In Amsterdam in summer, there is no delight greater than having a drink, lunch or dinner while with a view on the water. Especially on warm, sunny days, the water has a refreshing and calming effect. You can watch the many boats go by while sipping on a cocktail or munch on some traditional Dutch bitterballs. The days last long in The Netherlands in summer, so you can spend long evenings along a waterside terrace in Amsterdam, soaking in the last of rays and watching the sunset. Many bars and restaurants offer views on the canals, but it’s not that easy to find a space on a terrace that sits along the canal. Here are 10 of the best.
1. De Waterkant
De Waterkant means The Waterside in Dutch and this is the perfect name for this bar, as it lies peacefully along the broad Singelgracht Canal. It’s across the street from the Jordaan Quarter and walking distance from Leidseplein square.
The bar is inspired by Surinam, a former Dutch colony in South-America, so there are lots of good Surinam-inspired small bites to eat. They also serve Parbo, the local beer from Surinam.
De Waterkant looks out onto the south-westside, so this is one to catch the last rays. Probably the reason why this bar is popular hangout and it can get pretty busy in the evenings, especially weekends. Luckily De Waterkant has a big outside terrace. And when it is too busy, you can always sit on the ground and dangle your feet from the dock.
From the roadside, (it is on Marnixstraat, not far from Leidseplein), it’s rather difficult to spot this canalside bar, but you can just follow the huge Q-Park indoor parking.
De Waterkant, Marnixstraat 246. See image above.
2. Café De Jaren
Café De Jaren (‘The Years’) is well known among the locals. De Jaren is a classic, bright and airy grand-cafe bar. It has an intellectual style (lots of magazines and newspapers to read). In the back, there are two wonderful patios on two levels. Both look out on the water.
De Jaren is an easy café to miss when you are a tourist because the terraces are located on the backside. It is located in the old historical center of the city, in a beautiful street that has some exceptional 17th-century houses. Café De Jaren great waterside terrace, an international menu, and good service.
Café De Jaren, Nieuwe Doelenstraat 20-22
3. Waterside terraces along the Amstel: Amstelhaven
The eastern side of the Amstel rivers has become a popular spot to soak up the sunshine, enjoy drinks and food and even go swimming in Amsterdam. But you will have to cycle (or walk) a little bit down the river to get to the better places.
The first waterside terrace along the river is the fancy Amstelhaven. It neighbours the classic styled Amstel Hotel (go down the stairs to get to the bar), so clientele can be a bit on the pretentious side. The terrace of Amstelhaven is on wooden docks. You have a boat? You can moor it here. The water restaurant only serves a small menu of salads and burgers.
4. Waterside bars and restaurants along the Amstel
If you have the time and want to spend some time at some of Amsterdam’s best waterside bars, go further along the river. This street is called Weesperzijde. The first option is Ysbreeker at Weesperzijde 23. Ysbreeker is frequented by an artistic elite like journalists and artists. In the old days, intellectual radio and television shows were broadcasted from the bars. Especially the waterside terrace fills up very quickly.
Further along the Amstel, you will find Hesp, a classic Dutch brown bar with a long history, and a great waterside terrace along the Amstel river. Pub-style food and easy-going atmosphere. Hesp is located at Weesperzijde 130.
Next door, Weesperzijde 135, is Bam Boa. This bar and restaurant has an excellent outside terrace right next to the river. The place has a sort of Ibiza vibe and is great for evening cocktails. It cold evenings, the terrace is heated.
5. Spanjer and Van Twist
The terrace of Spanje and Van Twist is located a little below street level along a small canal. This waterside reastaurant is near the Anne Frank House in the Amsterdam Jordaan. There used to be a small sluice here. It was used to rinse the canal water by creating a flow of water. This gives you the chance to be really close to the water. Spanjer and Van Twist is really nice restaurant with great food, great service and not very expensive. Popular.
Spanjer & Van Twist, Leliegracht 60.
6. Het Mandelahuisje
The Mandelahuisje is a real hidden gem. It is located in Amsterdam Noord and has a beautiful large terrace along the IJ water. Central Station is right across the water. You can spend hours in their cozy beach chairs, watching ferries, cargo ships and cruise boats going by while you sip on their biological Spanish house wine, munch on some soup, cake, pizza or simple dish.
Het Mandelahuisje is not just a hotel and bar with a great waterside terrace, it has a philosophy, stemming from Nelson Mandela’s ubuntu-philosophy: interconnectedness is celebrated, restored and nurtured. You can also jump into the water.
The place is easy to walk by foot from either one of the free ferries to Amsterdam Noord.
Het Mandelahuisje, Sixhavenweg 27
7. Meneer Nieges
Meneer Nieges is the latest hipster hotspot of Amsterdam. And they have a great terrace. Apart from a not-too-complicated menu, they offer a great hangout, food at all times of the day and fun activities like open-air cinema nights and dancing. For a younger crowd.
Meneer Nieges, Westerdoksdijk 40
8. Lokaal van de Stad
Amsterdam has more water than the canals, the IJ and the Amstel river. Try out this great place in Amsterdam’s south-western side: Lokaal van de Stad. A charming place to meet locals. It has a waterside terrace on the southwest along as small lake, so you can even watch the sun set. With a great menu.
Lokaal van de stad, Heemstedestraat 68
9. Fish restaurant Stork
Wat better to eat in a waterside restaurant in Amsterdam but fish? You can at Stork. The restaurant is in Amsterdam Noord along the IJ water. The fish restaurant is located in an extraordinary large industrial space. It can seat up to 150 people in the restaurant area and 100 in the bar area. It has a open kitchen and a lot of windows, you can even enjoy the watery views in winter while eating indoors.
Stork, Gedempt Hamerkanaal 201.
Edel is located in Amsterdam West, at the end of the Kinkerstraat. The building is interesting, made in the Amsterdam School style architecture. It used to be a school for the art of jewelry making. Especially on Friday for after-work drinks, this bar is hugely popular with a young crowd. Their terrace is huge and hugs two canals.
Edel, Postjesweg 1