Who needs Amsterdam when there’s Haarlem?

By Gina van den Bogaard

Does the idea of spending another Saturday night at Leidseplein in Amsterdam sound boring as hell to you? Feel like doing something different on a Thursday night, but not sure what? Then I invite you to take a 15 min train ride from Amsterdam to Haarlem!

Have you ever wanted to drink beer in a church? Then the Jopenkerk is the place for you! The Jopenkerk opened its doors in 2010 and since then it became a favorite for many Haarlem locals. You can compare the Jopenkerk to Brouwerij 't IJ in Amsterdam, as they both brew their own beer, except Haarlem version is in a beautifully refurbished church instead of a windmill. Try one of the many draft beers they have on offer, or enjoy dinner at their restaurant, where they serve top quality food, combined with – what a surprise! – their own brewed beers.


Feel like listening to some live music? Then I recommend Haarlem's Cafe Stiels, a bar where you can enjoy live music six nights a week. Their music ranges from soul and hip-hop to rock. If you love live music, Cafe Stiels is the place to find it in Haarlem. 

After some beers and live music, it’s time to get a bit more active. Therefore I invite you to Patronaat. You can compare this place most closely to Amsterdam's Paradiso, as they both offer live concerts and dance music. Feel like 80’s, 90’s, 00’s, dubstep or latin? You name it and they got it!


Does Patronaat with a capacity of ±1000 sound a bit too massive? Here’s another option: Club Stalker (inspired by the movie Stalker from Andrei Tarkovski), one of the oldest clubs in the country. You won’t find it easily, as the club is located in a small alley in the center of Haarlem. You can compare it to Amsterdam's Studio 80, although Stalker presents a more varied range of music. They love throwing dressing-up and disco parties besides their techno club nights.

Survived a whole night of drinking and dancing? Time for a recovery lunch! One of my personal favorites is de Overkant, a tiny cute lunch spot in (again!) a small alley in the center. You can compare their humorously named sandwiches like Beavis & Butthead or Bonnie & Clyde with Singel 404 in Amsterdam. If the bars, cafes and clubs weren't enough, a lunch at this place will definitely leave you wanting to come back to Haarlem again soon!

Gina is one of Party with a Local's premier Super Locals who loves to travel and meet locals as well as meet and party with travellers when she is at home in Haarlem (even travellers from as far as Amsterdam). Join her on Party with a Local

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