Amsterdam is the capital of Cannabis culture. The city shares a long history with the drug and has come to accept the herb as a permanent resident. Under the drug policy of the Netherlands, the sale of cannabis plant and products in small quantities (typically under 5 grams) is allowed by licensed Coffeeshops. Each establishment is different in terms of ambience and atmosphere. Some sell amazing food and a variety of drinks (no alcohol), some offer great lounge spaces for groups or individuals, but something all of the Top 5 coffeeshops have in common is a selection of marijuana up for sale.
Whilst Amsterdam has roughly 250 coffeeshops to indulge in, it’s easy to get lost in the variety of selection and spend your time wandering aimlessly looking for ‘the right’ spot to smoke in. Nevertheless, there are some stand out coffeeshops in Amsterdam that you simply cannot miss out on. I’m going to run you through my Top 5 Coffeeshops I revisit every time I’m in the capital and why!
Remember, establishments are banned from advertising both in the media and online (to reduce drug influence), so some of the websites linked don’t reveal the addresses or are not official sites. Which is why many Amsterdam newcomers flock to the centre of it all, the Red Light District, where coffeeshops are more often than not overflowing with people looking for a seat. The Coffeeshop Directory outlines ALL of the coffeeshops throughout the Netherlands still open to tourists in 2017, including head-shops, smart-shops and grow-shops.
Before even stepping foot into Amsterdam; with the intention to smoke it’s famous marijuana, you should be aware of the strict rules Coffeeshops regulate under…
- No hard drugs – only marijuana products.
- No tobacco products – some places will have designated smoking areas for those looking to mix their joint with tobacco, but otherwise you’re recommended to smoke pure of with a mix of green-go which is provided on tables. Although, as someone who prefers to smoke with tobacco if you’re sneaky it’s sure to go unnoticed, most coffeeshops even turn a blind eye to the customers rolling as it doesn’t bother them… it’s just the law.
- No alcohol – the sale of alcohol is prohibited, and if smoking in Coffeeshops you’re often required to purchase a drink or food otherwise you’ll be asked to leave.
- Max. 5g sale per person.
- Strictly Over 18’s – often there is a security guard at the door checking all ID’s, even if you look or ARE 40 years old you’ll still be checked. Also note, some establishments refused to accept my UK provisional drivers licence, fortunately i always carried my passport with me.
Top 5 Coffeeshops in Amsterdam Central:
5. The ‘Bulldog’ Coffeeshop:
The Bulldog started selling weed in the 70s and has steadily grown into an international brand. You can find bulldog’s products across Europe and also in the United States. While the company has several locations around Amsterdam, its original and most frequented coffeeshop is in the centre of the Red Light District. This location is world famous and frequently visited by a host of celebrities. Inside the grungey outset, the interior is covered with vibrant art and graffiti, whilst also providing outside seating so guests can puff away alongside the canals.
However, during my first trip to Amsterdam my landlord told me to steer away from Bulldog. As it’s marijuana strains are referred to as the ‘McDonald’s of Cannabis’ in Amsterdam… I’m guessing what he meant by this is that it’s so popular that the brand is more focused on tourist income and customer turnover; as oppose to a quality experience. As mentioned before, Bulldog have a variety of coffeshops, hostel and restaurant establishments scattered around the city centre.
4. Prix d’Ami Coffeeshop:
Prix d’Ami is always the first coffee shop I venture too upon arriving in Amsterdam, since it is so conveniently close to the Central station. Most definitely the largest coffeeshop in Amsterdam, with three recently renovated floors, doubling as a coffeeshop, cafe and restaurant that serves delicious food. Personal opinion, eating at Prix d’Ami is divine; serving up hot food, cold food/deserts and a wide variety of drinks.
On the bottom floor there is some seating, a bar to buy drinks and also the only marijuana vendor in the building. Serving up edible space cakes and cookies, weed and hashish. On the second floor is two larger seating areas, equip with large leather sofas, flat screen TV’s all over the place and tables. The third floor is again similar, but with different seating styles, a movie room and a toilet. With so much to offer i can see why groups of tourists hoard to Prix d’Ami, to both eat AND smoke.
