Europe, Netherlands, Travellers

Local’s Guide to Rotterdam Nightlife

Going out in the Netherlands? Amsterdam, move over. It’s time for a local’s guide to Rotterdam nightlife.

Did you know that Rotterdam is one of the most vibrant cities in the Netherlands? In recent years there has been an explosive growth of pubs, restaurants, and clubs.

In the 80s, Rotterdam was the birthplace of house and dance music, which is underlined by the huge number of dance parties and clubs. Party people from all over the Netherlands come to Rotterdam to go out and enjoy the best DJs and parties.

I lived in Rotterdam for four years during my studies, and loved every bit of it. I moved away one year ago, but still visit Rotterdam at least once a week.

Read on for a guide to Rotterdam nightlife by a local.

1. Oude Haven

To begin with, a good place to have dinner and a drink is Oude Haven (Old Port). It is very close to train and metro station Rotterdam Blaak, which makes it easily accessible. Enjoy a cocktail at Noah or go for a drink at one of the various other restaurants and pubs along the waterfront. Especially in Summer, students fill up the terraces of Oude Haven, where they are enjoying a drink in the sun. Close to Oude Haven at Achterharingvliet you will find Café Vrienden Van where you can dance to live music every Thursday night.

Oude Haven in Rotterdam is beautiful by night
With a view like this, who even cares about the nightlife?

2. Stadhuisplein

Secondly, in the centre of Rotterdam you will find Stadhuisplein (Town Hall square), which is a popular spot for both tourists and locals to enjoy a party. This area is comparable to Leidseplein in Amsterdam.

There’s a cafe for everyone at Stadhuisplein. If you like listening to music from the 70s, 80s, and 90s you will definitely enjoy Get Back. Do you rather go to a pub that has been awarded multiple times with the Nightlife Award, and don’t you mind doing the polonaise? Don’t hesitate to pay a visit to The Après-Ski Hut. Or, check out one of the other cafes.

De Apres Ski Hut in Rotterdam is iconic for Rotterdam's nightlife
At the Apres Skihut, people are always in to have a good time.

During major events such as King’s Day or European/World Championships, Stadhuisplein is one of Rotterdam’s hotspots to find an crowd dressed in orange. Any of the cafes here will meet your expectations.

Stadhuisplein during Kingsday is a spectacle in itself
Stadhuisplein during Kingsday.

Close to Stadhuisplein you will find Café Beurs, where every Thursday night you will be surrounded by Rotterdam’s students. Neither Stadhuisplein nor Beurs are not my favourite places to go to, but they are hugely popular and there’s never a dull moment around here.

3. Best of Rotterdam Nightlife: Witte de Withstraat

One of my favourite areas in Rotterdam is the Witte de Withstraat. Filled with edgy restaurants, shops, cafés, and clubs, this street close to the Erasmus bridge provides a broad range of venues to spend the night in Rotterdam.

Named best bar in the world is café De Witte Aap (“The White Monkey”), by Lonely Planet in 2009. And still, it is one of the best spots for a drink and a talk. Do you want a G&T? Head to NRC, Nieuw Rotterdams Café, just across the street or visit Supermercado, just up the road. One thing is for sure, there is no bad choice when you are on Witte de With.

Witte de Withstraat in Rotterdam is famous for the signs in the street and the many cafes and restaurants.

4. Annabel

Last but not least, one of my favourite clubs in Rotterdam. After having a drink in one of the many cafes at Witte de Withstraat or Oude Haven, head in the direction of Rotterdam Centraal. No, not to catch the train, but to go to poppodium Annabel.

Rotterdam Nightlife Annabel Nightclub
Inside Annabel during one of the many concerts held at this venue.

This club opened only a few years ago and is hugely popular in the 20-30 age range. Annabel is a popular venue for concerts and theme parties such as latin parties. Check out Annabel’s Facebook page for the latest updates on events.

Rotterdam Nightlife comes to life at nightclub Annabel. In summer, you can enjoy the outside terrace right next to Rotterdam Central Station
In summer, you can enjoy Annabel’s awesome outside terrace.

Do you have enough inspiration for your next nightly visit to Rotterdam? Let me know in the comments if you have any other Rotterdam nightlife tips!

If you liked this blog, check out this blog about the top 3 study places around Rotterdam Central Station. You’ll surely like it too.

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Melissa is the founder of Hashtag Explorers. She is a Dutch, enthusiastic, and open-minded world traveller. Melissa enjoys her time researching new travel destinations, kickboxing, singing or horse back riding. Her strong desire to experience new cultures and meet new people has led to creating #Explorers. If you cannot find her in The Hague, where she is working as a civil servant, she is probably exploring the rest of the world, where she is reliving memories from the times she lived in Australia, Argentina, Mexico, Spain, Singapore, and Malta.