Discover the Best Gay Bars in Amsterdam: A Local’s Perspective

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Amsterdam is renowned for its vibrant and inclusive LGBTQI+ community, and the city’s gay bars are at the heart of its buzzing nightlife scene. Whether you’re a local or a traveler, there’s no shortage of fantastic options to explore. In this article, we’ll delve into the best gay bars in Amsterdam from a local’s perspective, offering you an insider’s guide to the city’s most exciting LGBTQI+ hotspots.

From trendy cocktail lounges to lively dance clubs, Amsterdam has something for everyone. Discover the perfect spot to enjoy a crafted cocktail, socialize with fellow partygoers, or dance the night away to the latest beats. Each venue has its unique flair, attracting a diverse crowd.

Our local knowledge allows us to provide you with honest reviews, useful tips, and recommendations to make the most of your visit. We understand the importance of finding a gay-friendly environment that celebrates individuality and promotes inclusivity. Whether you’re seeking a wild night out or a relaxed evening with friends, we’ve got you covered.

Join us on this journey through Amsterdam’s gay bar scene and uncover the hidden gems that will make your experience truly unforgettable.

The history of gay bars in Amsterdam

Amsterdam has a rich history of LGBTQI+ activism, and its gay bar scene has played a vital role in fostering a sense of community and acceptance. The first gay bars in the city emerged in the 1950s, providing a safe haven for LGBTQI+ individuals at a time when homosexuality was still heavily stigmatized. These early establishments laid the foundation for the vibrant and inclusive scene that exists today.

Throughout the years, Amsterdam’s gay bars have evolved, reflecting the changing attitudes towards LGBTQI+ rights. They have become not only places to socialize and have fun but also important symbols of progress and acceptance.

The best gay bars in Amsterdam

The city has a rich history of LGBTQI+ rights and acceptance, and this is reflected in its thriving gay bar scene. Gay bars in Amsterdam have long been a haven for the LGBTQI+ community, providing a safe space to socialize, express themselves, and celebrate their identities.

The first gay bars in Amsterdam emerged in the 1950s, during a time when homosexuality was still largely stigmatized. These bars, such as Café ‘t Mandje, played a crucial role in creating a sense of community and solidarity among LGBTQI+ individuals. Over the years, the city’s gay bar scene has grown and evolved, embracing diversity and welcoming people from all walks of life

When it comes to gay bars in Amsterdam, there’s something for everyone. From trendy cocktail lounges to lively dance clubs, each venue has its unique flair, attracting a diverse crowd. Let’s take a closer look at some of the best gay bars in the city:

Bar Prik

Gay cocktail bar! Located in the heart of Amsterdam’s city center, Bar Prik is a popular choice among locals and tourists alike. This vibrant cocktail bar offers an extensive menu of delicious drinks, ranging from classic cocktails to innovative creations. The lively atmosphere and friendly staff make it the perfect spot to socialize and meet new people.

Club Church

For those seeking a clubbing experience, Club Church is an interesting visit. This iconic venue is known for its themed parties, wild performances, and energetic dance floors. With multiple rooms and a diverse lineup of DJs, Club Church promises an exhilarating night out in a welcoming and inclusive environment. With specific theme parties they offer something for everyone, a.o. fetish parties.


“The Spijkerbar is run by Steven Koudijs, a dutch former barkeeper of the Spijkerbar who bought the place with the help of his mother-in-law, crowdfunding in Amsterdam’s gay scene, other gay businesses (such as Lola The Green Aardvark) and regular customers of the bar.
What is going on in the Spijker at the moment? Of course the vintage porn and comic TVs are still there and the pool table and darkroom with glory holes. Write your name on the blackboard just under the stairs, wait your turn with a drink to calm your nerves, and play against the winner of the previous game. There are regular pool competitions on sunday afternoon. “


Vereniging de Trut

‘De Trut’ is an Amsterdam queer disco that has been organized 100% by volunteers for 37 years, with the profits going to LGBTQI+ projects worldwide. Note that De Trut is usually not very happy with party-goers who are just looking for a good party and are not explicit members of the queer community.


