Party-trailing every nook and corner of the United States of America (U.S.A) would take probably ten lifetimes to complete. Not to mention the very unhappy liver that would result from attempting such a feat. That is why we decided to select party spots from some of America’s most dynamic cities, don’t feel slighted if we left your city out, the damn country is just so massive. So get on the trail as we blaze through this country from coast to coast and gain some insight into how people get down in the U. S. of A……
Before the party begins…..
The Netherlands, located in Western Europe is the main constituent country of the Kingdom of The Netherlands, the others countries in the Kingdom are Aruba, Curaçao, and Sint Maarten. The Netherlands is bordered by the North Sea, Germany and Belgium. The country has 12 provinces and its capital is Amsterdam but the seat of the government is in Den Haag (The Hague). The Chief of State is King Willem-Alexander [Born 27 April, 1967. Hence, April 27th being King’s Day)].
Other useful facts…..
- Currency: Euro
- International Dial Code: +31
- Transpotation: Advanced Metro system, Bicycle, and Bus
- Busiest Airport: Amsterdam Airport Schipol (AMS)
- Food and Beverage: Expensive
- Room and Board: Expensive (esp. Amsterdam)
- Seasons: Winter, Autumn, Spring, Summer
Cities we traveled to…..
This city is definitely “THE” party powerhouse of the Netherlands. The Netherlands has lax drug laws so it is legal to smoke weed, eat hash, or space cakes as long as you are 18 years of age or older. However, in recent times, in an effort to combat “drug tourism”, some laws were re-written so that in some parts of the Netherlands (Amsterdam not included) you have to be a resident to legally possess and consume weed. Prostitution is also legal in Amsterdam (The red light district is where you would want to go if that is your scene).
Visiting the Netherlands without going to “Amsterdam” equates going to watch the Chicago bulls in the 90’s without Micheal Jordan on the team. Amsterdam is where it all happens in the Netherlands. There are tons of Nightclubs, Cafe’s, Coffee Shops (we mean weed and space cake shops) and restaurants that would guarantee a good time in this awesome city. It is also advisable to rent a bicycle while visiting Amsterdam. One of our partytrailers from Los Angeles (L.A.) said it was great to roll up to “Club Abe” (one of Amsterdam’s best nightclubs) on a bicycle and think nothing of it. This would not have been the case in his hometown of Los Angeles. Amsterdam has a ton of places where you can party but nowhere in the city is there a concentration of entertainment options like Leidseplein and Rembrandtplein.
This is a popular square in Amsterdam that can be accessed from the central station (Amsterdam Centraal) by trams 1, 2, or 5. There are trams from other parts of the city that also lead to Leidseplein (check the city tram resource for details).
Getting to Leidseplein is easy from anywhere within the city and there are locals always ready to help with directions.
As earlier stated, renting a bicycle to get around Amsterdam makes the experience so much more fun. A popular landmark close to Leidseplein is “Vondelpark” in Oud-West (that should be a good point of reference for you).
The first thing you will notice about Leidseplein are the numerous cafes and chairs that line the sidewalks.
They are also usually busy with tourists and locals alike enjoying the wide array of alcoholic beverages that are served by the bars and restaurants in the square.
We visited this cafe and were pleased to find out how much of a well run coffee-shop it was. Do take note: DO NOT OVER DO IT WITH THE SPACE-CAKES
. There have been several reports of tourists overdoing it because they ate more than they could handle.
Over-dosage on Space-cakes could lead to hallucinations, extreme paranoia and in some cases fainting. Space-cakes take about an hour or more to take effect and can have effects that last onward of five hours.
Even for the avid user, it is advisable to consume Space-cakes in moderation. A quarter of a Space cake or much less per hour might be a good idea. What we are saying basically is that you consume them “responsibly“. That being said, here are some “MUST VISIT” clubs in the general Leidseplein area:
Visiting the above listed clubs should guarantee you a good time in Leidseplein. Clubs are open till early the next morning, so you might want to be prepared for a long night/morning of partying before starting your night out.
Do keep in mind that some of the clubs are more fun than others on different nights. For instance we visited the Chicago Social Club on a Thursday night and it was great.
