours (not lunch time or early mornings).
5. De Bakkerswinkel
6. Helena Primakoff
This cute little cafe is located in the middle of a residential area, close to café Roest (see below). Just like Coffee Bru (above) it has been taken over by raging toddlers, although less frequently. It’s worth getting some grub here as well; all of it is homemade and fresh. My favorite order: 3-egg omelette with bacon on 1 slice of brown bread. Very good wifi and sufficient power sockets.
7. Screaming beans – The best coffee Amsterdam has to offer
For your posh coffee tasting-style fix, go to Screaming beans. Your coffee will be served as if you have just ordered an expensive bottle of wine; the waiters are more than happy to tell you all about the details. Order a triple caramel skinny decaf latte and receive a slap in the face for free.
8. Basis Closed until further notice
I sometimes miss the innovation in food- and drinks concept in Amsterdam. Then again, my confidence in knowing Amsterdam well is often proved unfounded by discovering new cafés and pop-up or concept stores I never heard about before. Basis is a good example. It’s based on the “bring your own food as long as you buy our drinks” concept, which gives it a chilled-out vibe. Many students and otherwise money-saving folk gather round, and they organize club nights too. Oh, and the coffee isn’t bad either. There is only one power socket available.
9. Volkshotel / Canvas
Recently renovated, this full-blown concept hotel makes a great first impression and is one of my favorite places in Amsterdam to work and meet. There’s an openly accessible lobby/cafe at the ground floor with flexible work spaces next to it. The 7th floor is where the restaurant / night club (Canvas), roof terrace and even outdoor jacuzzis are located. That’s right, jacuzzis. The place is in constant motion with a mix of hotel guests, locals and artists. There is a plenty of room and plenty of power sockets. Coffee and Wifi are on par.
10. Quartier Putain
Part of the local council’s plan to make the red light district a safer place, it gave young entrepreneurs the opportunity to develop their concepts in the midst of it all. One of these concepts is Quartier Putain, “hooker district” in French. The place has been founded by the guys behind Dutch record label Top Notch, of which you will find many promotional expressions around the venue. Although it’s location is convenient, it is hardly ever packed, making it a great place to work. The coffee and wifi are good there are plenty of power sockets. If you have time to kill, do visit Red Light Radio (an online streaming radio station) and the TonTon club (an arcade hall with food and drinks) around the corner.
Based inside an old 1940 gas generator building, the creators of Roest left many of it’s industrial elements in tact. Many things are happening here throughout the year, and especially in the summer it is a hotspot. There is ample space around the venue, which is converted into a city beach, camp fire gathering or even full-blown festival set-up. I remember enjoying myself thoroughly at an American WWF-style wrestling match featuring greasy burgers and the national anthem. During the day it’s a chilled-out cafe with decent coffee and wifi.
12. Hannekes Boom
Centrally located near the public library and the Central train station, this place gets packed as soon as the first ray of sunshine breaks through the grey clouds in spring. The venue is surrounded by water, which allows for small boats to moor for a quick snack. I would consider this spot too busy to work decently, but a nice place to have visited at least once.
13. The Scandinavian Embassy
Just recently I have discovered this gem through a friend’s recommendation. Having lived in Stockholm for 2 months at the beginning of this year, I immediately recognize the Scandinavian-ness of this place. The bright brown pine interior, the minimalistic yet stylish design and the friendly (excellently English speaking) chefs and waiters. They serve typical dishes such as breakfast porridge, and the coffee is a amazing and the wifi is great. In my opinion, the only downside is the pretentious clientele.
Are you a breakfast for dinner kind of type? I know I am 🙂 As the Netherlands’ first ‘omlettery’ you can get your breakfast fill here whenever you like it. The interior is cozy and the waiters are friendly, and with the convenient location it’s a good place to start your day. A couple of power sockets more wouldn’t hurt.
15. Coffee and Coconuts
While the trend is to open small and intimate coffee bars and lunch places, coffee and coconuts does the opposite. Located in an old theater building, it broke down most of the traditional floors and ceilings to make a spacious, block-like interior. The result is amazing, with many corners with bean bags to hide in with a cup of coffee and a laptop. The food is delicious and has great variety, although the portions are quite small. A must to check out at least once!