Enjoying Bitterballen & A Beer at Cafe de Sluyswacht

Of course, not all travel experiences have to be about seeing the favourite paintings, going to the top rated destinations, or snapping photos of world-famous monuments. Indeed, a number of my favourite travel memories include remembering the sights, smells, and sounds of a certain place, not to mention sampling the neighborhood food! Cafe de Sluyswacht are available across the De Oude Schans canal and it is an ideal destination to enjoy Bitterballen and a beer following a day of sightseeing…

Address | Jodenbreestraat 1, 1011 NG Amsterdam, Netherlands

A brief good reputation for Cafe de Sluyswacht

Once upon a period, the bar and brasserie that is now Cafe de Sluyswacht began life like a keeper’s cottage. All slanting walls, wooden beams, uneven stone floors, and precariously perched over the very fringes of the water, the building itself dates back to the 17th-century (1695 if we’re being precise!).

Head inside, and you’ll soon spy the interior is split over two levels, with a narrow ladder-like staircase separating the nostalgic bar in the intimate seating upstairs. In the summer months, there’s sprawling outdoor terraced seating which spills into the nearby square.

But don’t worry, there’s still always lots of space inside for when it rains (such is the situation with the temperamental weather that’s so synonymous with the town!) The Eastern Amsterdam Café is known as ‘Sluyswacht’ for the man who'd have once controlled the encompassing St Anthony’s lock, a lock that itself was installed in the turn from the 17th-century.

During its day, the lock would have served several purposes; to help keep out unwanted would-be invaders and also to control water levels. Today, Cafe de Sluyswacht has been serving locals and tourists alike for well over two decades, providing plenty of happy memories through the side of Amsterdam’s widest canal. Browse the cafe website for more directions!

Tasting Bitterballen for that first time

When I asked my friends and family for recommendations during our Amsterdam visit, I had been met with some suggestions over and over again: sample the local beer and tell me what you believe of the Bitterballen! Well, for all those not in the know, Bitterballen really are a quintessentially Dutch speciality which are basically Dutch meatballs.

Luckily, for that non-meat-eaters, Cafe de Sluyswacht also delivers vegan Bitterballen that are just as tasty. Both types of Bitterballen are served with a spicy mustard-like sauce (though we’re still unsure as to whether we preferred the meals without or with the sauce!) Other delights found only at that famous Amsterdam pub include wit bier (white beer), and mouth-watering cheese platters.

Visit Museum Het Rembrandthuis

Nearby, be sure to check out Rembrandt’s former residence, quite literally on the opposite side of the spacious square in the Sluyswacht bar. Also worth noting is that the oldest recorded painting of St Anthony’s Lock is actually by Rembrandt van Rijn!

The house is easily among the best small museums in Amsterdam and dates all the way to the 17th-century when it served because the home, office, and studio of the world-famous Dutch painter. Today, the shuttered windows of this sloping house is home to an accumulation of drawings and paintings by Rembrandt, as well as artefacts from his time. Check prices and further information for visiting Rembrandt’s House here.

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