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a city by city guide to the best indie clubs, bars, record shops and local bands

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Capital of The Netherlands, most known for its Red Light District and the coffeeshop counterculture. But the city has much more of course. In the centre you've Leidse Plein and Rembrandt Plein with lots of pubs, discotheques, restaurants and coffeeshops. The famous venues Paradiso and Melkweg are situated near to Leidse Plein as well as the well-known Vondelpark, which is a convenient summer hang out. Next to the Vondelpark is the Museumplein with all the famous museums of the city gathered. Rijksmuseum (Rembrandt's paintings, etc), Stedelijk Museum (Modern Art), Cobra Museum, Van Gogh Museum and the Concertgebouw (classical music). A recommendation to have a nice city view is visiting the restaurant in Concertgebouw aan 't IJ, one of the city's most exciting new architectural buildings. Another cool spot it Brewerij 't IJ, in Amsterdam East, which is easy to find as it is an old mill. The city has a vivid dance culture as well as an indie rock related community with a wide range of smaller, more interesting clubs than the bigger well-known spots in the city. Also there are a few record stores and Europe's first and best comic book store Lambik, with a wide collection in Dutch, English and French language.


Paradiso, Weteringschans 6, 1017 SG, Amsterdam
Long-running Paradiso night that plays "an eclectic mix of hip hop, rock, dance, and electro", generally from The Clash and Nirvana to Fatboy Slim. They also host Classic Noodlanding at the Paradiso on Wednesdays, playing "classic hip hop, grunge and alt rock".

Kill All Hipsters
Club 8, Bitterzoet and Melkweg
Club playing "indie, electro, new rave and indietronica".

Amsterdam Beat Club
Various locations, check website
Cocktail of the very best vintage music. They promise: "Greasy Soul, Swingin' Sixties Sounds, Rhythm ‘n Blues, Horny-Hammond-Jazz, Beat, Twist à-GoGo, 60's Garage, Psych, YéYé, Steaming Ska, Exotica, Rock 'n Jive, and Cool Cover versions!"



Paradiso, Weteringschans 6, 1017 SG, Amsterdam
An old cathedral and one of the most beautiful venues in the world. Daily live performances in two halls. (cap.2000)

De Melkweg
Lijnbaansgracht 234-A, 1017 PH Amsterdam
Amsterdam's second prominent venue. Situated 500 meters from Paradiso. Also daily live shows in two concert halls. (cap1500)

Wibautstraat 127 1091 GL Amsterdam
Venue focused mainly on dance music, but hosts also indie rock nights with bands such as Liars, Deerhunter, Animal Collective (cap. 500)

Amstelveenseweg 134, 1075 Amsterdam
The most active former squat turned cultural centre in town. Lots of international touring punk, garage, riot grrrl and indierock bands. Bands like Lightning Bolt, The Ex.

Overtoom 301
Vereniging Eerst Hulp Bij Kunst, Overtoom 301, 1054 HW Amsterdam
Nearby the Vondelpark. Venue with live shows varying from indie, noise, experimental guitar orientated music to dance nights as well as workshops, movies, art performances and modern dance performances. Nice vegetarian restaurant included.

De Nieuwe Anita
Frederik Hendrikstraat 115, 1052 HN Amsterdam
Pub and venue in Amsterdam West and home of Subbacultcha! crew. Indie pop focused programming and a wonderful downstairs stage and cocktail bar.

Maloe Melo
Lijnbaansgracht 163, 1016 VX Amsterdam
Blue and rock cafe that also hosts some cool indie shows.

Sugar Factory
Lijnbaansgracht 238, 1017 PH Amsterdam
This is apparently a "cutting edge multi-disciplinary night theatre". Mostly dance music nights, but some soul and jazz nights too. Worth a look.

Studio K
Timorplein 62, 1094 CC Amsterdam
Pub, restaurant, venue and movie theater in Amsterdam East and partner of Kriterion.

Café Pakhuis Wilhelmina
Veemkade 576, 1019 BL Amsterdam
Leftfield sounds at this intimate venue.

Bimhuis/Muziekgebouw aan 't IJ.
Piet Heinkade 3, 1019 BR Amsterdam
Bimhuis programms avant garde jazz, such as Marc Ribot, Konono No1, Han Bennink. Muziekgebouw aan 't IJ is focused on modern classical music. Beautifull building to visit.


Roetersstraat 170, 1018 WE Amsterdam
Student movie theater and pub.

Marnixstraat 397 , Amsterdam
Cool drinking hole with loads of British indie seven inch singles on the wall behind the bar.


Café Brecht
Weteringschans 157, 1017 SE Amsterdam
Part living room, part eccentric museum exhibit, this bar themed around playwright Eugene Berthold Brecht, boasts a pre-war decor and furnishings to match. You'll also find board games, balls of wool and knitting needles, and a piano for some homemade entertainment.

Record Shops

Distortion Records.
Westerstraat 244, 1015 MT Amsterdam
Shop in West specialised in vinyl ranging from heavy experimental indie rock to electronic dance music. Lots of 7'' and 2nd hand. Large list of records on line, often not up to date, but giving a proper indication of the shop's point of view.

Second Life Music
Prinsengracht 366, Amsterdam
Second hand record shop in the centre of Amsterdam. Mostly vinyl, but some CDs too.

Utrechtsestraat 60, 1017 VP Amsterdam
Big store with a large used vinyl and CD department.

Amstel Antiques
Amstel 110, 1017 AD Amsterdam, closed Wednesdays
Vinyl emporium boasting 7000 albums, of all styles.

Record Friend
St. Antoniesbreestraat 64, 1011 HB Amsterdam
Another second hand record shop.

Record Palace
Weteringschans 33-A, 1017 RV Amsterdam
Second hand shop opposite the Paradiso.

Record Mania
Ferdinand Bolstraat 30
More second hand records.

Soul Food
Nieuwe Nieuwstraat 27C, Amsterdam
Soul specialists.

Rush Hour
Spuistraat 98, 1012 TZ Amsterdam
Shop and label focussing on electronic dance music

Local Bands


Naive Set
Harmony drenched four piece who've been compared to The Feelies and The Clean.

Pony Pack
Female fronted pop punk trio.

Moon And Sun
Spooky Scandinavian sounding trio, somewhere between Stina Nordenstam and Bat For Lashes.

Spilt Milk
Swoonsome folkish, female fronted indie pop, who describe themselves as drone folk. Debut album released on Subbacultcha.

Mike Koldin
Duo who make "free-floating ambient" electronica.

Four piece garage pop band.


Subbacultcha! is a promotion platform for independent music. Publisher of free monthly magazine with a gig agenda. Mag available on most spots mentioned above and in record stores. Hosts nights in several venues featuring bands such as HEALTH, Enon, Holy Fuck, No Age, These Are Powers, Marnie Stern, as well as local indie and noise rock acts. Online agenda available.

Kerkstraat 132, 1017 GP Amsterdam
Europe's first and most in depth comic book store, focused on underrground comics, graphic novels and avant-garde comics, with an exhibition area in the shop and lots of original art for sale. Comics in Dutch, English, French and other languages.

3 Voor 12
Dutch language blog about events in Amsterdam.

Main Amsterdam photograph © One Year In Amsterdam

If you'd like to recommend a club, bar, record shop, band or any indie delight for inclusion in the Indie Travel Guide, please email us. If we've included a link to your band/shop etc, it would be lovely if you could link back to us. Thank you!

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