Upon entering the Coffeeshop, you’ll notice that security is no joke. Before smoking you must get past the bouncer, who checks ALL ID’s and bags before passing you through the metal detector. You may also leave your large bags downstairs under the protection of the bouncer, saving you lugging them around.
3. Grey Area:
Grey Area can be found in the heart of ‘Grachtengordel’ – Amsterdam’s canal ring, which is today a designated UNESCO World Heritage site. As you approach Grey Area, you’re likely to see a member of staff herding the line outside of the renowned Coffeeshop with a spliff at hand, enforcing the strict 1 in 1 out policy. The cramped, shoe-box like shop also sports the punk, grungey theme much like Bulldog, with stickers and watermarks parading the walls. On one side of the cluttered box is a small bar, with seats and rolling materials; whilst on the other a few tables and chairs. If you’re lucky enough to visit Grey Area and enter without queuing, the staff are extremely friendly (as there is often 4 or 5 vibezing behind the counter) and the atmosphere is so relaxed you should definitely stay for one.
Aside from the popularity and interior design, the buds found in Grey Area are some of the most phenomenal and exclusive in town. Hence why they have won multiple Cannabis Cup and Amsterdam Unity Cup awards over the last 15 years. Grey Area is run by a team of American born marijuana specialised experts who extensively sample and test their products before they hit the market, ensuring it is of the highest quality. Although note that due to this, the prices for a gram range from €11 to €20 and above! In conclusion, if you’re looking for some fire buds to take back to you’re apartment or explore the vibrant city with, Grey Area is your place! Although, if you and a group of friends are looking for a coffeeshop to sink your tired legs into Grey Area is not your best option…
2. Barney’s Coffeeshop:
Barney‘s is built inside of a 500-year-old townhouse in Amsterdam’s Westerpark neighbourhood. Its owners have been selling cannabis for decades and have established several other Barney’s around the district. While these other locations have a more modern feel, the original site is like a weed shrine for tourists, hundreds of which visit daily. In response, Barney’s employs a dedicated staff of cannabis experts to help its guests navigate the menu, making it a great place to sample Amsterdam’s best strains. Much like Grey Area some view the prices per gram at Barney’s as astronomical, but for such high quality and demand it is worth it.
Barney’s reputation truly does speak for itself, a clear candidate for this ‘Top 5 Coffeeshops’ review! The coffeeshop is immaculate and the staff are so attentive, smart and friendly. If you have the opportunity to relax inside the walls, be sure to order some food and/or Milkshakes which are out of this world! Barney’s, much like Green House offer one of the best breakfast’s in Amsterdam, which are sure to fill you up and set you off for the day. I cannot rate Barney’s highly enough!
1. Green House Coffeeshop:
Rounding up the Top 5 Coffeeshops in Amsterdam; just down the road from Barney’s, Green House United Coffeeshop is also located in the Westerpark region of Amsterdam. The newest shop in the Green House family, they claim to have the best Stoner food in town, with a full kitchen offering high quality food, and healthy drinks. The prices for which remain relatively cheap, supposedly because it’s new location is outside of the Red Light District territory. Just have a look at the Green House United website equip with a full Menu for breakfast, lunch and dinner! Note that to sit down you are required to purchase food or drinks, even a €3 bottle of coke will do…
In terms of seating and cosiness, the Green House Coffeeshop cruises in at number one, with a front section and hidden back room. Large wooden tables and comfortable, king like furnishing allows for a comfortable smoke with friends. Even for non-smokers the cafe would appeal, as it doesn’t have the typical dark and dingy feel but instead bright and open. The most prominent feature being the glass floor, with a koi pond underneath!
Again sporting multiple Cannabis Cup winning buds, Greenhouse generally has a good quality menu, with well known strains. Like Super Silver Haze, and some very strong hash. The Greenhouse is one the few places in Amsterdam to have a coffeeshop and seed company, meaning you can try it and then buy some seeds if you want, which seemed to appeal to alot of customers.
To any readers who have got this far, I thankyou and wish you a pleasant trip to Amsterdam (if you’re travelling there). In the last 4 years I have travelled to the Netherlands 4 times, soon to be double-digits I’m sure! Be sure to check out more content on Weary and Wandering, also subscribe to the blog for email updates!