The Brown Cafes in Amsterdam

Amsterdam being a port, there are a lot of cafés, even if there are not many sailors left.

The ” brown cafes “, are old traditional cafes, very small, often little or not renovated since the 17th century, which take their name from the colour of their walls and furniture, blackened by tobacco smoke (now banned).

What is the oldest bar in Amsterdam?

Café Karpershoek, the oldest bar in Amsterdam. Café Karpershoek is the oldest pub in Amsterdam. In 1606 the Karpershoek started as a guest house for the crew of the ships of the Dutch East-Indian Company (VOC).

They are easy to spot thanks to their pretty Delftware checkered fronts, their barrel alignment and their wooden furniture.

One comes there after a day’s work to enjoy a beer or a jenever in a merry brouhaha. This is where you tell the story of your day, comment on current events, play cards or chess, and sometimes end the day with a weekend drink and a song (especially on Fridays and Saturdays).

They open for some of them from noon but many of them open only from 3pm and come alive during the evening.

The newer, lighter “white cafés” are also very lively. It’s impossible to visit Amsterdam without spending some time in one of the nicest cafés in Europe.

One can often eat, more or less traditional fast food, in these cafés which are in this case called ” eetcafés “.

Café Chris (in Jordaan)

Address of Chris Brown café, Bloemstraat 42 (corner Eerste Bloemdwarstraat),Amsterdam The Netherlands

Open: Monday to Thursday 3pm-1am, Thursday and Friday 3pm-2pm and Sunday 3pm-21pm.
It dates back to 1924. Rembrandt probably frequented it since he lived in this popular part of the Jordaan at the end of his life. Go there at nightfall or from 7pm to drink a real beer in a dim light…

Café brun Chris Amsterdam
Brown café Chris in Jordaan
Inside brown café Chris
Brown café Chris
Oriane, apprentice photographer, in front of Chris’s brown café shop.

Café De Karpershoek

Address of brown café De Karpershoek, Martelaarsgracht 2 ,Amsterdam The Netherlands

Opening: Open: every day from 7am to midnight.
The date 1606 is inscribed on its front… The owners claim that it is the oldest brown café in Amsterdam.
In any case, it is very typical: low ceiling, Delft tiles, sand-covered floor…
A little “old-fashioned” (not very surprising considering its age!), it now only attracts tourists eager for curiosities and some old people from the neighborhood.
The atmosphere is rather calm, beer around newspapers and card games. But go for it! It is worth the detour!

Le Café Brandon

Address of brown café Brandon, Keizersgracht 157 ,Amsterdam The Netherlands

Open: Monday to Thursday 3pm-1am, Friday 3pm-3am, Saturday 12pm-3am and Sunday 12pm-1am.
Nothing has moved since it opened in 1626, right down to the carpet on some tables to mop up the beer!
Despite its age, it is still fashionable: its terrace is crowded in summer. No music here, but a pool table…

Brandon Brown café
Brown café Brandon in Amsterdam
Example of a brown café interior
Interior of Brandon Brown café

Brown Café In’t Aepjen

Adress of brown café In’t Aepjen, Zeedijk 1 ,Amsterdam NL

Open: Sunday to Thursday 12H-1H in the morning, and Friday, Saturday 12H-3H
This bar dates back to 1550!
Its wooden facade is the last remaining one in Amsterdam. A must see, especially since this café is only 5 minutes walk from the central station and at the gates of the red district.

Brown cafe wood front
café amsterdam
Old front of a brown cafe shop

The story goes that this café allowed sailors to pay for their consumption with little monkeys they brought back from their exotic journeys. And yes, after their escapades in the nearby red-light district, they were often broke… I’d be curious to know if this practice still works… Anyone want to try it? I’m waiting for the pictures !!!

Café In’t Aepjen
Café In’t Aepjen

Café Hoppe

Adress bropwn café Hopp, Spui 18-20 ,Amsterdam NL

Open: Sunday to Thursday 8H-1H in the morning, Friday and Saturday 8H-2H.
It opened in 1670 and has been open ever since! And for good reason: it was elected the best in the Netherlands in 2012! Good beers and a very large choice of junipers… Choose the more typical entrance on the right.

Café Amsterdam
Brown Café Hoppe
The crowd in front of a brown café shop
The crowd in front of the brown café

Café Van Zuylen

Adress brown café Van Zuylen, Torensteeg 4-8 ,Amsterdam NL

Open: Sunday to Thursday 10am-1am, Friday and Saturday 10am-3pm.
Even though the sunny weather at the end of November was cool, I really enjoyed the view from its terrace on the edge of the Singel .
The rather cosy interior has a warm atmosphere thanks to the wood panelling and brasserie-style leather benches. What’s more, they’re heated!
Here, the lunch break will be most pleasant.

Brown Café Van Zuylen
Café Van Zuylen
terrace café
brown Café terrace