A recent weekend to Amsterdam meant I had to pop along to this well known whisky bar that had been recommended to me by several people. Located in the southern canal district between the high culture of the Rijksmuseum and the Leicester Square-esque tourist trap of boozy Leidesplein, Whisky Café L&B (no idea what the L&B is supposed to stand for) is definitely a must have for any one who enjoys a dram or two.
The main space is dominated by the central bar leaving very little room for the punters. On our visit mid way through Friday evening the place was rammed and we had to gingerly squeeze our way between the people sat at the bar to our left and those sat by the wall to our right. The whisky selection appeared to be distributed throughout the bar – behind it, over it, on it with various cabinets lining the walls full of more bottles. The bar had a lovely intimate atmosphere of low light and dark wood, one of those bars that despite being busy and full of people enjoying themselves on a weekend night out you still manage to sink into and relax. The Dutch actually have a specific word for what I can only describe in English as “bar cosiness” – Gezellig and Whisky Café L&B was certainly dishing out a fair bit of Gezellig.
We quickly found some seats at the bar and were handed the menu of Whiskies. I had heard that this bar had a very large collection of whiskies and I’d seen an impressive array upon our arrival but I wasn’t quite prepared for the sheer numbers of drams on offer. The list was bewildering in its scale (1801 whiskies apparently) and I just didn’t know where to start. I knew I had to study the menu carefully in case I missed out on a true gem of a whisky hidden in the huge list but I only had a couple of hours!
Prices range from 7 or 8 Euros upwards for a 35ml measure. Most seemed to come in at around 15 to 20 Euros but there were loads of affordable whiskies on offer and plenty to go for if you really felt like treating yourself. All the staple whiskies were represented alongside loads of hard to find independent bottlings. I had a rare independent bottling of Glendronach from Single Malts of Scotland, a Cadenheads bottling of Glen Keith and a young Laphroaig bottled by Exclusive Malts. There were also other spirits on offer and a couple of good Dutch beers on tap and in bottles.
I would definitely recommend paying Whisky Café L&B a visit if you ever find yourself in Amsterdam and have even a passing interest in whisky. It’s a great bar with a convivial atmosphere and the staff were very friendly and knowledgeable. It’s also handily placed next door to an excellent Dutch beer bar called Café de Spuyt.
Whisky Café L&B, Korte Liedsedwarsstraat 82-84. Open Sunday – Thursday 8pm – 3am Friday and Saturday 8pm – 4am.