Brown bars are traditional Dutch bars that have been around for more than a couple of decades. They are comfortable places to spend time in, and hard to find if you do not know what sets one apart from a normal bar. You should visit a brown bar if you are on one of your private Amsterdam walking tours.
A brown bar should:
- Be no less than 25 years old. No one ‘starts’ a brown bar, it just becomes one over time.
- Have an aged bartender, or at least one that looks old.
- Have near-silent music playing in the background, or none at all.
- Have wood no matter which direction you look in – on the bar, the floor, the walls, and the tables.
- Have more than one regular.
- Serve no more than two beers directly from the tap.
- Serve snacks of the traditional Dutch kind, including leverworst and bitterballen.
The taste of the food they serve here is amazing. The decorations include posters on the thick walls, and a Wurlitzer jukebox. The bartenders keep changing, and the booze is good enough to get regulars to fall off barstools.
Cafe Slijterij Oosterling
Since 1877, The Oosterling, as many locals have come to think of it, has been a place for people to feel welcome, warm, and safe. It has a great interior, ancient-looking wooden barrels, a stone floor and a low counter. They say the last is as old as the Dutch East India Company.
A brown bar stretching back to 1624, this is also the oldest one in De Jordaan. It is old school, with an older lady for a bartender, low volume 90’s music, and a single beer on tap. This is where you would want to meet up with a friend and talk about anything and everything.
Café De Spuyt
Located in the Leidseplein area, this gem of an establishment is a traditional looking bar that serves more than a hundred different beers. It offers a warm atmosphere and a welcoming bar to sit and drink at. You do not see too many crowds here, and the people that do come are either tourists or students. If you are looking for conversation, this is an interesting place to be. The cheese platter is excellent as well.