Amsterdam forced coffeeshops to choose between selling cannabis or alcohol back in April 2007. At that time most coffeeshops in Amsterdam did not sell alcohol, but there were many coffeeshops around Amsterdam where both cannabis and alcohol were available for purchase.
What I had not noticed over the past decade, until last week in Amsterdam, is there are several bars around the city where marijuana can be smoked, but tobacco is prohibited.
How is this still a thing in Amsterdam?
The only reason I even became aware of these ‘smoker bars’ was due to stopping at Las Marias for a beer and Hawaiian pizza on Haarlemmerstraat, one of the streets with a high concentration of coffeeshops. Sitting outside at a table drinking and eating, I noticed the shop window sign ‘Coffeeshop La Grotte’ across the alley.
While there is nothing revelatory about seeing a coffeeshop on Haarlemmerstraat, what surprised me was seeing a full bar through the open doorway.
How can this be that a coffeeshop has a full bar when coffeeshops were banned from selling both cannabis and alcohol 10 years ago?
This inquiring mind wanted to know. So, I went inside and asked the woman working behind the bar.
She explained that Coffeeshop La Grotte is not actually a coffeeshop, in that they do not sell marijuana or hash, however, she quickly pointed out Haarlemmerstraat has several coffeeshops close by for cannabis purchases. She said smoking marijuana is permitted in the restaurant bar, but no tobacco smoking is allowed.
I had not even realized over the past decade that this was still an allowable business model in the city of Amsterdam.
Haarlemmerstraat, Amsterdam is about a 10 minutes walk from Centraal Station.
Barney’s Coffeeshop has been around for decades, since 1986.
Walking a little farther along Haarlemmerstraat, I noticed Barney’s Coffeeshop, Barney’s Farm and Barney’s Uptown all on the same block.
Barney’s Coffeeshop and Barney’s Farm signs circled in yellow on left side of Haarlemmerstraat and Barney’s Uptown on right side.
Barney’s Coffeeshop sells cannabis and Barney’s Farm and Barney’s Uptown are restaurant bars, which allow cannabis smoking, but prohibit tobacco.
In a way, coffeeshop-bars are still a thing in Amsterdam with restaurant food availability too.
Of course, whether you want to sit down and drink a beer, smoke a bud and munch a burger in a cannabis smoke-filled bar is entirely another matter of preference.
Where you can smoke weed in Amsterdam
5) Is it permitted to smoke cannabis outside (in public places)?
Yes. However, smoking cannabis at children’s playgrounds and on the grounds of secondary schools is an offence.
6) Is it permitted to smoke cannabis in locations other than coffeeshops?
The most common and accepted place to smoke cannabis is in a coffeeshop. Although it is uncommon, the owner of a pub, bar or café may permit the use of cannabis in their establishment. Those aged 18 and above are permitted to smoke cannabis outside and at home. Smoking cannabis outside (in public places) is only permitted as long as doing so does not create nuisance to others.
Apparently, some 25% to 30% of Amsterdam tourists visit coffeeshops.
Amsterdam has reduced the number of coffeeshops with regulations and closures for hard drugs offenses and other crimes. In 2017, there are fewer than half the number of coffeeshops compared to 20 years ago, when some 350+ coffeeshops operated in Amsterdam. Still, there are around 150 or so coffeeshops in the city today.
The business model of Smoker Bar-Restaurants appears to be a growing business. Or perhaps it is a business model that has been around for years and I only noticed it for the first time on this trip.
Even though several USA states have legalized marijuana in recent years, they are still grappling with the rules regarding smoking marijuana, aside from private residences.
San Francisco SFO – Copenhagen, Denmark – Stockholm, Sweden – Amsterdam, Netherlands – Prague, Czechia – Bratislava, Slovakia – London, England – San Francisco SFO (22 days-6 flights-20 hotel nights-6 bus trips)
Copenhagen, Denmark: Skt. Petri Copenhagen Choice Hotels Ascend Collection
Amsterdam, Netherlands: Loyalty Traveler Lost and Found in Amsterdam
Amsterdam, Netherlands: Ramada Apollo Amsterdam Centre hotel review
Amsterdam, Netherlands: Amsterdam design for social living
Amsterdam, Netherlands: Amsterdam beer, bud and burger joints
Amsterdam and Prague Hotels: 2 stays earned 1 Free Friday Park Plaza Vondelpark Amsterdam and Park Inn Prague
Prague, Czechia: Pickpocket stole my wallet on Prague Airport Bus
Prague, Czechia: Park Inn Prague hotel review
Prague, Czechia: Best Western Hotel Kinsky Garden Prague truly boutique
Prague, Czechia: Hotel review Clarion Prague City reward stay
Prague, Czechia: Vyšehrad, Prague far from the madding crowd
Pilsen, Czechia: Marriott Courtyard Pilsen CZ category 1 reward stay
Pilsen, Czechia: Pilsen Czechia photoessay
Brno, Czechia: Holiday Inn Brno, CZ PointBreaks stay
Brno, Czechia: Brno by beer
Brno, Czechia: Brno Bones in Europe’s Second Largest Ossuary
Bratislava, Slovakia: Review Radisson Blu Bratislava Slovakia
Bratislava, Slovakia: Walk to Bratislava Castle Slovakia photo essay
Bratislava, Slovakia: Bratislava Slovakia photo essay part 2
Bratislava, Slovakia: Category 1 Park Inn Danube Bratislava Slovakia opens Oct 1, 2017
Bratislava, Slovakia: Trip Report Regiojet Bus Bratislava to Brno Airport
London, UK: Radisson Blu Edwardian Heathrow hotel review
Hotel Loyalty: Loyalty? Yes! Loyal? Not so much for my hotel travel
Hotel Loyalty: My two Club Carlson Free Friday Nights posted today
Airline Loyalty: Aegean Silver elite and 17,000 miles to Star Alliance Gold