Cafe Saarein

“Café Saarein 🏳️‍🌈 is one of the few remaining traditional brown cafes in Amsterdam, featuring an interior dating back to the early 20th century. In 1978, a group of ten women formed a collective and took over the café from Saar and Rein. This marked the beginning of Amsterdam’s renowned Café Saarein. In 1999, Dia took over the café and changed the door policy: Saarein is now open to all ‘queer-minded people.’ Music, a game of pool, and flirting are the main ingredients of this small and cozy café located in the heart of the Jordaan neighborhood, close to all central amenities.”


At Nyx, diversity is celebrated, and everyone is encouraged to join the party, regardless of their sexual orientation or identity. It’s a true melting pot of like-minded individuals, where the LGBTQI+ community and straight allies come together to dance, drink, and have a blast. Whether you’re a seasoned clubgoer or just looking for a fun night out

The Queen’s Head

Nestled in the heart of the historic Red Light District, at the (in)famous Zeedijk, The Queen’s Head is a cozy and welcoming gay bar with a laid-back atmosphere. It’s the perfect place to enjoy a few drinks with friends, play a game of pool, or simply relax and soak in the vibrant surroundings. The Queen’s Head also hosts regular drag shows, adding a touch of fabulousness to your night.

Café ‘t Mandje

No exploration of Amsterdam’s gay bar scene would be complete without a visit to Café ‘t Mandje. As one of the city’s oldest gay bars, it holds a special place in Amsterdam’s LGBTQI+ history. Step inside and you’ll be transported back in time to the 1950s, with its vintage decor and cozy ambiance. Café ‘t Mandje is not only a bar but also a living museum, showcasing the legacy of its founder, Bet van Beeren, who played a pivotal role in creating a safe space for the LGBTQI+ community.

General guidelines for visiting Mokum’s gay bars

Visiting gay bars in Amsterdam can be an exciting and rewarding experience. To make the most of your visit, here are a few tips to keep in mind:

1. Respect the space: Gay bars are safe spaces for the LGBTQI+ community, so it’s important to be respectful and inclusive. Treat others with kindness and embrace the diversity that surrounds you.

2. Dress code: While most gay bars in Amsterdam have a relaxed dress code, it’s always a good idea to check their website or social media pages for any specific guidelines. Some clubs may have themed parties or specific dress requirements for certain events.

3. Be open-minded: gay bars in Amsterdam attract a diverse crowd, so be open to meeting people from different backgrounds and cultures. Embrace the opportunity to learn and make new connections.

4. Stay safe: Like any nightlife scene, it’s important to stay aware of your surroundings and take necessary precautions. Stick to well-lit areas, avoid excessive alcohol consumption, and always travel with a trusted friend or group.

5. Not every gay bar is open to all visitors. Be sure to check their websites in advance to make sure you are respecting safe spaces. By respecting their guidelines you contribute to a safe and thriving community.

Events and Festivals

Amsterdam is not only home to incredible gay bars but also hosts a variety of LGBTQI+ events and festivals throughout the year. These events celebrate diversity, promote inclusivity, and showcase the city’s vibrant LGBTQI+ community. Some of the notable events include:

Pride Amsterdam: This annual event takes place in August and features a spectacular canal parade, street parties, cultural events, and more. It’s a celebration of love, equality, and acceptance that attracts visitors from around the world.

Milkshake Festival: Held in July, Milkshake Festival is a weekend-long event that celebrates diversity, music, and art. With a lineup of international DJs, drag performances, and immersive art installations, it’s a true feast for the senses.

Roze Filmdagen: Also known as the Amsterdam LGBTQI+ Film Festival, this event showcases a curated selection of LGBTQI+ films from around the world. It’s a fantastic opportunity to explore queer cinema and gain a deeper understanding of LGBTQI+ experiences.