The guy to girl ratio was perfect and the DJ was awesome. On Friday night, we visited Club Air and it was an awesome experience too.
There was a guest list when we arrived, fortunately there was another line or queue for people not on the list.
We were asked to pay a cover of 20 Euros to get in after which we had to purchase a pre-paid card to be used for purchasing alcoholic beverages.
We filled our card with about 50 Euros and that was good enough for each person in our crew. Considering that we are not big drinkers, the prices of drinks made us realize in no time how an outing to Club Air can quickly turn into an expensive one.
Our verdict is that the price of alcohol is on par (expensive) with other North-American and Western-European cities. The rest of the night went smooth and we met tons of locals who were as fascinated with the fact that we were from Los Angeles as we were that they were from Amsterdam.
There were several rooms in Club Air and each room was packed full with a good ratio of guys and girls who were definitely down to get down and have some fun.
Rembrandtplein is the sister square to Leidseplien. In other words, it is the other big square in Amsterdam with a lot of mainstream entertainment.
To get to Rembrandtplein from “Amsterdam Centraal” (the central station in Amsterdam) simply climb on tram 9 and get off at the Rembrandtplein stop. There are also other trams leading to Rembrandtplein.(The city transportation website might be a useful resource)There are two landmarks or statues that would let you know you are in Rembrandtplein.
One is a statue of Rembrandt (a famous 15th century artist who once lived near the square). The other is a statue called “the night watch”. It’s a sculpture of one of Rembrandt’s famous paintings….
Okay, we know what you are thinking….enough of the history lessons. You are right! Time to get down to the good stuff.
From our observation, it seemed like there were more bars than clubs in the square itself (there are also side streets leading into the square that have bars, clothing stores, and coffee-shops).
There are two major clubs in Rembrandtplein and they are Escape and Rain (located at Rembrandtplein 44). Unfortunately, we did not get to visit every club so we cannot give you exact intelligence on what goes on at either establishment.
Word on the street though, is that Escape is filled with pre-dominantly vacationers and tourists.
So, if you are looking to interact with locals on your trip this might not be the spot to go. That being said, if you don’t care about the nationality of the people you party with, then Escape is definitely your best bet.
Rain from what we gathered is more of a “place to be seen” type of club. Another popular establishment in Rembrandtplein is Cafe & Club Smokey which has a coffee-shop/pool hall and dance venue just one venue apart. (The venue in between cafe smokey and club smokey is “Prime”).
Prime is more of a lounge that turns into a dance venue later on at night. We found Prime to be a good spot to go on Sundays. As for the Smokey’s establishment, one serves as a coffee-shop (think weed and space-cake), and doubles as a pool hall while the other (on the other side of prime) is a pub/dance venue.
We party-trailed it and while it is not a mega-club, it would be perfect for one of those nights when you just want to dance casually into the night without the routine that comes with the bigger clubs.
Our verdict is that Rembrandtplein is great for pre-gaming or post-gaming. For post-gaming, our favorite after-hours eatery is Wok to Walk. There are two more of these located across the city so be sure to give it a try if you like asian food in the after-hours.
Clubs to party at in Rembrandtplein.
As we stated earlier in this post, there are a ton of bars in Rembrandtplein, make sure you pop into one, they are a good way to get your night going and meet other travelers and locals.
Now on to the less mentioned neighborhoods in Amsterdam that have pockets of nightlife……The less popular neighborhoods in Amsterdam
In our earlier posts, much was said about the famous Leidseplein and Rembrandtplein. While those are the go-to entertainment districts in Amsterdam. There are other neighborhoods in the city that are worth visiting.
This is where a majority of museums in the Amsterdam can be found. The famous “iamsterdam” sign can also be found here. If you are into culture and want to know more about Dutch history, Van Gogh, Anne Frank, contemporary art and the like, you definitely want to visit museumplein.
This is the central square in Amsterdam. It has the palace of the Monarchy, the National monument, A huge protestant church and of course there are shops with lots of touristy goods and cafes where you can sit and relax after a long day of walking around the city.
This is more of an entire neighborhood and has both Leidseplein and Vondelpark in it. However in the Vondelpark area, especially, in and around overtoom street there are sprinklings or bars and cafes hidden in plain sight so you might want to check those out.
