When the sun sets and the city lights of Amsterdam begin to shimmer on the canals, there’s an electric buzz that fills the air, promising unforgettable nights. This city, known for its artistic heritage, elaborate canal system, and narrow houses with gabled facades, holds a secret nightlife that’s as diverse as its history.

For the urban explorer, the night is not just a time to rest but a canvas of opportunities, a chance to dive into the vibrant, eclectic mix that makes Amsterdam’s club scene one of a kind. From underground techno basements to majestic church venues, this guide is your insider’s passport to the coolest, trendiest spots in the city.

Packed with practical tips and sprinkled with a bit of local know-how, we’re about to embark on a journey through Amsterdam’s 12 must-visit clubs. Whether you’re a night owl, a music aficionado, or simply in it for the vibe, get ready to explore the heart of Amsterdam’s nightlife. Let’s dance through the unique, the iconic, and the unabashedly fun venues that define the night in this unparalleled city.

1. Supperclub

Overview: In a city celebrated for its dynamic nightlife and culinary experiences, The Supperclub offers an unrivaled fusion of both. Located in the heart of Amsterdam, this venue isn’t just about dining; it’s an immersive experience that combines innovative cuisine, performance art, and music into a feast for the senses.

What Makes It Unique: What sets The Supperclub apart is its commitment to the unexpected. Guests are invited to dine on beds instead of traditional seating, offering a relaxed yet engaging environment. Throughout the evening, a variety of performances unfold around the diners, ranging from avant-garde dance to live music, making each visit a unique adventure. After dinner, the space transforms into a vibrant club where the energy ramps up, and the night takes on a life of its own.

Supperclub - Cool clubs in Amsterdam
Supperclub, Amsterdam

Practical Tips: Reservations for The Supperclub are highly recommended, as this popular experience tends to book up quickly. When planning your visit, keep an open mind and be ready for anything; the night’s theme can range from the extravagant to the surreal. Dressing up is encouraged, aligning with the evening’s theme or simply showcasing your personal style adds to the immersive experience.

Navigating The Supperclub

  • Dining Experience: Embrace the unconventional dining setup and be prepared for a menu that’s as creative and varied as the performances. Dietary preferences can usually be accommodated with advance notice.
  • Transition to Club: Post-dinner, the venue transitions into a full-blown nightclub. Stick around to enjoy a variety of DJ sets and music genres, perfect for working off the evening’s indulgences on the dance floor.

2. Paradiso

Overview: What was once a reverent congregation’s church has transformed into one of Amsterdam’s most sacred music temples. Paradiso, located near the bustling Leidseplein, is an iconic venue that has welcomed everyone from Pink Floyd to Lady Gaga, serving as a musical mecca for over half a century.

What Makes It Unique: The beauty of Paradiso lies not just in its stained glass windows or the majestic balcony arches but in its incredible acoustics and intimate atmosphere, no matter the scale of the event. It’s a place where the barrier between artist and audience feels remarkably thin, creating unforgettable live music experiences. The venue’s lineup is a kaleidoscope of genres, offering everything from rock and indie to electronic and hip-hop, making every visit a unique discovery.

Paradiso - Cool clubs in Amsterdam
Paradiso, Amsterdam

Practical Tips: Tickets for shows at Paradiso can sell out fast, especially for big names, so snagging them early is wise. While the venue itself is a must-see, don’t miss the chance to explore the surrounding area of Leidseplein, teeming with late-night eateries and bars for pre or post-concert gatherings. The club operates a cloakroom, so you can dance and jump without baggage literally hanging off your shoulders.

Navigating Paradiso

  • Membership Requirement: Paradiso operates with a membership system, but fear not—this can often be included in the ticket price for a nominal fee, granting you access to a world of musical enchantment.
  • Arrival Tips: Given its central location, Paradiso is easily reachable by tram or bike, Amsterdam’s preferred modes of transport. Arriving a bit early can help you avoid long lines and secure a good spot, especially for sold-out shows.

3. Melkweg

Overview: A stone’s throw away from Paradiso, Melkweg (The Milky Way) offers its own universe of cultural and musical exploration. Originating as a dairy factory, this multi-room venue now hosts an eclectic mix of concerts, club nights, cinema screenings, and art exhibitions, making it a cornerstone of Amsterdam’s cultural scene.

What Makes It Unique: Melkweg’s charm lies in its ability to offer something for everyone. Whether you’re there for an indie band, a hip-hop act, or a techno DJ, the venue ensures a close-up experience with your favorites. Its programming is diverse, featuring rising stars and established names, and the multiple spaces within mean you can often choose between different vibes on the same night.

