Staying out late and getting drunk with friends is perhaps the most popular sport in Holland. Yes, far more Dutch people get drunk than use other drugs! Brown pubs are everywhere and serve as the center of social life for many Dutch people. These cozy, smokey bars have a lot of charm and are a great way to mingle with the locals.
If you're a beer fan, you've come to the right city to indulge yourself.
Amsterdam is the home of several great beers including the world's #2 seller, Heineken. And their old brewery is one of the best places to get sloshed as they let you drink all you can in half an hour at the end of the tour. It's probably just as well that they limit you since more time would result in some serious complications, no?
Other great beer companies from Amsterdam and Holland are Amstel (named after the river), Grolsch and Orangeboom. If that's not enough variety many pubs also serve a selection of excellent Belgian beers, and of course the ubiquitous Corona and other international beers are available.
However, if you're expecting German size beer steins, you're going to be disappointed since the famous Dutch stingyness comes through in the form of tiny beer glasses. Unlike the British who fill 'er up and wipe away the excess foam, much of that glass will contain suds. So if you're intending to drink your way into oblivion, you should request a large beer or half-liter which will set you back around 3.50 €uros or so.
If you're adventurous, you can always try another Dutch favorite, Jenever (Gin) made from juniper berries. It's quite strong flavorwise and takes some getting used to. There are many kinds of Jenever and pubs that specialize in this kind of fire water.
Wines from all over Europe are on the menu everywhere, French, Italian, Spanish, German, you name it, and the prices are reasonable.
On nice summer days you'll see many Dutch floating down canals on all sorts of boats having fun partying and getting drunk. If you ever get a chance to join one of these, don't miss it!
Actually drunkeness is a serious problem in Holland and the police will treat it very serious if you are found drinking and driving. Don't do it! Alcoholism is also a major health problem, far more so than illegal drug addiction (yes alcohol is a drug too). So if you're a major league alcoholic (come on, admit it, why else would you be reading this?), why not try some marijuana while you're here? It's much healthier, gets you just as wasted, and you won't have a big hangover the next day.
Now Amsterdam police are enforcing the law against drinking on the streets. You cannot carry an open alcoholic beverage while walking or hanging out on the street. So do your drinking in a pub or restaurant or coffeeshop or on their patios.
I recently got to watch a police officer make a public spectacle out of a few tourists who were walking around drinking from Heineken cans. The officer grabbed the cans, slammed them down on the sidewalk, stomped on them, held them up (for the large crowd that had stopped to see), then drained off the remaining beer into the street. Then he spent the next five minutes lecturing everyone about the law...
Note:If your idea of a night on the town involves bar hopping and drinking as much booze as you can, you've come to the right place!
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