De Pijp translates to “the pipe” in english and is a neighborhood located to the south of the city center. It also has a sprinkling of bars and cafe’s that are not as concentrated as Leidseplein or Rembrandtplein but we believe they are worth checking out. De Pijp is also home to the “Albert Cuyp” Market which attracts a good deal of tourists. De Pijp is a also one of the most diverse neighborhoods in Amsterdam which a lot of Immigrant Dutch have chosen to call home. As a result of the diversity that has come to define De Pijp, it is one of the more interesting neighborhoods in Amsterdam. In De Pijp, you also want to take a look at Marie Heinekenplein which is a small square in the area that has some bars and cafes.
Well that concludes our party-trail of Amsterdam. Don’t get off the trail just yet. We are off to the Netherland’s best kept secret.
“The PartyTrail” visited Utrecht and we were left with the impression that the nightlife in Utrecht is the “best kept secret.” in the Netherlands. Utrecht, which is often overshadowed by Amsterdam was discovered by the Partytrail out of necessity.
We visited Amsterdam during peak season (June to October) and discovered all the hotels and hostels in Amsterdam were either too pricey or overbooked. During peak season in Amsterdam, accommodation becomes mercilessly expensive due to the sheer volume of tourists that come to visit the city. Finding ourselves in a jam due to Amsterdam’s high prices and overbooked hotels, we were advised by a local to use Utrecht as a springboard to Amsterdam.
Using Utrecht as a springboard to Amsterdam worked so well that we would recommend it to anyone else visiting Amsterdam during peak season. We were pleased to find out that not only did we save money by staying in Utrecht but that the city of Utrecht itself had a lot to offer.
Where Is Utrecht Located?
Utrecht is located in the central part of the Netherlands and is only 23 minutes by train from Amsterdam. Trains run all day and every day from Utrecht’s main station “Utrecht Centraal” (The trains do seem to shut down at 5am and start again at 6 am). Utrecht is also directly accessible by train from “Amsterdam Schipol” airport. To save some money on the train, we advise buying an OVIcard. This is a much cheaper option to buying a train ticket for each time you travel during your stay in the Netherlands. The Ovicard can also be used for buses and even bicycle rentals. (Note to rent a bicycle on the Ovicard you might have to go online and sign up for bicycle rental privileges).
Tip: Using the Ovicard to rent a bicycle would save you the hassle of depositing 100 to 200 Euros at a hotel or private bike rental shop. (Keep in mind that you will still have to fork over 12 to 20 Euros for daily rental of the bike at a hotel or bike rental shop). Renting a bike with the Ovicard costs about 3.50 Euros and the last time we checked and there is no deposit involved.
So let’s imagine you follow our advice and decide to use Utrecht as a launching pad for all your partying in Amsterdam. Here are some interesting facts about this quaint city that would make your stay here more enjoyable.
A Little About Utrecht
Utrecht is a canal city and just like Amsterdam bike culture prevails here. Pubs, clubs, shops and eateries are concentrated around the city-center making everything within reach. Other than using bicycles, locals can also get around with the tram, buses and by taxi. Utrecht is quaint and beautiful, to top the icing on the cake, we found the people here to be friendly and welcoming. It is also a multicultural city as evident by the large mosque just outside the central station. A lot of Dutch citizens of North-African ancestry have chosen Utrecht as a place to call home.
Most nights of the week are good to dine out or have a couple of drinks at one of the many cafés or pubs in the city. However, in Utrecht, the nightlife really goes into full gear between Thursday evening and the early hours of Sunday morning.
Nightlife In Utrecht
The party revelers in Utrecht comprise not only of professionals and locals who work in the city but also of students who attend some of the city’s universities. Utrecht also moonshines as a college town so there are always a bunch of college kids looking to wind down after a stressful week of attending classes.
The University of Utrecht is said to be one of the most prestigious institutions of higher learning in all of the Netherlands which leads us to assume that it serves up a decent amount of young guys and girls that add to the city’s vibrant nightlife.
Some Of Utrecht’s Nightlife Venues
Address: Helling 7, 3523 CB Utrecht, Netherlands
Type of Establishment: Nightclub, Dance Venue, Concert Hall
Opens: Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.
