Bars, cafes & pubs can be found all around the city center. You can find a lot of bars clustered together in the Oude Doelensteeg (also known as pub street), Ruiterskwartier and Grote Hoogstraat. Below we show you our favourite local bars, cafes and pubs in Leeuwarden. These are cafes where you can sit down, relax and have a talk together.
Recommended by Koos Romkes: De Stroohoed at the Eewal is the kind of place that never seems to change. When you enter, there’s a heavy red curtain behind the door, the kind you have quite a struggle with when you leave the place long after last orders. Once inside you can’t help but notice the big long bar with a bartender that seems to blend into the background. There’s two reasons you will notice him and that’s because it is the kind of place where they greet you upon entering and when leaving and, most importantly, he serves you the best beer you had in quite a while. Don’t expect him to fling a bottle behind his back nor will you get your drink on a fancy, though always soaked, napkin. What you will get however is a carefully tapped beer with a good brew head, the way the Europeans like it.
The music is on the background and there’s a fair chance you’ll hear the old exhaust system on the wall near the billiard better. Life goes by slowly in this pub but that’s all the better since you’ll need your time to pick one of their many special brews. There’s always something a little different on tap and the variety of bottled beers is enormous. This is where the bartender comes in handy again. He can guide you to find the beer that you never knew you wanted to try. After a few questions he’ll give you some interesting options of unheard beers from breweries worldwide.
But if you really want to go back in time you should try the jenevers. Don’t expect to get an English gin, something not to be drunk without tonic, if you ask me. The Dutch gin, jenever, is something else completely. The old ones are as refined in taste as some of the good whisk(e)ys (of which they have many too). So if you really want to imagine yourself in the fifties, order a nice old jenever after you tried one of their beers. Carefully sipping your drink you’ll enjoy your moment of mindfulness in an early retro environment. De Stroohoed is the place to be for anyone who has a little time to spare.
De Stroohoed I Bars, cafes & pubs Eewal 72-b (Show on map)
Open: Tue-Sat 19:30-0:00
When you open the door of Cafe de Spoek you will see a dimly lit pub, that has beautiful seventies lights and an olive green wall on which you will see pictures from the Beatles, The Stones, Jimi Hendrix and Triggerfinger. An atmosphere that is appreciated by many members of the cultural scene of Leeuwarden from which many belong to the regular customers. The pub serves Jupiler beer on tap and has occasionally live music or poets performing. A line on the wall by Gerry Garcia probably sums up the relaxed mood of most of it’s customers: ‘It’s much too late to do anything about Rock ’n Roll’.
Cafe de Spoek I Bars, cafes & pubs
Location: Sint Jacobsstraat 29
Open: Mon-Tue 15:00-01:00, Thurs-Sat 15:00 – 02:00 & Sun 15:00 – 23:00
‘Small and cosy like the living room of a single man on age’ is how the local newspaper (LC) once described the atmosphere in this pub. From the outside, it just looks like a regular house. The light above the door, with the Amstel beer logo and the word lampie (small light), gives away that this is not just a regular house. Since the 1920’s, this place has been the local pub for people in the neighbourhood. In those years, it was the place for rough sailors and labourers who liked to drink and sometimes even got paid in the pub. Those times are long gone, but some of those customers are still there. It makes Bierhuis Lampie one of those local pubs that you just have to visit once. You can find it just outside the canals that surround the inner city.
The Rooster is a typical Dutch cafe with the cosy, casual atmosphere of a brown cafe. The Dutch will call it gezellig. All the tables have a tablecloth, an ashtray (yes, you can smoke here) and sometimes even fresh flowers. Beer is served in bottles and you have a choice between Amstel or Heineken. Owners Agnes and Tamme will make you feel at home. Typical Dutch music is played here and sometimes a local customer will even sing a song for you.
An evening at the Rooster is not complete without a game of spijkerslaan. This is an old fashioned game in which you have to hit a nail in a tree trunk as fast as possible. In the middle of the pub, you will find a big trunk. In your turn, you are allowed to hit the hammer once. Girls are aloud to hit twice every round. The person who wins has to pay for the nails (0,25 eurocent a piece). The person finishing last will have to pay for the next round of beer.
Cafe the Rooster I Bars, cafes & pubs
Bij de put 6 (show on map)
Open: Mon – Sun 16:00 – 1:00