Amsterdam Coffee Shop Guide

Posted: 07/31/2009 | By: 420tour | Under: Uncategorized | 0 Comments

Abraxas
J. Roelensteeg 12-14, 10am until 1am.
Web site: www.coffeeshop-abraxas.com

You may have visited Abraxas Coffeeshop in 1998 when they participated in the Cannabis Cup but you will surely want to visit them again this year. The shop is totally remodeled and expanded to 3 floors. The warm wooden trim with gold and turquoise color scheme give the shop an Inviting appeal and feeling of warmth inside. Tapestry cushioned seats and Mosaic floor and wall designs as well as glass floor sections going from first floor up to 3rd floor add a great deal of interest to the shop. The first floor features the drinks and weed bars handmade using a beautiful inlaid wood design. Also on the first floor is wrap around, comfortable cushioned seating and an extra feature is 2 computers for Internet browsing… free of charge. The second floor has two rooms, with lots more seating, where they plan to add a DJ booth. The 3rd floor features additional seating with 3 skylights giving it an open feeling. Also on the 3rd floor is a “show grow” for your viewing pleasure. If the weather permits you can also sit outside at one of their attached tables. Abraxas offers 14 different hashes ranging from Fl. 8, to Fl. 30, per gram and 18 different grasses from FL. 5 to Fl. 16 per gram. Most of the grass on their menu is biologically grown. They also offer pure pre-rolled joints and special muffins.

Barney’s Breakfast Bar
Haarlemmerstraat 102, 625-9761. Open daily, 7 AM-8 PM. Founded 1986.
Web site: www.barneys-amsterdam.com

Since the owner of this café/coffeeshop is Irish and named Derry, my first question was “Who’s Barney?” Turns out that Barney was a king-sized kitty who came with the place more than 10 years ago. He’s gone to kitty heaven, but his name lives on in the best place I know of in Amsterdam to go out to breakfast the way Americans do. There are delicious vegan, vegetarian and meaty breakfasts and lunches here, along with super desserts. “We specialize in breakfast and desserts-crepes and crumbles, fudges and sludges and ‘inspirational’ truffles and brownies,” says Derry. The shop was just redecorated and it’s full of organic, fluid shapes. The tables and walls are works of functional art. Barney’s is absolutely as light and airy as other shops are cozy and cave-like. I always enjoy my breakfasts here. The smoke at Barney’s certainly includes some fine hashish-they did get second place in the 1998 Hashish Cup, but during the 1999 Cup they will be concentrating on what they do best: grass. Over the last three years Derry has made alliances with some growers who work on contract for him alone. The pride these people have in their work shows in both the King Kamayamaya and the Sunburst that they provide to the shop. This also keeps prices as low as possible by eliminating a layer of middlemen. Here the weed is stored in glass canning jars. This is brilliant. Correct curing of grass involves storing it in a sealed container and then “breathing” it several times a day-just what is happening at Barney’s! During the Cup there will be a special menu for judges, with a 20% discount over the regular prices. Derry is such a fun guy, he gave discounts to judges one year when he wasn’t even IN the Cup!

Tram Locator: Barney’s is located in the middle of the Haarlemmerstraat, near Central Station, so there isn’t a tram stop nearby. You can walk west on the Haarlemmerstraat from the 1, 2, 5, 13 or 17.

Blue Velvet
Haarlemmerstraat 64, 627-7329. Open daily, 11 AM-midnight. Founded 1984, current owners, 1995.

Shades of Studio 54! Blue Velvet has retained its now-classic 1980s disco decor, including the pink and gray theme, mirrored walls and neon lights. But look closer and see that there is a different vibe. This is a totally international shop-starting with the owners, Yvaat and Claudio. They are a married couple-she’s Israeli and he’s German-and the staff includes workers from Portugal, Germany, Denmark, Holland and Israel. The music here is what Yvaat calls “music for lovers-a mix of everything [jungle, hip-hop, mellow house] except world music, Pink Floyd and definitely no ‘Hotel California.’ ” There are two pool tables and other games, a full bar (including Corona and Budweiser!), tostis and snacks. By Cup time there ought to be four or five Internet-access computers, and a suggestion box. “People must let us know what they don’t find correct here,” says Yvaat. “Otherwise we can never improve.” The real boss in this shop is “Triple”-the pure white kitty you see in the shop logo. “He’s stoned all day and he does nothing but sleep and eat-he must be in charge,” smiles Yvaat. So while Triple doesn’t sell the weed, he keeps an eye on the preweighed bags of White Widow (at a great price) and the unique “Ice,” which went underappreciated at last year’s Cup-Blue Velvet didn’t join in time to get into the Guide, so many judges didn’t know about it. The shop isn’t hard to find and they are definitely in the competition this year, so dance on in and check it out.

Tram Locator: Blue Velvet is located in the middle of the Haarlemmerstraat, near Central Station, so there isn’t a tram stop nearby. You can walk west on the Haarlemmerstraat from the NZ Kolk stop of the 1, 2, 5, 13 or 17.