Closest landmark: Utrecht Centraal
Age of patrons: 18 to 25
Price: $$ to $$$
Tivoli is more of an entertainment complex located in a newly constructed building not too far from Utrecht centraal. Tivoli is actually not the name of a club but it is more of a concert venue that holds different events on different nights of the week.
We partied at Tivoli on a Friday night and there was a DJ from Los Angeles (shout out L.A.!!!!!!) spinning his tunes. He was quite remarkable to say the least and with further inquiry we were led to understand that on most nights at Tivoli, patrons are treated to tunes from DJ’s of his caliber.
He was able to keep an up-tempo atmosphere going in the club till the early hours of Saturday and the pleased crowd seemed to not be able to get enough of him. The crowd was comprised mostly of college students which gave the party a good jolt of energy. We were lucky enough to make some friends from Utrecht that night. An after-party would result because of this.
As for the alcoholic beverages, our verdict is that they were a bit on the expensive side. A cup of beer cost around three Euros and a cocktail of rum and coke cost about the five to seven Euros.
Since most of the cocktails at the bar seemed to hover around this price. There was no need for bottle service as the crowd of partiers just got drinks from the bar. The only negative we noticed about the night was that the guy-to-girl ratio favored the girls. If this is a common occurrence at Tivoli then getting lucky here for a guy would take some effort.
Things started to pick up at the club after midnight and ran till 5 a.m. in the morning. If you are used to starting your party early it might be a good idea to pre-game at one of the city’s many café’s or pubs before hitting this venue. Also according to some nightlife intelligence gathered from locals the best nights to visit this venue are either Friday or Saturday night.
Now that you have the intel on Tivoli, it might be time to look at other venues in this quaint little city.
Address: Oudegracht 196, 3511 NR Utrecht, Netherlands
Type of Establishment: Pub/Cafe
Closest landmark: Utrecht Centraal
Age of patrons: 18 and up
This pub/café seemed to be really popular among the locals. It is a Belgian themed cafe which has an array of beers and lagers from Belgium. Other standard cocktails and beverages are also available on request from the bar. There are seats both inside and outside the café but it seems like they fill up quick in the evenings and on the weekends. Food is also served here upon request. In all, what we found was that Kafé Belgie has a “homey” atmosphere about it. We encourage you to try the different types of beers and lagers they offer and it is a great place to begin your evening before starting out a potentially eventful night out in the city.
Other Nightlife Venues Of Note In Utrecht.
Address: Oudkerkhof 29, 3512 GJ Utrecht, Netherlands
Type of establishment:Restaurant (day)/ Latin Club (Night)
Opens: Tues (4pm – 12 am), Wed ( 4pm – 1 am), Th,Fr,Sat (4pm – 4 am)
Age of Patrons: 18-30
Price: $$ – $$$
Havana for the most part is a restaurant by day and Club by night. We did not get to party-trail this club but word is that the bouncers here can be a little bit of a “pain in the a**”. Especially if you are not a native dutch speaker. We tend never to party based on here-say so we would suggest you visit the bar anyway. Other than the minor inconvenience of the over-zealous bouncers, we heard Havana has a reputation for great food and great latin music. So if you are into the latin dance scene, this is your best bet in Utrecht.
Other venues worth mentioning
Address: Bemuurde Weerd Westzijde 3, 3513 BH Utrecht, Netherlands
Type of establishment: Club, Event hall
Opens: Tues (4pm – 12 am), Wed ( 4pm – 1 am), Th,Fr,Sat (4pm – 4 am)
Age of Patrons: 18-30
Price: $$ – $$$
Address: Oudegracht aan de Werf 97, 3511 AL Utrecht, Netherlands
Type of establishment: Club
Opens: Tues (4pm – 12 am), Wed ( 4pm – 1 am), Th,Fr,Sat (4pm – 4 am)
Age of Patrons: 18-30
Price: $$ – $$$
Now that we have given you a snapshot of the nightlife in Utrecht, make sure you also soak in some culture. The city is very unique in its heritage. It has been in existence since the time of the Romans. We recommend you take some time to look around the many churches in the city, the galleries, and museums and while you are at it support the local economy by picking up an item or two at the numerous shops that are open for business throughout the city.
