Many of Amsterdam’s 1200+ bars and cafés are known as so-called ‘Brown Cafés.’ This is in reference to their dark but cozy interiors: woody surroundings framed by nicotine-stained walls and ceilings. Even some of the newer pubs are carefully decorated in this – “we’re older than other cafés” – style.
Amsterdammers see their local bar (‘kroeg‘ in colloquial Dutch) as an extension – or sometimes even replacement – of their own living room. Whether you read the newspapers over your daily cup of coffee, meet a friend for lunch or a quick bite, or imbibe a few beers after work, for many people their favorite bar inevitably becomes a home away from home.
The best way to find a brown café is to simply walk around and pop into the nearest place that looks like it would fit the description.
Some personal favorites, in no particular order, include:
Café van Daele
Café De Tuin
Café De Prins
Irish Pub The Tara (well, yes, technically an Irish pub, but brown as brown can be).
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