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Visiting the, er, Coffee Shops in Amsterdam

Hello, My wife and I are going to Europe this fall. Mainly we'll be in London for 10 days, but we're spending our first two nights in Amsterdam and our last night in Amsterdam. Has anyone visited a coffee shop in Amsterdam? If so, do you have one you can recommend? Thanks for your insights!

Posted by
415 posts

Try Barney's Lounge - Reguliersgracht 27 - nice quiet area away from the shops near Dam Square and the station. Be sure to talk to the budtender about what you are looking for as far as a high and take it easy. They are very helpful there and will answer any questions that you have. It is a nice, clean place with lots of juices and things to drink if you or your wife decide not to partake.

Posted by
1035 posts

Dave, it has been more than a few years for me, but most used to carry "space cakes." I'd be surprised if this has changed much. If you do a google search you'll find all kinds of resources.

Posted by
173 posts

Hi Dave, I would like to recommend the coffee shop "Amnesia" Herengracht 133. Being an occasional pot smoker from North America, it was shocking to walk in and be greeted as a customer instead of a criminal. The "bar tender" showed us a menu describing the types of high each strain of weed offered. He also pulled out several tupperware bins to let us have a whiff. In Amsterdam they roll joints with tobacco; rolling papers, filters and tobacco are available to you (at no extra charge). We ended up buying a pipe in a little shop. There are little munchies and a wide variety of beverages including the best mint tea I've ever had. The atmosphere here was very mellow. It was very clean and it seemed that those who came in were locals. When you buy your "weed" they give it to you in a little baggie. Depending on your accommodations you might be able to bring it back to your room. Some places are "smoke" friendly. Hope that helps ;)

Posted by
425 posts

Dave - Last time I was there was on a "stag" weekend and this was high (!) on the list of things to do. What all of us guys found was that all (!) the coffee-shop owners were generally very pleasant and helpful and gave useful advice to "amateurs" like myself. There is usually a menu - yes really - of what is on offer. You can/should ask about strengths! What most newcomers find surprising is that you cannot have a beer to go with it. Only coffee etc. And don't worry about things getting lost in translation ... English is not a problem.
Roger

Posted by
1976 posts

Hi Dave. Have a great time in Amsterdam - it's one of my favorite cities. I recommend Barney's Coffeeshop on, I believe, Haarlemmerstraat. The decor is very mod and "upscale" - it looks like a nice restaurant. They have space cakes, as Michael said - these are muffins or brownies. The employees' English, like the English of everyone who works in Amsterdam it seems, is very good and they can help you decide what to buy. Just know that space cake takes about an hour and a half to go through your system and start working, and then it might be another hour or so before you start feeling back to normal. I've visited several coffeeshops there in a three-year time frame but only bought space cake in 2 of them (Barney's twice and another place once), and every coffeeshop I've been to has offered space cakes.

Posted by
2507 posts

We had not smoked for many years, prime reason being we did not want to subject our lungs to it, let's face it, weed has more carcinogens than tobacco. Eating is not a problem. But we found that this s*$t is much stronger than what we were used to many years ago. The standard issue for eating appears to be a rather large muffin like cake. I would recommend that if this is what you find, split it for two. It will last a long time, and you may have much more effect than you'd like if you each take a whole one. You did not say how long it's been since college for you. For us, it's 20 years since we had last used, and we were shocked by the increased potency. I can also recommend two of the shops that are listed in the Blue Book - La Tertuglia and Grey Area. La Tertuglia had a nice, smaller brownie rather than the faux-muffin. Also a neat ambiance - rather than the macho shops, it is run by a mother and daughter. See also http://www.coffeeshop.freeuk.com/ for a full list

Posted by
643 posts

Thanks all, yeah it's been 21 years since I was in college. I'll have to look for one of those cakes "to go".

Posted by
34 posts

We think your wife and you might enjoy this place. We visited on a few ocassions last summer and will again next month. Not in the middle of/or near the larger coffee shops. It is a quiet neighborhood type shop. Friendly and knowledgeable budtender. http://www.paradoxcoffeeshop.com/

Posted by
199 posts

Dave, since it's been so long for you I suggest using the buddy system. You have your fun one day while your wife keeps an eye on you. Then switch roles the next day. Also, beware of the boomerang reaction cakes can have the next day. If you start feeling a little nauseaous or light-headed get something very sweet to drink, like a can of coke or Looza. In fact, keep a can of something sweet around in case you feel sick that night. You may be hungry after you drink the coke. Grab something substantial to eat (protein) like a sandwich. Avoid fast-food and junk-food if you can. It's probably best to do this in the evening. That way if you feel the need to crash you can just go back to your hotel. You have to go back eventually. Also, find a shop close to your hotel so you can walk back safely. Here are some recommendations. http://www.homegrownfantasy.com/
It had a great, welcoming atmosphere and almost feels like a coffee shop (non-chain) you would find on Main Street America. Mellow Yellow at Vijzelgracht 33. Avoid the shop Dutch Flowers. The man who owns/runs it is a complete jerk who doesn't like foreigners or tourists. Avoid the Bulldog shops because they sell dirt. Avoid any shop too close to the train station, in or near Leidseplein or the Red Light District. They are usually aimed at tourists and play music at deafening levels. Have fun and be safe.

