Imagin Amsterdam

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Last weekend we decided to try out the special gin pop-up bar IMAGIN in Amsterdam. Gin is starting to become a big hype in Amsterdam and this bar, opened only for the month of august seems to be a popular place for gin lovers to enjoy their gintonics.

The bar is located on the top floor of the Roses Cantina and you need a reservation to get inside. The eye catching decor is the first thing you notice when you enter. Sponsored by Bombay Sapphire , the bar’s electic theme seems to be inspired by the Indian spice route, vintage movies and Pirates of the Carribean!

The menu only uses Bombay Sapphire gin and has some imaginative cocktail names. I found it to be good value at 10 euro per cocktail because in Amsterdam its difficult to find a good gintonic under 15 euro. The gintonics also passed the taste test, although I found it strange that the ice-cubes were crushed and not whole in the glass as this changes the taste of the gintonic.

While it was a nice evening out with friends, I won’t be returning to Imagin for two reasons. Firstly because the music is too loud. I felt like I was in a club and had to raise my voice to speak to the person next to me. This could be a nice place to have drinks before you go partying, but the concept of a sophisticated gin bar and loud clubbing music just didn’t work for me. Secondly, while the service started off good, by the end of the night I was really disappointed. The hostess came to ask us if we wanted a last round while we had just received our drinks and they were still full.  A few minutes later, I asked one of the barmen if I could still order a drink since I knew it would take time to make and I would be finished with my first one by then. He said “No  it’s not possible because we already made an exception for someone else”. I found this excuse really poor because it was the first time I asked and he made an exception for someone else anyway. I was particularly annoyed when I looked at the bar later and saw the barman mixing more cocktails. The waitress came over soon after and put the printed bill on the table. It was obvious that they just wanted to rush people out of there.

The bill had  a note on the bottom saying “Service not included”.  That’s certainly true.

 

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Cafe Edel

 

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Cafe Edel  is famous  for their Edelweiss parties, where young professionals gather for after work drinks. Its such a popular event and it gets so crowded that the queue usually extends out onto the street.

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Cafe Edel is located at a meeting point of 3 canals and the fantastic wrap around terrace ensures you always have sunshine at anytime of the day.

 

I can definately recommend the Gin & Tonic cocktail ( Hendricks gin with Fevertree tonic and cucumber)

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Inside, you can fall in love with the 50’s inspired vintage decor. The restaurant also serves a varied and delicious menu.

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Bo Cinq

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Bo Cinq is a usual hang out spot for expats in the city and is run by the owners of Jimmy Woo night club. With a focus on contemporary design, there is a great use of light and space in the bar and the restaurant area. The food is good but pricey and despite the small dishes meant to share, the waitress wouldn’t acknowledge that the concept its similiar to Tapas! The Gin & Tonics are excellent, the bar tenders are good looking and the lounge music will ensure you have a great girls night out.

 

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Tales and Spirits

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Tales and Spirits is wonderful bar in the old centre of Amsterdam next to red light windows. The cocktail menu is quite good and contains such gems such as “Ouwe Hoeren” and “Little Miss Trouble”. The bar snacks are really good and I recommend the crunchy chicken, which is served in a take-away Asian food box with chopsticks. I especially enjoyed he Gin Lane cocktail made from the Botanist gin with delicious flavours of cinnamon.

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Bar Oldenhof

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I really enjoy finding special hidden bars in Amsterdam.  Bar Oldenhof in my opinion is the king of speak easy bars in the city. Hidden behind a completely non-descript window, you would never know one of the city’s best bars is located there. I went for cocktails with one of my best girl friends. We arrived and rang the doorbell and the stylish bartender kindly let us in. The decor is original vintage, giving you the feeling that time has stood still in this bar. The cigar lounge is located upstairs and downstairs you can settle into the beautiful leather arm chairs and savour the special cocktails. The gin tonic I drank in this bar is one of the priciest at 18 euro, but also the best one I have tried in Amsterdam. This is a phenomenal bar and you must visit it.

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Mystique

 

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A former colleague gave me the tip about Mystique and I have to say that this stylish bar although situated close to the touristic Rembrandtplein feels intimate and hidden away. The bar is situated below the restaurant of the same name. The combination of the attentive barmen, luxury decor (a warm glowing fire place and huge leather couches) and exceptional cocktails make Mystique a very special bar indeed. My drink of choice here is the very well prepared Bombay Sapphire 10 year old with grape fruit. Mystique also serves the best borrel snacks in Amsterdam, their waffle fries with jalapenos and melted cheese is mouth watering.  The spare ribs are also divine. They have a oyster special most days during the week and the restaurant is perfect for intimate group dinners.

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HPS (Hiding in Plain Sight)

I first discovered this amazing bar in 2011. You really have to look for it, as it is hidden away in a quiet part of Amsterdam just east of centre. The effort is worth it, because once inside you can appreciate the vintage 20’s style decor, chemical equations scribbled on the walls and old fashioned sparkling crystal glasses used to serve the cocktails. Hiding in plain sight has been voted the best bar in the Netherlands and it lives up to this honour. Their unique style of making cocktails happily keeps us returning to sample their concoctions. The cocktails are relatively expensive, however, unlike most bars in the Netherlands, they serve generous amounts of alcohol in their cocktails and for the special experience in the bar, its completely worth it. I enjoyed an amazing gin tonic in HPS.

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Razmataz

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A friend took me to Razmataz Bar for the first time a few months ago and this has become my favourite place to drink a gin tonic in the city. If you thought that gin tonics are restricted to  just Hendricks or Bombay Sapphire, then you would be in for a surprise here. They have a menu of 33 different types of gin and 5 different types of tonic water.  This is nice because certain gins are better suited to specific flavours of tonic. Given their extensive selection and the cute barmen who look like they are having so much fun creating their cocktails, I am always impressed each time I visit Razmataz. My favourites include the Ish gin served with pomegranate and orange. I also love the clean crisp taste of Swedish gin Herno served with fennel . Razmataz is a must visit bar in Amsterdam if you are passionate about gin tonics. The decor is warm and inviting with couches to chill and enjoy their cocktails.

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