Filed under: coffee shop aka hash bar, top-feature
7 Tips for Potheads
Going to Amsterdam and not visiting a coffeeshop is like going to India and not seeing Taj Mahal. The Fragrant fumes drifting from within are not just from coffee.
All Amsterdam coffeeshops sell hashish and marihuana. They have a menu card displayed on the bar or just behind it. This card sports a bewildering array of pot. Hash is named after the country of origin e.g. Kashmir Ice, Trans Himalaya or Afghan Polm. Weed is more complicated. Bush weeds are grown naturally like Orange Krush. Nederwiet or skunk is home-grown in controlled light-dark conditions for a maximum THC-content, or tetrahydrocannabinol, the main psychoactive compound.
If you want to learn about drugs, buy a copy of the Smokers Guide in one of the coffeeshops. It is money well spent because the guide gives comprehensive information about weed, cannabis, entertainment, events and where to find good coffeeshops.
Coffeeshops set Amsterdam apart and they are one of the reasons why the city is fun to visit. If this is your first time in Amsterdam, you may find it difficult to decide which coffeeshop deserves your visit.
Here are 7 tips for Amsterdam coffeeshops and psychedelic sights.
WHERE: Rosmarijnsteeg 9, Lange Brugsteeg 7, Zoutsteeg 14 ()
All three Kadinsky shops are small but famous for reasonable prices and delectable chocolate-chip cookies. Popular place, friendly vibe, no reggae, but global music soft enough to hold a conversation. Try Nepal Special, black like the night and a smell of ripe fruit. Grab a seat on a bench in front and do some people watching while listening to Brazilian samba and smoking a (pre-rolled) joint. Watch tourists, locals and cyclists battle through the small alley. Try their space cake if you want to experience the effects of cannabis without smoking marihuana. But if you only want to taste the atmosphere, Kadinsky serves excellent coffee.
WHAT: Hill Street Blues
WHERE: Warmoesstraat 52 ()
When you hear loud music wafting out into the street, you have found Hill Street Blues. This low-key place attracts all kind of people. If you are not interested in mind-enhancing stuff, curl up on one of the comfortable sofas. If you want to be more active try out the pool table, table football or beat your opponent at chess or backgammon. Hill Street Blues has the full range of smoking accessories, but also milkshakes, smoothies, ice-creams and fruitshakes. As is the case in all coffeeshops no alcohol is served.
WHAT: De Rokerij
WHERE: Singel 81, Leidsedwarsstraat 41, Elandsgracht 53, Amstel 8 ()
De Rokerij is not just one coffeeshop but four. The oldest one is at Leidsedwarsstraat. Walk in, catch a whiff of incense. Colourful drapes and hubble bubble pipes make you feel as if you are in India, seating ranges from mats on the floor to decorative throne-like armchairs. The Singel establishment, close to Centraal station has the same relaxed style as the Leidsedwarsstraat but in Picasso-Goes-African style. Sit on one of the low stools and contemplate the African style murals while listening to African beat. The Amstel branch is the smallest but with the same attractive murals, same vibe and same style. All four coffeeshops are the perfect mix of locals and tourists. They serve the typical coffeeshop drinks, coffee, tea, fruit juice and soft drinks. Their menu features a good selection of dope like Sour Diesel, Sweetstick Haze and Riffman’s Dunya.
WHAT: The Bulldog
WHERE: Oudezijds Voorburgwal 90 ()
The Bulldog is easy to spot – a big, round sign outside showing a wrinkled bulldog and psychedelic painting on the façade. It took the Australian Harold Thornton six years to finish this colourful mural with or in spite of mind enhancing means. Buy one of the Bulldog funky souvenirs to remind you of your visit. Their Gottahaves are irresistible. The Bulldog is good place for beginners. There are enough tourists to make you feel comfortable. If you don’t want to indulge, simple order a coffee, sit back and observe. The canal side outdoor seating in summer is the best place to see the world turn.
WHAT: Dampkring and Nieuwe Dampkring
WHERE: Handboogstraat 29 and Haarlemmerstraat 44 ()
Dampkring translates as Earth’s Atmosphere, but this is not what the name refers to. Dampkring suggests people puffing away, enveloped in a haze of smoke. If you want to meet the locals and only few tourists, Dampkring is your place. The interior is a feast of swirling shapes and stunning colours that stimulate your senses without the help of mind-enhancing stuff. The interior design caught the fancy of Hollywood producers who used Dampkring to shoot scenes for Ocean’s Twelve starring George Clooney and Brad Pitt. If it is only the interior you want to see, just go in an order an espresso.
WHAT: De Kuil
WHERE: Oude Brugsteeg 27 ()
De Kuil looks very much like a bruin café, a place where people from the neighbourhood gather, gossip, snack and drink. The name brown café refers to the dark, often wooden interior and the smoke stained walls. This is the place to go if you want to drink coffee. This coffeeshop is housed in an old building with a beamed ceiling, a small seating area in front and a long bar along the wall. The music is a good mix of classic rock. Grab a window seat and stare at the pastry shop across the road while you are getting high. If it all gets too much, get out and buy one of these tantalizing cakes or focaccia covered in olives and rosemary and dripping with melted cheese.
WHAT: Baba Coffeeshop
WHERE: Warmoesstraat 64 ()
Baba is popular with locals and tourists, veterans and first-time smokers. After a few tracks of trans and house music, you might even like the thumping that blasts from the sound system. Conversation is impossible. Sit in peace and enjoy your smoke. Look out of the tinted windows on to busy Warmoesstraat without being seen from the outside. Baba is also famous for space cake and marihuana desserts.
The music sounds much better than before. The food tastes heavenly. You talk about subjects you have never thought about before (and probably will never do afterwards). In the middle of a discussion your mind goes blank. You ask your friends to remind you of what you were talking about. Then you all laugh, not just once but throughout your coffee shop visit.
If some or all this happens to you, it means you are high. The coffee shops described above are safe places to experience this feeling. Hang about, until you feel safe to go back home again. Don’ t smoke in your hotel / hostel. If the room has to be cleaned, the cost will be added to your bill.
photo credits, personal collection
AKadinsky CoffeeshopZoutsteeg 14, Amsterdam, , NetherlandsView Details and Book
BHill Street BluesWarmoesstraat 52View Details and Book
Cde Rokerij 4Amstel 8, 1017 AA Amsterdam, NederlandView Details and Book
DThe BulldogOudezijds Voorburgwal 220, Amsterdam, Oudezijds Voorburgwal 220, NetherlandsView Details and Book
EDe DampkringHandboogstraat 29 Amsterdam, Netherlands 020 4222137View Details and Book
FCaf? "De Kuil"Oudebrugsteeg 27, 1012 JN Amsterdam, NederlandView Details and Book
GCoffeeshop "Baba"Warmoesstraat 64, Amsterdam, , NetherlandsView Details and Book