When The Partytrail visited Rotterdam for the first time the two words that came to mind were “post-modern” and “artistic”.
When in Rotterdam, one cannot help but feel like they are walking through a “museum of contemporary art”.
This is in stark contrast with Amsterdam (Rotterdam’s more famous sibling city) which is renowned for its canals, cobbled streets, and antique architecture.
Rotterdam got its post-modern renaissance due to the fact that it was ruthlessly bombed by the “Luftwaffe” (Germany’s air force) during the Second World War.
The city subsequently got blitzed again by allied forces trying to drive out the Germans at the turn of the war. As a result, Rotterdam was left in almost complete ruin.
For you history buffs “Bombs Away!: The World War II Bombing Campaigns Over Europe by John R Brunin” might be a good resource, the result of this was that Rotterdam along with other cities that had been decimated during the war had to be re-built from scratch.
From our observation, it seemed like the Dutch saw this as an opportunity for a renewal of the city and decided to throw up some of the most “trippy, artistic, and post-modern” buildings we have to yet to come across in all the European cities we have traveled to thus far.
Rotterdam is also one of the largest commercial ports in the world, due to it’s strategic location and access to the North sea.
It is often referred to as “the gateway to Europe”. It’s identity as a port city also adds to the outer-worldly feel that can be used to describe Rotterdam.
Just like Amsterdam, there is a lot of nightlife, bars, café’s, restaurant’s and Coffee-shops to choose from. While bike culture is also a staple here, we would postulate that this city had more automobile use than the other cities we visited in the Netherlands.
For all the nightlife options that we were presented while traveling through Rotterdam, one street in particular seemed uniquely and strategically placed to ensure a visitor to the city had a good time.
In “Partying in the Netherlands (VIII)” we will give you all the info we got from our experience hanging out on this street so stay tuned…….
Witte De Withstraat
We had the privilege of visiting “Witte de withstraat” for about a week and it seemed like the place to be if you live in or are visiting Rotterdam.
We stayed at the “King Kong” hostel also located on Witte de Withstraat and it was a wonderful experience.
(The Partytrail recommends you stay in Hostels while traveling, it’s a fun and inexpensive way of lodging while traveling and as a plus you get to meet other travelers to explore the city with).
We decided to visit Rotterdam on a whim, thus arriving at Rotterdam Centraal (the main train station in Rotterdam) only to realize at the station that we had no accommodations booked in the city.
A quick google search of “Rotterdam + Hostel” served up a bunch of links, fortunately King Kong hostel caught our eye amongst google’s returned search results. We hailed a cab at the train station and decided to give the place a try.
Travel Tip: Rotterdam centraal is a 15 to 20 minute walk from Witte De Withsraat. We would later realize this only after coughing up about 20 Euros for a cab. (What a waste of good beer money!!!). To avoid making this mistake, take a bus, tram or simply use the pedestrian feature on google maps to find your way by foot.
Making things worse was the fact that customer service seemed a foreign concept to our cab driver.
On approaching Witte de Withstraat he hastily dropped us off at a construction site close to the King Kong hostel and in an aloof manner he uttered the word “go” waving his hand towards the street as he plucked our bags out of his trunk and dropped them off on the side of the road.
Shrugging this weird interaction between driver and passenger off, we decided to proceed towards Witte de Withstraat and check into our hostel.
Bags in hand and still a little irked by the cab driver, it would not take long before we were distracted by some signs hanging in the street on Witte de Withstraat. The signs read “Zwart”, “Witte”, and “Cool”. Partytrail is yet to decipher the symbolism behind why the signs were hung up on the street but we would later find out that they translate to “Black”, “White” and our guess is “Cool” in English.
One thing that was consistent with Rotterdam during our stay in the city is that it has an artsy feel to it that seems to permeate most of the city and Witte De Withstraat was not exempt.
While walking from the construction site to the hostel we would find that there were bars, restaurants, and café’s on both sides of Witte de Withstraat and it immediately became obvious that our stay here was going to be fun.
We checked in, by now, it was evening and we decided it was best to take a nap before heading out to explore Witte de Withstraat. Before doing so, we decided to ask the receptionist at the hostel some questions about our new surroundings.
