There is a certain charm about dive bars. They are living relics, continuously maintained time capsules. Christmas decorations from seasons ago, pictures of patrons no longer living, and you yourself are now there taking part in it, this living museum piece. Yet in Amsterdam this longevity and charm exists but the beer is often much better & the relics are barrels that once held Cognac and Genever.
Family run since 1877, Oosterling is one of the few, if not only place to be grandfathered in to have both on & off premise licences. Other places are strictly a bar or retail shop. It very much still functions that way, with people running in to grab their rum and cola to drink at home. It has a decent beer list, but what really grabbed me was the amount of Genever and Dutch bitters available. The backbar is this awkward melange of retail and fast pour bottles, little seating and a neighborhood vibe.
Really cool spot and far enough away from the British crowds.
Café Slijterij Oosterling
Utrechtsestraat 140, 1017 VT Amsterdam, Netherlands
Sun 1–8PM, Mon-Wen 3PM–12AM, Thu-Sat 12PM–1AM