Posted by
643 posts

Thanks everyone, my wife and I have decided we aren't going to partake as we only have a day in Amsterdam. But we'll visit one of these shops just to take a look! One side effect to pot is dizzyness, which I had forgotten about. I hate feeling dizzy so I'm going to stick to beer!

Posted by
643 posts

Thanks Mike! That first place is about a 3 minute walk from our B&B! Will definitely stop in to have a brew.

Posted by
307 posts

Dave, if you plan on stopping in just to "have a brew" and check out the scene, keep in mind that the vast majority of Coffee shops in Amsterdam only sell marijuana, and not beer. There are a few places that sell both, such as the Rokery ( three locations, one near Leidesplein ) where you can have a beer and watch people indulge. The Rokery has a typical bar atmosphere, while other places are, as mentioned, more like what we North Americans would think of as a coffee shop...I like the Coffeeshop Easy Times near Leidesplein ( do a search on Google maps )..its on a canal, off the main drag so not really a tourist focused place, and a nice relaxed atmosphere..more a place to go, have a 'smoke', read the newspaper, plan your days activities, sip on a coffee/tea type of place...

Posted by
199 posts

According to this (second paragraph under Amsterdam Drug Law) you can't sell cannabis and alcohol in the same shop. http://www.amsterdam.info/coffeeshops/ Actually I've heard that Spain, Portugal and Czech Republic have taken a more lenient approach to cannabis. That's fine with me. Spain and Portugal at least have sunshine and beaches. The Dutch can keep their ugly weather and sub-par service. IMO, the coffee shops were part of the culture. If people went there just to visit a coffee shop then that's their business. I can see a Masters or Van Gogh in Detroit at the awesome Detroit Institute of Arts and it's only a 15 minute drive. If wooden shoes, tulips and windmills are the reason to go to the Netherlands? I can save all of you some money and recommend Holland, Michigan. Same touristy put-on with the same miserable Calvinist attitude without the expensive airfare. We'll have to wait and see. When Vegas attempted to go "family-friendly" in the 90's it worked out sooooo well!

Posted by
9021 posts

"...According to this (second paragraph under Amsterdam Drug Law) you can't sell cannabis and alcohol in the same shop..." There was a loop-hole in the law which allowed a few coffeehouses to sell both alcohol and weed. This loop-hole was closed recently and the establishments had to choose one or the other. Most chose booze. Even in Amsterdam there's more money to be made in getting sloshed:)

Posted by
12040 posts

I´m not sure exactly when it will take effect, but pretty soon, only Dutch nationals will be allowed in the coffee shops. Maybe one of the posters based in the Netherlands can add more, but according to what I saw on NOS Journal, it looks like the change is imminent.

Posted by
307 posts

That change in the law will be in effect for places near the borders first...apparently the government has said it will beginning applying the changes to other areas, such as Amsterdam, " later in its term"....

Posted by
2829 posts

Living currently in Netherlands, I can barely wait for these provisions to get working. There is an overwhelming, though not "landslide", support for this measure among Dutch and foreigners actually living here (contrary to myths circulating, (legal) residents will also be able to register in clubs like Dutch residents). Every day, but particularly on weekends and all over summer, border towns get infested with people coming from Germany and Belgium to buy their drug fix. Possessions laws are lax on both countries, but there is no legal commerce there. We then have a huge problem, because most people coming to buy their fixes on Bergen op Zoom, Roosendal, Venlo, Enschede also drink a lot, which result in road accidents, bar brawls, loitering and some otherwise quite suburb having its local coffee shop stormed by dozens of foreign people coming all night. It is the prevalent opinion here that Netherlands should not be seen as a place to bear the burnt of hypocrite laws in Belgium, Germany and Luxembourg that allow consumption and small possession but not trade. I myself live in a college city 16km from Belgian border. I witness these problems on a daily basis. Near the central bus/train station, at night, it is easy to spot rowdy crowds of youngster Belgians waiting the first buses. The road to Belgian, a 50mph one, is one of the most dangerous in the country on weekends. To make matters worse, most of those foreigners coming for "drug tourism" in Amsterdam smoke a lot, far more than a regular Dutch person. This mean they get "stoned", and unruly. It is a common getaway for British and Scandinavian students to get a cheap flight Fri/Sat, spend the night smoking and drinking heavily, then catch another cheap flight back home the following day.

Posted by
12040 posts

One of the other arguments I also read in favor of tightening control is that the current situation has allowed a wonderful conduit for organized crime to flourish. I'm waiting for Mr. Steves to comment, I'm sure he'll accuse some right-wing scapegoats of scaremongering the population, rather than the failure of the policy itself.