Cocktail bars of Rotterdam

Words by Timo Janse

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Having won numerous awards, both for individual bartenders as “best of the country”, and bars as well in the past five years in particular, Rotterdam has a lot going on.

This city has a vibrant nightlife, and some really nice views to boot. Here are 14 of its best bars!

As always, we include a map for your next cocktail safari of all the places mentioned as well - here.


A self-proclaimed neo-tiki bar, this breezy bar & street food restaurant opened as recent as 2017. Low-key come-as-you-are vibe with tongue-in-cheek fun. The Baco -Bacardi & cola for the non-Dutch- list is laugh out loud hilarious, and the drinks are tasty.


This bar & restaurant is situated extremely central and has a Mediterranean market vibe.
The drinks are serious with some of the best bartenders and intense infusion and home-made approach.

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This is not a cocktail bar, however with 162 gins listed currently it will appeal to most drink mixers. Most of them are listed on the website with an explanation and picture; pretty impressive in fact!

Black Smoke

This collaboration between Belgium mogul Kasper Stuart, who has his fair share of fans in The Netherlands as well, with BBQ guru Jord Althuizen definitely brought some exciting smoke to the city! Situated in the former firs station of the Van Nelle factory, expect a Mundial meat cave combining Latin, South African and Japanese cuisine with well-thought drinks.

Café LaBru

A relaxed bar with unexpected depth in its selection of spirits and cocktails. Puts much effort in art exhibitions and live music too.

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The newest place on the list, this bar is a collaboration between the Dr. (see below) and the
Sate-man, delivering Indonesian food and drinks in a new jacket.


Perhaps the highest ranked bar of the city, this speakeasy is themed around prescriptions, health and vintage pharmacy settings to arrive at a very immersive experience. Please make sure to make an appointment beforehand and take special heed of the house rules and you will certainly have an experience you won’t forget lightly.

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Doorbell at Dr.

Hotel NHOW

Any bar that has a “Haakse Slijper” on the menu knows A thing or two about drinks. In this bar with a view you can expect quite a fruity approach. And with 7 of the 18 drinks without alcohol there is certainly plenty to enjoy for the alcohol-free spirit, the strongest growing category of the moment.

Mad Mick’s Breakaway

This bar opened in 1993, which makes visiting it as much a pilgrimage as an enjoyable time. It was the first flair cocktail bar of the country and continues to go strong because of its smart operating standards and crack team of both experienced and young energetic bartenders.

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Perhaps one of the most likeable bars of the city. This bar won best bar AND best bartender of the country in previous years and its high-energy approach is truly infectious. If you are in for a party this might be your perfect destination.

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NY Basement

If it is elegance you seek, this basement has it in spades. Situated in an iconic building from which the ships left for New York in the past, this well-kept gem will impress. A serious cocktail menu is paired with sleek design and fine dining, making it a popular destination for dates of all ages.

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NY basement

Restaurant Goud

TV-chef Herman den Blijker & Nick de Kousemaeker work together in creating this restaurant themed around Gold. For the drinks, they have recruited the help of Dr. Rotterdam (see above), ensuring for quality cocktails in line with the food, something perhaps more high profile restaurants should do.

Restaurant Kite

This restaurant serving Afghan cuisine turned some of its attention to drinks with great success. Using their knowledge in spices, their bar creates some great drinks using homemade shrubs and infusions.

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Restaurant Kite

George Cocktailbar (Scharrels & Schuim)

Located on the first floor of Scharrels & Schuim, a chicken and craft beer restaurant, is this cocktail bar with a Gin & Tonic aim. However, the team here deserves much more praise, being both active on the cocktail competition front and in the creativity for your drinks, both classic and contemporary.

Spikizi Bar

With a quirky design, this bar is not a speakeasy as the name might suggest. It is more of a “Hidden in plain sight” affair, where the bar is situated in a side street of the popular Witte de With street. All in all a laidback affair with a diverse music offering and ditto crowd.


Latin-American street food styled, this restaurant boasts quite the extensive cocktail menu as well. Immensely popular, it also includes A whopping amount of 9 shared drinks as well for groups.

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