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The 7 Best Cocktail Bars in Rotterdam

Suicide Club

Step aside Manhattan, this is how rooftop cocktail bars are done. Take the Groot Handelsgebouw service elevator to the eighth floor and exit into the bustle of the kitchen. Don’t fret – you’re in the right place. As bar staff flit past in signature Jasna Rokegem dresses, join the al fresco beau monde for a cabana cocktail among the greenery of the Suicide Club’s (thesuicideclub.nl) rooftop. With vistas right across the city, drinkers should feel on top of the world.

Dr.

Like America’s Prohibition-era speakeasies, this clandestine bar is only open to those in the know. Dripping in crystal glass decadence and with a luxurious rosewood bar, bartenders in white apothecary attire create medicinal concoctions to ease ailments of all kinds, including melancholy, heartbreak or simply thirst. The Dr.’s (drrotterdam.com) menu switches regularly, but get past the introductory punch and you’ll be prescribed a maximum of three great cocktails.

The Stirr

The Stirr (thestirr.nl) is an award-winning drinking den that mixes the past and the present as exposed brick and darkly varnished saloon bar stools side next to diamond cage lights and DJs spinning vinyl. There isn’t a cocktail menu, but the barmen – who have an assemblage of whiskers so epic, many of their moustache designs went out of fashion with the penny-farthing – will shoot you a few questions and shake up a drink to suit your mood.

NY Basement

Step back in time to the Roaring Twenties when men were gentlemen, women were ladies and highballs were really, really strong. Every detail of this cocktail bar-cum-restaurant is authentic, right down to the bartenders’ black tie outfits and the swing era jazz. Mainly serving drinks that were in vogue a century ago, if the old-fashioned brews start getting the better of you, NY Basement (nybasement.nl) also has a first-class food menu too.

NHow bar

If you like your cocktails with a view, this is the place to come. Situated on the seventh floor of the iconic De Rotterdam skyscraper, the NHow bar (nhow-rotterdam.com) is the perfect spot to sit back, sip and stare at the sparkling vistas over the Erasmus Bridge. With raw concrete pillars and a steel grate ceiling, the bar takes an urbane slant on an industrial theme. Try a get a table on the terrace and order their signature This is nHow cocktail with St. Louis cherry beer, fresh lime juice, mint and strawberry coulis.

Ballroom

Not officially a cocktail bar, but with over 100 different types of gin and tonic, the knowledgeable staff at candle-lit Ballroom (ballroomrotterdam.nl) certainly know how to mix a mean drink or two. If you’re having a hard time choosing, bartenders can advise and surprise, but do your best to get a seat in the charming garden where walls of creeping greenery and low-hanging lightbulbs dangle above the shiny checkerboard floor. The food is remarkably sophisticated too and features the best meatballs in town.

Noah

Situated at the base of the Witte Huis, the oldest skyscraper in Europe, Noah (noahrotterdam.nl) acknowledges its historic location by thinking up respectful twists on stonewall classics like their fiery barrel-aged Mai Tai, which mixes Clement Terre Caraïbe and Appleton VX rums with Orgeat syrup, lime juice and dry orange. The more adventurous should try The Pig, a bourbon brew with Maple syrup and a bacon aroma. DJs liven up weekend proceedings, spinning funk, R&B and disco from a small enclave in the exposed brick wall.