Melkweg, Amsterdam

Practical Tips: Like Paradiso, Melkweg also operates on a membership model, but this is typically included in the ticket price for ease. Checking out the lineup in advance and booking tickets online is recommended, as events can sell out quickly. Don’t forget to explore the Lijnbaansgracht canal area around the venue, perfect for a serene stroll to end the night.

Navigating Melkweg

  • Best Spots for Shows: The venue has several spaces, from the intimate Oude Zaal (Old Hall) to the larger Max, each offering a different experience. Depending on the show, arriving early can help you get a spot close to the stage or a comfortable balcony view in the Max.
  • Late-Night Snacks: The area around Melkweg is ripe with options for post-gig cravings. From classic Dutch fries to international cuisine, you won’t have to venture far to find a satisfying end to your night.

4. Shelter

Overview: Tucked away beneath the A’DAM Tower’s looming presence, just a swift ferry ride across the IJ River from Central Station, Shelter offers an underground haven for techno enthusiasts. Its location is as symbolic as it is practical, representing a threshold between the mainstream and the underground, a literal and figurative journey into the depths of Amsterdam’s nightlife.

What Makes It Unique: Shelter’s commitment to quality sound and an immersive experience is unparalleled. With a state-of-the-art sound system that reverberates through the body, the club is a pilgrimage site for those who worship at the altar of techno. The minimalist design, accentuated by the club’s meticulous attention to lighting, sets the perfect stage for losing yourself in the music.

Shelter - Cool clubs in Amsterdam
Shelter, Amsterdam

Practical Tips: The club’s somewhat secluded location makes it a journey worth planning. The free ferry service from Central Station to the A’DAM Tower is not only convenient but offers stunning nighttime views of the IJ River, setting the mood for the night ahead. Shelter operates with a no-photo policy, encouraging a fully present experience and a chance to disconnect from the digital world.

Navigating Shelter

  • Door Policy: Shelter is known for its inclusive but selective door policy, aiming to cultivate a safe and respectful atmosphere. Being polite and patient with the door staff is key.
  • After Hours: As one of the few clubs in Amsterdam with a 24-hour license, Shelter often hosts after-parties that stretch well into the morning, perfect for night owls and early birds alike.

5. Club NYX

Overview: A vibrant splash on the canvas of Amsterdam’s nightlife, Club NYX is a three-story venue in the Reguliersdwarsstraat area, the heart of the city’s LGBTQ+ scene. Named after the Greek goddess of the night, NYX embodies a space where freedom and self-expression are not just welcomed but celebrated.

What Makes It Unique: Club NYX’s atmosphere is a kaleidoscope of diversity, reflecting the city’s inclusive spirit. Each floor offers a different musical flavor, from pop anthems on the ground floor to deep house and techno in the basement. The club’s decor, featuring eclectic art and unexpected installations (including a urinal DJ booth), underscores its playful, anything-goes vibe.

Club NYX, Amsterdam
Club NYX, Amsterdam

Practical Tips: Dress to express is the unofficial motto here; NYX encourages its patrons to embrace their individuality. The club is known for its themed nights and special events, so checking the schedule in advance and dressing accordingly can add an extra layer of fun to the experience. The venue is centrally located, making it easily accessible by tram, bike, or foot from most parts of the city.

Navigating Club NYX

  • Best Nights to Go: While weekends are a safe bet for a high-energy crowd, weekday nights often host unique events and themed parties worth exploring.
  • Safety and Inclusivity: NYX prides itself on being a safe space for everyone. Respectful behavior is paramount, and the club has a zero-tolerance policy towards harassment, ensuring a night of fun and freedom.

6. AIR Amsterdam

Overview: Nestled in the vibrant heart of Amsterdam’s Rembrandtplein, AIR Amsterdam has carved out its niche as a hotspot for electronic dance music enthusiasts. With its stylish, futuristic interior and commitment to sustainability, AIR redefines the clubbing experience with a blend of high-tech ambiance and eco-consciousness.

What Makes It Unique: What sets AIR apart is its innovative approach to club design and guest comfort. The club boasts state-of-the-art sound systems and an impressive LED wall that creates an immersive visual experience. Its floor plan is thoughtfully designed to enhance the flow of movement, ensuring that whether you’re in the main dance area or chilling in one of the lounge spaces, you’re in for a night of unparalleled entertainment. AIR’s commitment to sustainability is seen in its use of durable materials and efforts to minimize its ecological footprint, making it a pioneer in eco-friendly nightlife.

Practical Tips: Purchasing tickets in advance is highly recommended, as AIR hosts some of the most sought-after events in the city, featuring both local talents and international DJs. The club offers a unique electronic locker system, allowing guests to safely store their belongings and recharge their phones, so you’re ready to capture the night’s best moments or simply stay connected.

