Amsterdam has some great small bars where you enter for free and or a small fee to listen to live music. Singer-songwriters, jazz, pop, folk or even classical music. You just have to know where to go.
Updated February 2013
Around Central Station
Dinner and live music
Crazy Monday, they call it, and it means they offer dinner while singer-songwriters perform for you for just €6 euros.
Every second Saturday of the month the name is ‘Soul Foolish’ with soothing sounds system dj’s.
Every first Thursday of the month, a jazz trio will be entertaining the guest.
Check it out at Dwaze Zaken (‘Foolish Affairs’). (FREE)
Big bands and Jazz
Long timer Casablanca Café at the Red Light District is always packed for its jazz and big bands programming. Afterwards is dancing and karaoke. (FREE)
Open stage on board
Free classical music
You can listen to classical music, jazz and opera for free on an almost daily basis at the Conservatory of Amsterdam. The Dutch academy of music has recently moved to a brand new building, located at the Oosterdokseiland, near the Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ and the public library, just east of central station.
Events calender is found at Amsterdams Uitburo. (FREE)
Live music in old warehouse
Wilhelmina Pakhuis is located a bit further from the centre along the waterfront of the IJ, eastwards. It’s near club Panama. But a visit is well worth the hassle. Live music every night in this small cafe with an underground set up and some odd visitors.
Entrance €5 or €6. Check programming at: www.cafepakhuiswilhelmina.nl
Open Stage and food
Open stage and a ‘dish of the day’ at Cantina Vocaal. You can be surprised at this bar as the styles are very diverse: pop music, classical, chansons, opera, jazz, blues and Dutch songs. Draws mainly a Dutch crowd. €5
Jazz Café Alto
A hidden bar off Leidseplein hosts live jazz every night. The small stage in a dark and intimate venue attracts an international crowd and many big names played here.
Every Tuesday Jazz Café Alto serves up some juicy Latin Jazz with the local Amterdam Conjunto, Wednesday Dutch jazz phenomenon Hans Dulfer takes the stage and on Sundays Saskia Laroo, famous Amsterdam trumpet player, plays a tune.
Music starts at 22.00 till 3 AM, weekends till 4.00. (FREE, except Wednesday)
Allegedly Bruce Springsteen, Joss Stone and The Rolling Stone came round in this late night bar near the aforementioned Café Alto.Live music every night of the week and interesting mix of late night musicians, tourists and local crowd hangs around here.
Weekends open till 5 am, which makes Bourbon Street the only bar still open during those morning hours. (come early for free entrance)
New stage for singer-songwriters
Sugar Factory, the club, has started a new stage for youngsters with talent.
Sugar Factory, €7
Blues at Maloe Melo
Maloe Melo calls itself Home of the blues, although they often host bands that play rock ‘n roll, ska, punk and country music as well.
The club has a bit of an obscure atmosphere, with worn out faces of local regulars hanging around in the bar area and dusty musicians jamming away in the stage room in the back. Just what you expect of a blues bar.
Starts 22.30 Open till late. At Lijnbaansgracht 163. €5
Live rock at the Last Waterhole
The Last Waterhole used to be located in the red light district, where it was a dark, raunchy rock bar with extremely loud guitar music and jam sessions with lots of young tourists. Now it is located at Leidseplein.
The rock attitude hasn’t changed and it still attracts mostly tourists, but the sound system has undergone drastic changes for the better.
Live music every week night and pool tables. (FREE)
Food and jazz
Every Monday night you can check out live jazz sessions at Nel, from 20.oo till 24.00. A jazz bite costs € 10,-. (FREE)
In the neighbourhood of the Pijp
In the area of the Pijp, CC Muziekcafé brings you live music every day of the week. You will find a friendly bar atmosphere that makes you feel right at home.
Everyone is welcome on stage to contribute to the relaxed atmosphere. (FREE)
NDSM – Amsterdam North
Bands outside on terrace