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Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Seven Coffee Shops in Amsterdam that are Good to Go

Written by Matt Kepnes

Feature photo by designCL. Photo above by darkpatator.

Amsterdam is renowned for its “coffee shops.” Here are seven of the best.

Photo by Lelik.

I’ve zoned out and my fellow “researchers” are waving away the final joint. They can’t handle anymore either. There are only so many joints you can smoke in a day.

I take out my notepad and we try to convey how we feel about this place. After a few long pauses, we give up, order a drink, and begin to roll another joint. I guess you can never smoke too many.

Matador sent me on assignment in Amsterdam (no expenses paid) to find the best coffee shops in the city. This marked my fourth trip to the city and I was only happy to oblige.

If you are looking for the best of the best, follow your nose to these places for the highest times in Amsterdam.

Author’s Note: Amsterdam recently banned smoking tobacco indoors. This has hurt many of the coffee shops since people in Europe smoke marijuana with tobacco.

A few coffee shops have set up separate areas where people are allowed to smoke inside. A few turn a blind eye to the ban. Most tell you to go outside and offer a herbal tobacco substitute. Ask before you light up.


This coffee shop is out of the city center, making it a “locals only” spot. (I found it with the help of a local.) There’s a big bar with a great selection, much, much cheaper than the center. There’s also a few pool tables, a big screen TV, and a separate smoking room.

The staff is really friendly and the locals are intrigued as to how you found this place. The smoking ban hit this place hard so it’s not as packed as it used to be but it’s more relaxed than other places.

Photo by Cédric Puisney.

De Rokerij

This café is located on the way to Leidsplein and has a mystical ambiance, one long room with dark lights and darker walls with tribal designs for you to stare at all day.

The weed here is good but the place is better known for its atmosphere. You aren’t allowed to smoke tobacco and they offer an herbal substitute. The drinks here are also reasonably priced considering its location.

The Greenhouse

This coffee shop has three locations, the flagship located in the Red Light district. It’s one of the most famous in Amsterdam and the walls are adorned with photos of celebrities to prove it. Their weed constantly wins the Cannabis Cup (try the haze).

Cheap drinks help cushion the blow to your wallet. You can’t smoke inside but there are outdoor tables or you can use the free tobacco substitute they provide. The music is eclectic (I heard Pink Floyd and Snoop Dog in the same sitting) and the décor dark and relaxing. They even have a few coves in the wall to relax in.

Photo by Marilisa.

The Grasshopper

Located in between Damrak and the Red Light district, this coffeeshop wears multiple hats- it’s a bar, restaurant, and coffee shop. Head downstairs for the coffee shop.

They’ve created a separate smoking area down here so you can light up anything smokable. Tables are lined together in close quarters, making it easy to meet people. TVs run in the background and music plays over the speakers. The staff is friendly and knowledgeable and the weed is reasonably priced.

Hunter’s Café

Hunter’s has been one of my favorites since I started coming to Amsterdam.

Located right at the beginning of the Red Light district, this place is a little touristy, however, the black decor gives a nice lounge feel and there are ample chairs and couches to relax on.

Staff is really friendly and the prices are somewhat cheaper than other shops in the area. They make great shakes, too. There’s no tobacco allowed here, but you can use the substitute they offer. Just head up Warmastraat and look for the giant peeing dog.


Located right off Leidstraat near Liesplein, this coffee shop follows the ocean theme all the way. The walls are painted blue with various sea life images and “coral” is replicated to give this place a true underwater feeling.

Upstairs has the bar and a few tables. You can’t smoke tobacco up there, but head downstairs where the big comfy couches and TV welcome you with open arms. They also offer free wi-fi.


This coffee shop was made famous by the movie “Ocean’s 12″ and has since seen a steady stream of people trying to pretend they’re Brad Pitt or George Clooney.

The shop has a wide open interior with orange painted walls. The various shades of orange are in different shapes to provide for the ultimate psychedelic experience.

Good drinks and good weed are served here at standard prices. The tables have patterns carved into them. They turn a blind eye to smoking inside-if they don’t see it, it’s not there. A lazy cat sits in the window all day to greet you as you come in.

Photo by adjustafresh.

No matter where you go, remember that these coffee shops all share similar characteristics. They have atmosphere, a friendly staff, couches, good drinks, and friendly stoners. Look for that and you’ll find the best coffee shop in Amsterdam.

community connection

Some of our community members who’ve lived in Amsterdam for extended periods have gotten over the coffee shops. Here’s one excellent article for those out there who’d like to check out other things while in Amsterdam: 10 Things to do in Amsterdam Besides Smoking Pot.

We’ve got all kind of travelers checking throughout Europe and the rest of the world, come, check in with us.