It must be said right away: in Amsterdam, and in Northern Europe in general, the most popular music scene is not the rock scene but the electronic one. For the lovers of that genre, there are dozens of clubs, festivals and parties. The rock scene is less popular and you need to search a little bit more to find good venues, but the city has excellent clubs where you can listen good music.
These clubs are great options to go to enjoy a concert or a good djset (often in vinyl). Of course, these are not all the rock clubs in the city, but these are my favorites and those I recommend.
Pacific Parc – Polonceaukade 23
It was the first club that I discovered when I moved to Amsterdam and I immediately fell in love with it. It is located inside Wester Park and is a rock club with a large dancefloor that hosts garage, rockabilly and alternative rock dj-sets, often preceded by live concerts of local bands. Next to the main room there is a space with tables and a large fireplace to sit and talk. The environment is very friendly and relaxed and it stays open until late. Admission is almost always free, apart for special events or concerts. As in most Dutch clubs you drink almost exclusively beer and you need to remember to bring with you some cash if you plan to have a nice “rock night” because it is one of the very few places in Amsterdam where you can’t pay with a credit card but only in cash or with the tokens that you can buy using a kind of cash machine next to the bar.
Melkweg -Lijnbaansgracht 234A
Together with Paradiso it is one of the most iconic and famous clubs in the city. It is located in the center, at Leidseplein, inside a former factory and represents a successful example of recovery of industrial architecture. Now the structure houses two large dancefloors where are organized important concerts and rock and electronic events, an exhibition space and a restaurant.
Paradiso – Weteringschans 6-8
It does not happen every day to go dancing in an ex-church, unless you live in Amsterdam. Born as a club in the late 60s in the middle of the hippie era, today it is still one of the most important and well-known clubs in the city. It is located in the center of Leidseplein and has a very varied events calendar and prices ranging from 15€ upwards.
OT301- Overtoom 301
Born as a squat occupied in the 90s, now has been completely renovated by the squatters who bought it and converted into a club. Today it is one of the best venues of the underground scene and an important artistic and cultural experimentation center. The building is located at the side of Vondelpark on Overtom at number 301, hence the name. Absolutely not touristic, it hosts rock concerts but also dub and reggae nights as well as exhibitions, film festivals and workshops.
Maloe Melo- Lijnbaansgracht 163
Small and intimate place dedicated to rock blues. It hosts live concerts every day until late at night. Admission normally costs 5€, money well spent to listen great music in an environment that allows you to get in touch with the musicians. The stage is practically at the level of the dancefloor and you find yourself to attend the concerts half a meter away from whom plays. I used to go to Maloe Melo at the end of the night to finish the “classic triplet” composed by Sound Garden, Niewe Anita and then precisely Maloe Melo until closing. In fact, all three clubs are very close to each other, in the west part of the city, and in a few minutes by bike you can move from one place to another.
De Niuewe Anita – Frederik Hendrikstraat 111
It’s a very cool place where you can go to listen great live music or dance on the notes of nice dj-sets, usually in vinyl. It has two floors, in the downstairs room you can dance while above you can sit to have a few beers with friends in a 70s style atmosphere. Born as a squat it is now a club that still retains the experimental dimension of the hippie period. Admission usually costs 7€. It does not stay open until late, the music in the dancefloor ends at 2 AM and then you can stay a while in the part with the tables near the entrance.
Waterhole – Korte Leidsedwarsstraat 49
It is located in Leidseplein one of the most touristy areas of the city so the customers are definitely less local than in the other clubs mentioned before. Nevertheless the Waterhole is a fun club where you can go and have a few beers listening to live music and it’s a place where it’s easy to meet new people – maybe groups of people on holiday – to dance and enjoy the night. Every night several bands plays until late at night. Most are local bands playing covers of rock classics. Admission costs 2€ and includes the wardrobe.
Bourbon Street – Leidsekruisstraat 6-8
It is a small club in a side street of Leidseplein where there is live music every day until late at night. Admission is free until 10.30 pm and afterwards you pay 5€. It’s always quite crowded but it’s worth making a jump because on the stage there are always good musicians performing.
In this map you can see where the clubs are located (blue star) while in green you can see what I think are the best bars in the city.