Gaylinc’s 2014 terraces test

Cocktail @ cafe Prik
Cocktail @ cafe Prik

Summer in the city and you are strolling around the beautiful canals and streets of Amsterdam. The sun is shining brightly and you are getting thirsty and peckish. What is the best place to sit down in the sun, have a good drink and watch the world go by. With this scenario in mind we set out on a Sunday afternoon and checked out the best LGBT outdoor terraces in Amsterdam. We checked them out on the basis of location, service, offerings and LGBT character. The results of our 2014 Amsterdam LGBT terraces test you can read here. And this year’s winner is…

The Amsterdam LGBT scene has a limited outdoor pub life. Most bars are located on streets with small side walks and none are located on squares. This gives them little spaces to work with, however most bars without outdoor terraces have solved this with big windows where you can sit and watch the world go buy. Few places (like the Web) have inner court yards or roof-top terraces. These didn’t meet one of our criteria: watch the world go by. So we didn’t put them on the list for this test. So here are the results of our 2014 test.

For addresses and locations, have a look on our Gay Map of Amsterdam.

1. Prik

Waiter @ cafe Prik
Waiter @ cafe Prik

Nobody is perfect, but Prik does a pretty damn good job getting close to it. The terrace is not huge, but has enough space. In the afternoon it has enough sun and there is enough traffic in the street to use this spot as a place to watch people go by. Strong points of Prik are the excellent service, the good cocktails and the great buzz the staff are able to create. We were visiting on the day Prik celebrated its 8th anniversary. They had turned the outdoor terrace into a tropical beach, with a bubble bath and waiters dressed in swim wear. The bar attracts a mainly gay audience, mostly 20 and 30 somethings.

Score: 9½ out of 10 points

2. Downtown

Outdoor seating @ Cafe Downtown
Outdoor seating @ Cafe Downtown

Downtown is blessed with a spacious outdoor terrace in the pedestrian street next to the premises. It has a lot of sunshine during the day and is a pleasant stopover between the Flower market and the busy shopping streets of Leidsestraat and Kalverstraat. Downtown is a lunchroom which has survived the boom and bust days of the Amsterdam gay scene. The menu is adequate, but not spectacular: the usual breakfast and lunch fair. Drinks are mostly coffees, teas and juices, with some light alcoholic beverages like beer. As one of the main stays in Amsterdam gay life, it attracts a mostly gay crowd. Like the terrace of Dvars in the same street: it is a good place to enjoy the gay men parade.

Score: 8 out of 10 points

3. De Engel

Outdoor cafe of cafe De Engel
Outdoor cafe of cafe De Engel

The outdoor terrace of De Engel is small and narrow, so places are hard to come by. The location of De Engel more than makes up for this. It is located in the picturesque and popular Zeedijk street and in late the afternoon the sun is blessing this terrace with ample light. So sit back and enjoy the view of old Amsterdam houses and the hustle and bustle of the mostly pedestrian Zeedijk. The guests are mostly 40/50 year old bears drinking a beer. The atmosphere is definitely cruisy. Service is basic, but friendly.

Score: 8 out of 10 points

4. Dvars

Cafe Dvars outdoors
Cafe Dvars outdoors

This small terrace is placed on the shadow side of the well known Reguliersdwarsstraat. Just off the busy shopping streets, you can use this terrace to cool down. The terrace only offers high tables with bar stools with no backs. So it’s either standing or balancing while not trying to spill your cocktail. The service is excellent, with a free class of scented water while you look through the menu of cocktails, other drinks and finger food. The cocktails are good and they try to accommodate your specific menu wishes. The crowd is not very gay or lesbian, mostly young urban professionals and their straight friends. At late afternoon and in the evening you can however enjoy the parade of mostly gay men walking by.

Score: 7½ out of 10 points

5. Vivelavie

Outdoor cafe of Vivelavie
Outdoor cafe of Vivelavie
Unfortunately Vivelavie was closed on the day we tested the terraces. Vivelavie is edged in the corner the busy Rembrandt square, with trams and cars just driving by a few feet from the edge of the terrace. Surrounded by houses this terrace is on the one side quite cosy, but to our taste a bit too dark. As Vivelavie is one of the few lesbian bars in Amsterdam, this terrace is the only outdoor place in Amsterdam to cater mainly for the lesbian scene.

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