Dante: “Hi! Miss, do you know good places to party on Mondays in Rotterdam”?
Lady: “Of course, there are tons bars on this street (Witte de Withstraat) but since it’s Monday everyone goes to the Irish Bar on Rodezand. It’s called Paddy Murphy’s Irish Pub.”.
Dante: “When you say everyone you mean locals”?
Lady: “Uhm, Yeah!!”
Dante: “Awesome!! We were looking to have an authentic Dutch experience (We would later on ponder why we thought an Irish bar was the right destination for “an authentic Dutch experience”).”
Lady: “Well you and your friends can come to the reception at 9pm. Some people from the hostel should be heading out there after visiting some pubs on “Witte de Withstraat”.”
True to her earlier assertion, at 9 pm, there was a small crowd gathered in the lobby of the hostel and we headed to our first bar next door to the hostel. The first bar we headed to was…
Café De Witte Aap
Witte de Withstraat 78, 3012 BS Rotterdam, Netherlands
+31 10 414 9565
We had some drinks at the pub and we were quite impressed with it. They were actually the recipient of the “2009 best bar in Rotterdam award”. After hitting up a couple more bars close by, we decided to head to the Irish pub across the highway.
It was there that we got to meet a lot of locals and in fact one of the hostelers in our group met a beautiful local Dutch girl with whom he would spend most of the night dancing…
In Partying in the Netherlands (IX) we’ll let you in on what happened at Paddy Murphy’s and give you some more info on bars, restaurants and cafe’s on Witte de Withstraat…….
ROTTERDAM~ Paddy Murphy’s Irish Pub
We were finally able to leave Witte de withstraat and it’s many bars for the Irish bar on Rodezand. Our crew included a New Zealander, a guy from Ireland and a girl from our hostel we had just met on her gap year from Australia. On arriving at Paddy Murphys, we downed some jager bombs (The drinks at the bar were surprisingly affordable at least more affordable than bars we party-trailed in Amsterdam) and hit the dance floor hard. There was a live band playing hit songs from the 80’s and 90’s and the receptionist from the hostel was not kidding when she said “Paddy Murphy’s is where all the locals go to party on Mondays”. We were surprised with how packed it was for a Monday and how engaged the crowd was with the band playing. Another surprising aspect to this bar was the fact that some people in the pub were playing bingo while singing along with the live band. (The band itself was pretty awesome!!!). We hadn’t settled in for too long when someone from our group spotted two exceedingly attractive Dutch ladies, one of our hostel mates summoned up the courage to go talk to them and headed over nervously to talk to the two. We sat back and anticipated a rejection from the ladies only for us to see the trio smiling while they were making small talk. He brought them over and we would all end up dancing to the country music now playing and downing more jager bombs in between. Our hostel mate and one of the Dutch girls would soon disappear, we would later on find them locking lips outside the bar.
The sight of them locking lips confirmed any prior doubts we had about whether or not an Irish bar in Rotterdam is the place where one should look for an “authentic Dutch experience”.
He got lucky that night and was carted away on the back of the Dutch girl’s bicycle for an after-party. The remaining members of our group drank more lagers from the bar, mingled with some other locals and after a fun night decided to head back to our hostel on Witte de Withstraat.
Once back at Witte de Withstraat, we stepped into one of the kebab shops on the street and ordered some food. This was around 6 am in the morning, (one great thing you will find about Witte de Withstraat is that there are lots of post-game eateries where you can stop by for food to help your anticipated hang over).
Before we continue with our experiences in Rotterdam, please find a list of bars, pubs, restaurants and clubs in the Witte de Withstraat area that are noteworthy.
Witte de Withstraat 63
3012 BN Rotterdam
Witte de Withstraat 16
+31 010 2065151
Witte de Withstraat 70
3012 BS Rotterdam,
Witte de Withstraat 63, 3012 BN
Witte de Withstraat 51
3012 BM Rotterdam,
Witte de Withstraat 94B,
As you can see most of the bars here are listed on the same street (Witte de Withstraat), there are still many more entertainment establishments you can simply check out by taking a curious stroll through the street. Happy discovering…
In our final entry Partying in the Netherlands (X), we relay our experiences in Rotterdam for the remainder of the week so please stay tuned….