Navigating AIR Amsterdam

  • Dress Code: AIR encourages a smart casual dress code, blending comfort with a touch of flair to match the club’s modern aesthetic.
  • VIP Experience: For those looking to elevate their night, AIR offers VIP tables with exclusive bottle service, providing a more intimate and luxurious clubbing experience.

7. Warehouse Elementenstraat

Overview: Tucked away in the industrial outskirts of Amsterdam, Warehouse Elementenstraat holds a storied place in the city’s techno scene. This legendary venue, with its raw, unpolished aesthetic, channels the spirit of the underground raves of the 90s, offering a no-frills space where the music takes center stage.

What Makes It Unique: Warehouse Elementenstraat’s authenticity lies in its simplicity and historical significance. The venue has retained its industrial charm, with high ceilings, concrete floors, and minimalistic lighting, creating an atmosphere that’s all about the communal experience of music. It’s a pilgrimage site for techno purists, renowned for hosting marathon sets from some of the genre’s most respected figures.

Practical Tips: The club’s location, while contributing to its underground vibe, means planning your visit is essential. Public transport options are limited late at night, so consider ride-sharing or biking. The venue is known for its long events, often running till dawn or later, so prepare for a marathon rather than a sprint. Comfortable attire is a must, as the focus here is purely on the music and dance.

Navigating Warehouse Elementenstraat

  • Getting There: Check the latest transport schedules or arrange a ride. The journey is part of the adventure, leading you to one of Amsterdam’s most authentic club experiences.
  • Event Schedule: Keep an eye on the club’s social media for event announcements and ticket releases. Warehouse Elementenstraat’s events are high in demand and often sell out quickly.

8. RADION Amsterdam

Overview: Tucked in the evolving urban landscape of Amsterdam’s Nieuw-West district, RADION Amsterdam is a beacon of cultural and electronic music innovation. This multi-purpose space, housed in a former dental clinic, has morphed into one of the city’s most dynamic venues, offering a blend of club nights, art exhibitions, and community events.

What Makes It Unique: RADION’s charm lies in its ability to seamlessly integrate the cutting-edge of electronic music with a broad spectrum of cultural activities. Its programming is as diverse as its audience, spanning underground techno parties, live performances, and even avant-garde art shows. The venue’s commitment to cultural enrichment makes it more than just a club; it’s a space where the arts converge in celebration.

RADION - Cool clubs in Amsterdam
RADION Amsterdam

Practical Tips: Due to its location away from the city center, planning your trip to RADION is advisable. Public transport does service the area, but check schedules as they can be less frequent at night. The club’s atmosphere is welcoming and unpretentious, so feel free to dress comfortably. Keep an eye on their calendar for not-to-miss events that often feature local talent and international acts.

Navigating RADION Amsterdam

  • Late Night Transport: Consider biking for a true Amsterdam experience, or use ride-sharing apps to navigate back after a night of dancing.
  • Cultural Events: Take advantage of RADION’s diverse programming by attending one of their daytime cultural events or art exhibitions, offering a different perspective on the venue’s community role.

9. The Waterhole

Overview: In the heart of Amsterdam’s bustling nightlife district, The Waterhole stands out as a live music bar offering a cozy, laid-back atmosphere that contrasts with the city’s larger club venues. Known for its nightly live music, ranging from rock and pop to indie, The Waterhole is a haven for those looking to enjoy quality tunes in a more intimate setting.

What Makes It Unique: The Waterhole’s dedication to live music sets it apart. With a stage that hosts bands and artists from around the world, it’s a place where music lovers can gather, enjoy a drink, and maybe even discover their next favorite band. The venue’s relaxed vibe is complemented by pool tables and a spacious outdoor terrace, perfect for summer nights.

Practical Tips: The Waterhole is conveniently located near Leidseplein, making it easily accessible by public transport or bike. It’s a great spot to start or end your night, with music starting in the early evening and going until late. Entry fees are modest, and the bar offers a range of affordable drinks, making it a budget-friendly option for a night out.

Navigating The Waterhole

  • Best Time to Visit: While live music is a staple every night, visiting on a weekday can offer a more laid-back experience, perfect for those looking to enjoy the music and maybe strike up a conversation with fellow music aficionados.
  • Jam Sessions: Keep an eye out for their special jam session nights if you’re an aspiring musician looking to play in front of an appreciative audience.

10. Canvas

Overview: Perched on the 7th floor of the Volkshotel in Amsterdam’s vibrant East, Canvas offers a unique clubbing experience with panoramic views of the city skyline. By day, it’s a laid-back restaurant and café; by night, Canvas transforms into a pulsating venue where DJs spin eclectic sets ranging from house to disco and beyond.

