Utrecht bar guide

Words by Timo Janse

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Where to go if you are craving a good drink in Utrecht?

Utrecht has always been an interesting melting pot of students, businesses and locals. With over 340.000 inhabitants it is the fourth city of the Netherlands in size. In recent years there has been an explosion of quality bars, where things are taken very very seriously on the drinks end.

Combine this with some lovely scenery and you have a city you might not want to miss. Here are many of the highlights; are you missing your top spot? Feel free to email us and we will be sure to right this wrong at timo.janse@diffordsguide.com !

Want to plan your trip and see all of these on a map? Look no further!

Utrecht Cocktail Bars


A pleasant restaurant bar with an Arabic theme. The drinks program has quite some interesting things going on and it shows the people involved took things much more serious than most restaurants. Other restaurants should take note!

Behind Bars Cocktail

This gem has quickly positioned itself as the place for serious cocktail enthousiasts. Its owner, Marcel van der Ben, loves to do things his own way, and, looking at the massive spirit selection, his way is working out more than fine!


A brasserie with a slick but cozy french feel. The selection is rich with all the things we love about the French: Lillet, Calvados, eau de vie, and this shines through in the cocktails on offer as well. Sit back and relax.

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Het Gegeven Paard

It is always nice to see a rather large venue so close to a concert venue still caring about their offering, even though by sheer traffic they could get away with much less effort. In this case, a nice G&T selection and even a virgin cocktail selection.

La Cubanita

For those on a budget, or on a date where the investment is unlikely a wise idea for both parties, this successful all-you-can-eat tapas concept with a cuban theme might be the place to go.

The menu has a bit of a supermarket folder vibe to it, but with 5 euro Moscow Mules one has to remember their own student days. I for sure was not in the ability to drink "fancy" cocktails in those days, so the importance of introducing people to cocktails in the current day and age is a valid one!

Lucy Lou

Tequila is hot, and Mezcal is hotter. This South American street food themed establishment is more than buzz words, with some seriously good Mexican spirits on offer, and more importantly, what not to offer. It also is home to some knowledgeable friendly staff. Sip don't shoot!

Mr. Finch

This newer addition to the Utrecht Cocktail scene features some of the best of the best in bartending and it shows!

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Mr. Finch

Miyagi and Jones

This sizable establishment close to the train station has a wide appeal. Not in the least from the large bank office around the corner. But instead of the run-of-the-mill high end beer places, these guys have some seriously skilled people working and an amicable concept. Karate kid chop!

Proeflokaal Rubens

The haven for spirit lovers and geeks, this establishment is for many the must-visit of Utrecht. With more tastings and workshops than any bar i have ever heard of, knowledge is its reason for existence and has gathered quite the (local) following.


A refreshing new trend is the arrival of lunch places that serve great drinks as well. Rabarber is such a place, with a homely feel, serious fresh approaches in the kitchen and in their drinks approach. Who said it had to be past 5 o'clock to have a drink?

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The Street Food Club

By far the most trending venue of the list. This large venue has some bartending legends behind the stick, crazy experimental drinks, dj, food, and the largest opening hours i have seen in a long time.

Tiger Mama

You know care is given to the drinks when the website shows pictures of the cocktails before the dishes, and when the cocktail menu is presented before the wine. With two signature drinks from our very own Tess Posthumus it seals the deal. Time to dive in, order and enjoy!

Cafe Van Velsen

Any place that has a Scofflaw on their regular menu deserves a tip off the hat. This place can get exceedingly busy, might be best to arrive on time....


For many, this is the "original" cocktail bar of Utrecht. In recent times, some of the core team left to The Street Food Club around the corner (literally). However, we were assured things will remain the same. This bar has been doing many cocktails per night for a length of time and therefore has a dedicated following.

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