Like trying to find weed in the sea, I suppose.
April 14, 2007 10:02 PM   Subscribe

Does anyone know of good coffee shops (and I do mean actual coffee) in Amsterdam? The kind where you can sit, maybe on a couch, with a book? The Vienna kind? I would really like to find one, but the dutch don't seem to have much of a coffee shop culture. It seems so silly to ask here because I actually live in Amsterdam (and you probably don't), but I've been looking for ages and nobody I know has been able to point me to one, and obviously googling for "amsterdam" and "coffee shop" isn't giving me the right answers.
posted by Skyanth to Society & Culture (17 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Whenever I visited Amsterdam, what you seek was referred to not as coffee shops but as cafes.
posted by vacapinta at 10:10 PM on April 14, 2007

Response by poster: You're right, but even then - I've been to my share of cafes and they even the "brown" ones that site talks about are not really what I mean. There are never any couches, for one. Though I have to say that link you gave does give me one or two cool new options to check out, thanks!
posted by Skyanth at 10:16 PM on April 14, 2007

Hmmmm, I remember that "coffee shops" in Amsterdam mostly refer to places that serve space cake & whatnot. What about sitting on the patio at Dantzig? No couches, but it's a nice place to sit & read, right? Wish I could think of more places... haven't been there lately.
posted by miss lynnster at 10:49 PM on April 14, 2007

Couches? Hmm. I'd always considered the Grand Cafes to be Mitteleuropean, but I always associate that kind of coffee culture with art nouveau and chandeliers.

Whenever I'm in Amsterdam, I go to the Cafe de Tuin for coffee, apple-cake, book-reading and the view of the Westerkerk. It has nooks with padded seating, and it's a bit less cramped than some Jordaan bruincafes, especially during the day.
posted by holgate at 11:11 PM on April 14, 2007

Best answer: Aren't you lucky - my friend from Amsterdam is visiting me here in Montana. She says that her favorite is De Koffie Salon. There are 2: the original is on Utrechtsestraat (complete with desired couches!) with an additional being on Bilderdyke. One more she likes is called De Balie on the Leidseplein. It's huge - you can't miss it. She is the editor of a magazine called Versal whose umbrella organization sponsors a salon called "The Open Stanza" - she says they are just the thing for the biblio-obsessed coffee-hound. The salons are held in a place called "The Sugar Factory." Hope that helps.
posted by ikahime at 11:29 PM on April 14, 2007 [2 favorites]

Gotta love AskMe!
posted by miss lynnster at 11:55 PM on April 14, 2007

Response by poster: ikahime - tell your friend thanks, this is really great. I owe her a drink.
posted by Skyanth at 12:02 AM on April 15, 2007

The Cafe Americain is an old fashioned grand cafe. Wonderful art deco 5 meter high rooms. It's also near the Leidseplein.
A bit more obscure; the cafe on the upper floor of Metz & Co (on the Leidsestraat) has a great view over the city. Apparently service is quite bad.
posted by jouke at 12:04 AM on April 15, 2007

You're going to be looking for places that call themselves "grand cafe", since "coffee shops" sell soft drugs rather than coffee. Seconding the reccommendation of the Metz & Co, though unfortunately also seconding the warning about the service.
There's the cafe in the Bonnetrie, which is in Kalverstraat near the end of Leidsestraat. It has a classic "grand cafe" decor that is the result of a fairly recent redecoration, and friendly service. You might also like De Jaren in the Nieuwe Doelenstraat near the Opera House. It is larger and has a more modern ambience than the Bonnetrie, and it caters to a younger and trendier audience.
posted by rjs at 12:20 AM on April 15, 2007

I'm in Amsterdam at the moment and yesterday my friend took me to Smits Koffiehuis. Beautiful day, right out there on the canal watching the small boats slips past, excellent Koffie Kroket Brood.

She says the general rule is to avoid any place that uses the English word "Coffee" in their name, as they're trying to attract a certain clientèle, and the product emphasis isn't on coffee.
posted by Mutant at 1:46 AM on April 15, 2007

Response by poster: Just to clarify (and make the question even more silly): I've been living here for 10 years and almost-but-not-quite dutch. I'm well aware of what the coffee shops in Amsterdam entail.. ;)
posted by Skyanth at 1:53 AM on April 15, 2007

"...and make the question even more silly..."

I wouldn't consider this a silly question at all; I'm American and have lived in London for the past ten years. As well as I know a specific niche of English culture (Investment Banking), I'm well aware this is but a very small component of a larger picture.

And hardly representative.
posted by Mutant at 2:06 AM on April 15, 2007

de koffie salon also opened up a new location (last weekend) on eerste constantijn huygensstraat ... near the intersection with the overtoom ... and the coffee is good ... but no cumfy couches ... J
posted by jannw at 4:42 AM on April 15, 2007

Best coffee I had in Amsterdam came from a place at the Frederiksplein end of Utrechtstraat, next door to an Indian Restaurant called the Golden Temple. I can't recall the name of the place, and there aren't any comfy couches, but if you keep an eye out for the Kees van der Westen custom-built Mirage or Mistral in the window, you'll be reassured that they're serious about the coffee that they serve.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 10:43 AM on April 15, 2007

Oops. It seems we're all talking about the same place -- de koffee salon. :-(

When I was last there though, everyone was seated around large tables in the centre of the room and no comfy sofas at all.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 10:45 AM on April 15, 2007

Starbucks hasn't penetrated north western europa?
posted by oxford blue at 12:16 AM on April 16, 2007

It's not a silly question at all. Hell, you might be wondering about the mating habits of an obscure type of piranha which only existed for two weeks in the Amazon in the 1850s, and someone on Metafilter will have written their dissertation on precisely that topic.

I have to second De Balie, it's on Kleine Gartmanplantsoen right off Leidseplein on your right, across from the City cinema but before you hit Paradiso.

Depending on what you're looking for, I also always liked that café on Spui, I forget what it's called but it's on the corner of the square, kind of diagonally across from the UvA Aula (university auditorium) and right next to Broodje van Kootje.

And oxford blue, I can only speak for the Netherlands, but no, no Starbucks here. Seen some in Britain, though. Then again there *are* some Starbucksesque coffee-to-go places in Amsterdam, but I doubt that's what Skyanth is looking for.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 3:54 PM on April 17, 2007 [1 favorite]

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