What Makes It Unique: The allure of Canvas goes beyond its music; it’s the breathtaking view that steals the show, offering a backdrop unlike any other in Amsterdam’s nightlife. The venue’s open and airy space, complete with a terrace for those warmer nights, invites clubbers to dance under the stars or simply enjoy a cocktail while taking in the city lights.

Practical Tips: Canvas tends to draw a mix of locals and visitors, creating a diverse and welcoming atmosphere. While entry is more relaxed than some of the exclusive clubs, it’s wise to arrive early, especially on weekends, to avoid the queues and secure a spot on the terrace. Dress is casual but chic, fitting the venue’s trendy yet unpretentious vibe.

Navigating Canvas

  • Dining and Dancing: Make an evening of it by starting with dinner at the restaurant before transitioning to the dance floor as the night progresses. The menu offers a variety of options, catering to a wide range of tastes.
  • Sunset Sessions: For a truly memorable experience, visit Canvas during sunset. The changing colors of the sky set against the Amsterdam skyline provide a magical start to the evening.
Canvas, Amsterdam
Canvas, Amsterdam

11. Bitterzoet

Overview: Bitterzoet, meaning “Bittersweet” in Dutch, is a cozy venue located near Amsterdam Central Station, known for its eclectic programming that spans genres from hip-hop and reggae to indie and electronic. This intimate space is both a bar and a club, hosting live bands during the early hours and transforming into a vibrant dance floor as the night wears on.

What Makes It Unique: Bitterzoet’s intimate atmosphere is its biggest charm, offering music lovers a close-up experience with up-and-coming artists and DJs. The venue’s decor, with its dim lighting and vintage furnishings, creates a warm and inviting space that feels like a well-kept secret among Amsterdam’s nightlife spots.

Practical Tips: Due to its smaller size, Bitterzoet can fill up quickly, especially on nights with popular acts. Buying tickets in advance is recommended, and arriving early not only guarantees entry but also offers a chance to enjoy a drink and soak in the ambiance before the main event starts.

Navigating Bitterzoet

  • Stay Updated: Follow Bitterzoet on social media to stay informed about upcoming shows and events. The venue often hosts special themed nights and album release parties, which can be a great opportunity to discover new music.
  • After the Show: The area around Bitterzoet is bustling with late-night options. Whether you’re in the mood for a quick bite or a post-concert drink, you’ll find plenty of choices within walking distance.

12. Jack Amsterdam

Overview: A newcomer to Amsterdam’s club scene, Jack Amsterdam is quickly making a name for itself among house and techno aficionados. Located in the Southeast of Amsterdam, Jack offers a space that is as inclusive as it is vibrant, with a sound system that caters to the true audiophile.

What Makes It Unique: Jack’s mission is to create a clubbing experience that’s not only about the music but also about celebrating diversity and fostering a sense of community. With a sound and lighting setup designed to mesmerize, and a programming philosophy that includes both local talent and international stars, Jack is a place where the boundaries of the night are pushed, and the dance floor becomes a melting pot of cultures and expressions.

Practical Tips: Given its slightly off-center location, planning your journey to Jack is essential. The club is accessible by public transport, but checking the schedule for late-night returns is a good idea. Jack’s events often have themes that encourage creative expression, so dressing up can add to the fun and immersive experience.

Navigating Jack Amsterdam

  • Community and Inclusivity: Jack prides itself on being an open and safe space for everyone. Respect for fellow clubbers is paramount, and the vibe is welcoming and friendly.
  • After-Party Scene: For those not ready to end the night, Jack’s after-parties are legendary, often running until the early morning hours. It’s the perfect spot for night owls looking to dance until dawn.

Navigating Amsterdam’s Nightlife: Tips and Etiquette

Amsterdam’s nightlife is as diverse as its residents and visitors. Whether you’re hopping between the historic venues of the city center or venturing into the industrial outskirts for an underground rave, there are a few universal tips to ensure a great night out:

  • Transportation: Amsterdam’s public transport system is reliable and extensive, but be aware of reduced services late at night. Biking is a popular option, but ensure your bike is well-lit and locked up securely.
  • Safety: Amsterdam is generally safe, but like in any major city, it’s wise to stay aware of your surroundings, especially late at night. Stick with friends, and don’t be shy about reaching out to venue staff if you need assistance.
  • Respect the Space: Many of Amsterdam’s clubs are not just businesses but communities. Showing respect to the staff, fellow dancers, and the venue itself goes a long way in ensuring everyone has a good time.