Community and information

Amsterdam is known for its strong support of the LGBTQI+ community, and there are numerous organizations and resources available to ensure the well-being and inclusion of LGBTQI+ individuals. Some of these include:

Pink Point: Located near the Homomonument, Pink Point is an LGBTQI+ information kiosk where you can find helpful resources, maps, and advice from knowledgeable volunteers.

Transgender Network Amsterdam: Dedicated to supporting transgender individuals, this organization offers guidance, information, and social activities for the transgender community.

The Gay and Lesbian Switchboard: This organization provides a helpline for LGBTQ+ individuals in need of support or information. They offer a safe and confidential space to discuss a wide range of topics and concerns.

LGBTQ+ friendly establishments

Apart from gay bars, Amsterdam is home to a wide range of LGBTQ+ friendly establishments, including restaurants, cafes, shops, and hotels. These establishments pride themselves on their inclusive and welcoming environments, ensuring that LGBTQ+ individuals feel safe and valued. Some noteworthy places to explore include:

  • Pink Istanbul: This LGBTQI+ friendly restaurant offers delicious Turkish cuisine in a warm and welcoming atmosphere. It’s the perfect place to enjoy a flavorful meal while embracing the city’s diverse culture.
  • Hotel TwentySeven: This luxury hotel is known for its exceptional service and stunning views of the city. With its commitment to diversity and inclusivity, it’s a fantastic choice for LGBTQ+ travelers looking for a memorable stay.
Best gay bars in Amsterdam : a local's perspective

LGBTQ+ events and festivals in Amsterdam

One of the oldest gay bars in Amsterdam, Café ‘t Mandje holds a special place in the city’s LGBTQI+ history. Founded in 1927 by Bet van Beeren, a pioneering lesbian, the bar has been a haven for the queer community for decades. Step inside and you’ll be transported back in time, surrounded by vintage decor and an atmosphere that exudes authenticity.

The bar is known for its friendly and welcoming vibe, attracting a diverse crowd of locals and tourists alike. Grab a drink at the bar and strike up a conversation with the friendly staff or fellow patrons. ‘t Mandje offers a range of events throughout the week, from drag shows to karaoke nights, ensuring there’s always something exciting happening.

Whether you’re looking to enjoy a laid-back evening with friends or dive into a vibrant party scene, Café ‘t Mandje has it all. The bar’s history, combined with its warm and inclusive atmosphere, makes it a must-visit spot for anyone exploring Amsterdam’s gay bar scene.

Canal parade and pride

Amsterdam is home to a vibrant LGBTQI+ community, and the city hosts a variety of events and festivals throughout the year to celebrate diversity and inclusivity. One of the most notable events is Amsterdam Pride, which takes place in late July and early August. The highlight of the festival is the world-famous Canal Parade, where elaborately decorated boats sail through the city’s picturesque canals, showcasing the city’s LGBTQI+ community.

In addition to Gay Pride, Amsterdam also hosts other events such as the Milkshake Festival, an open-minded music festival promoting diversity and acceptance, and the Drag Olympics, a fun-filled day of drag competitions and performances. These events attract thousands of visitors from around the world, creating a truly inclusive and celebratory atmosphere in the city.

Not visiting in the same month as the Pride? Check out the prides in Utrecht and Rotterdam!

Support and resources

Amsterdam takes great pride in its LGBTQ+ community and offers a range of support and resources for its members. The city is home to several LGBTQ+ organizations that provide assistance, guidance, and advocacy. These organizations offer a wide range of services, including counseling, healthcare, legal advice, and community support.

  • One such organization is COC Amsterdam, the oldest LGBTQ+ organization in the Netherlands. COC Amsterdam works tirelessly to promote equality, acceptance, and rights for the LGBTQ+ community through various initiatives and programs. They offer support groups, social events, and educational workshops, ensuring that individuals have access to the resources they need.
  • Additionally, Amsterdam’s LGBTQI+ community center, De Regenboog, provides a safe and inclusive space for people of all genders and sexual orientations. The center offers a variety of activities and programs, including support groups, art exhibitions, and educational workshops, creating a welcoming environment for community members.