Amsterdam is the original home of the dance club. Forget the underground scene of Berlin, it all started in The Dam – and the capital’s clubs are immortalised. The city’s nightlife is made up of infamous ‘coffee shops’, raw and edgy warehouses, industrial buildings, basements and even the odd swanky bar (if you look hard enough).
Dam Square is perhaps the most famous area, not least because of the colour of the surrounding streets… The De Wallen district is lit-up red as night falls, and hundreds of women take to the 290 windows in the streets. However, if you manage to get past them all (and without spending euros), you’ll get to Rembrandtplein. Often described as the ‘heart of Amsterdam’s nightlife’ – this huge square is characterised by a whole load of bars, clubs and ‘coffee shops’, a mix of all things you’d expect from Amsterdam. Rain, one of the ‘World’s Best Bars’, is as famous as it was when it first opened; a stylish restaurant and bar that attracts celebs in the city. Likewise, Escape is a multi-room icon in the area – featuring the Escape Club, the main hall, Escape deLux, a cool club-in-a-club on the first floor, Escape Studio and even an Escape Caffe next door. The trick is to escape after a few beers… Air Amsterdam is what this city was built on, a house/dance club that is slick, state-of-the-art and has seen the world’s best DJs. Tiesto, Skrillex, Damian Lazarus and the Martinez Brothers have all played in the colossal split-level club, with a capacity of 1,300.
Leidseplein is the brother of Rembrandtplein (try saying that after a few beers), and is the busy host of Amsterdam’s biggest and best clubs. This area is big on live music and that excessive vibe European capitals are famous for. Melkweg is the Godfather on these streets, set in a former milk factory and split into four halls of rowdy crowds. These walls stay open until 5am, but there’s also a cinema, exhibition space and restaurant. Paradise is the indie neighbour, located in a former church that can hold 1,500 people watching the live bands. Sugarfactory, directly opposite Melkweg, is Amsterdam old and new – it’s all about the music, combined with performance and art. It also hosts ‘regular’ club nights for those that are a bit more Full Monty than Moulin Rouge.
Red Light District
Back on the subject of Dam Square, this will be your stag weekend base. The city’s infamous Red Light District, is based near here – around an old church (priorities), so that sailors could sin and profess those sins the next day. It’s a novelty experience and as much of a tourist attraction as the bikes and tulips. There are three ‘districts’ in the capital, but De Wallen is the leader of the pack. This area is lit-up red, packed with crowds and is, actually, one of the safest places in the city as prostitution is legal in Amsterdam. These medieval-style networks of streets, sitting around the pretty canals, interspersed with sex shops, museums and erotic shows.
Banana Bar is one of the most recognisable spots in the area, not least due to the giant neon banana sign above the door… However, this isn’t your standard adult bar: there’s no stage or barriers, just very friendly girls performing tricks with oils, vibrators and bananas (we’ll leave that one to your imagination). Cassa Rosso is another infamous show, right in the heart of the Red Light District. In simple terms, it’s X-rated – you’ve got well-choreographed sex on stage, along with single acts to give the big stars a break… If you’re in need of a break too, you can always visit the world’s first and oldest sex museum, Venustempel.
Amsterdam ‘coffee shops’, not to be confused with cafes, are ingrained in the city’s culture. These joints… number in the hundreds, and are easily identifiable due to the green and white licence sticker in the window. Whilst, you might get a coffee here, these places are more about smoking sweet Mary J than drinking – and are even prohibited in serving alcohol (they’ve got those priorities right). A general rule of thumb is, the more expensive the weed, the better.
Amsterdam stag do activities have gone to the ‘coffee shop’, had a smoke and gone down the pub to get smashed. You’ve got the classics; paintballing, quad biking, karting, AJAX match-day tickets, alongside an extensive amount of canal cruises (with additional strippers…). But, we’ve also got the more unusual suspects – such as bar crawls with a smurf, fire breathing, erotic dining and Red Light tours, as well as a stag photoshoot in a former window.
Speaking of activities, we’ve got more hotels, apartments and hostels than you can shake a stick at. We even offer a hostel unique to Amsterdam, billing itself as the ‘worst hostel in Amsterdam’. If that doesn’t tempt you…
The Dutch like a drink or two, and none more so than Heineken. This is the birthplace of the famous lager – the first European beer to be imported to the US after the Prohibition – and the world-famous Heineken Brewery is slap-bang in the city. We’ll even sort out your interactive experience at the brewery, and complimentary two pints, for your stag do. Amsterdam is also in the midst of a craft beer revolution, and is brimming with creative breweries, established tasting houses and cools bars lining the streets. These pints will typically set you back €3.50, with plenty of cash left-over for the rest of the weekend.
The capital of the Netherlands has long been one of the most desirable expat locations in the world, and they are renowned for tolerance (handy on a stag do). They’re relaxed, laid-back (can’t think why…) and open-minded – one of the most liberal places to live, in fact. With that in mind, those Male Bride costumes will be just fine.
We’ll get down to the basics – the stuff that will get you to and from Amsterdam in one piece (as much as we can hope). Amsterdam Airport is the third busiest in Europe, a base for many airlines and is easy to fly to from most UK cities. Getting around the city is even easier – with an extensive tram system that runs from 6am to half past midnight, and buses running limited night services. The metro runs from the city’s Central Station to the outer districts, and you can also ride a bike. This is the most bicycle-friendly capital in the world, with over 60% of trips made by bike in the inner city. It will also help sweat out the beer – silver linings.
We're assuming Amsterdam has won you over, and if not - read it again. With that awkwardness out of the way, visit our Amsterdam stag weekends page to find out exactly what we offer for your unforgettable last night of freedom.