The Bushdocter
Thorbeckeplein 28

The Bushdoctor Coffeeshop, established in 1997 is situated just off Rembrandtsplein in Thorbeckeplein, which in the early 1900′s was the Cabaret area. This is their first year competing in the Cannabis Cup. Don’t be misled by the small bar area as you enter. There is a lot more seating with tables on the 2nd and 3rd floors of this shop, with large windows overlooking the terrace area and Herengracht. You will find a computer in this shop as well as other games to entertain yourself with as you relax, smoke, drink and listen to music. There is also covered outdoor seating on the large terrace. I found this shop to be friendly and there were lots of customers in and out while I was there so I would say it is quite popular with the “Amsterdamers.” In talking with Luca, the very enthusiastic Italian co-owner, I discovered why this shop is so popular. The Bushdoctor offers a very extensive and unusual variety of grass and hash You are sure to find varieties here that you will not find in most of the other Cannabis Cup Coffeeshop entrants. The grass menu consists of 4 outdoor varieties plus 18 varieties of Indica and 13 varieties of Sativa, including 9 Haze varieties. If you prefer hash, you will find 32 varieties here All the grass and hash is sold in 2 and 2.5-gram bags ranging in price from fl. 25 to fl 35. A special feature hash here is the “ice-o-lator” hash, which is a very clean and pure hash, extracted from the same plant. Two varieties are offered: Kali Mist and AK 47. Supplies are limited on these and quality is reflected in the higher price.

Chocolata
Spuistraat 51, 622-6241. Open Sun.-Thurs., 11 AM-midnight; Fri.-Sat., 11 AM-1 AM. Founded 1986.

A hardy perennial in the coffeeshop business, Chocolata is near enough to Central Station to have a steady flow of tourists passing through during the summer, but there is a hard core of locals who regularly depend on it for a good smoke at a reasonable price. They also sip a large number of one of the biggest cups of coffee verkeert (literally coffee “wrong”- with lots of hot milk) in town. Maybe its consistency comes from Vincent, the owner- he was one of the original employees, and he saved up and bought the shop when it was sold in 1991. This year he put some energy into redecorating, and the place looks even more welcoming. It’s still unassuming, but there is better use of space, a light, airy feeling and new stuff to look at upstairs. Downstairs you can sit at the bar or at a counter that overlooks the Spuistraat, busy even on a rainy day. In the summer (as I write this) there are outdoor tables. Not surprisingly, Chocolata serves some sophisticated “inspirational” chocolate cakes, bon-bons and special shakes along with fresh orange juice, hot and cold drinks, candy and chips. The smoke comes from behind the drink bar in preweighed bags. The best is usually the Choco Mist, consistent in supply and quality. In 1998, Chocolata’s Nederhash, Choco Skuff, was awarded third place in the Nederhash Cup.

Tram Locator: The easiest way to get to Chocolata is to take tram 1, 2, 5, 11, 13 or 17 until you are one stop from Central Station- the stop is called Nieuwezijds Kolk. Almost directly behind you (if you are coming from the Leidseplein), just off to the left, there is a tiny street that goes west, between a bar and a small grocer, toward Spuistraat. The street is called Korte Lijnbaanssteeg, and it is exactly one short block long. At the end of it, on the near left-hand corner, is Chocolata. Enter on Spuistraat.

The Dolphins
Kerkstraat 39, 10am-1 am Monday – Thursday, 10am-3am Friday – Sat
Web site: www.thedolphinscoffeeshop.com

Dolphins Coffeeshop, situated just off Leidseplein, has had many American visitors over the last 6 years, especially during the Cannabis Cup and this year they decided to join the competition. A very typical “Dutch Coffeeshop”, Dolphins tries not to be too commercial so offers a very relaxed atmosphere with good service, good music and good grass and hash, a place to you come back to again and again. Some of their famous visitors include: Cypress Hill, Puff and Eddie and Clinton Valentino. This coffeeshop serves alcoholic drinks as well. You will find a good selection of hard Drinks, beers such as Budweiser and Corona and wine as well as fruit drinks, energy drinks, coffee and tea. Be sure to ask about their “special tea” and “special cake”. They have a limited menu featuring 4 types of grass and 4 types of hash. By carrying only a few select offerings they have gained a reputation for consistent quality.

Dread Rock
OZ Voorburgwal 67, 638-3534. Open Sun.-Thurs., 12 noon-1 AM; Fri.-Sat., 12 noon-3 AM. Founded 1995.

Dread Rock is one of the nicest surprises the red-light district has to offer. It’s a two-level shop, much bigger than it looks at first, and the upstairs has lots of places to sit. There is great music- no house, lots of reggae, hip-hop, Latin and DJs who ASK what you want to hear- two full-sized pool tables, a full bar, chips and tostis and a couple beers you don’t see in many coffeeshops- Carlsberg and Guinness. And then there are those chain-mail-helmet lamps on the tables. I really love them and find them somehow très Molly Hatchet. This shop is a multiethnic melting pot with a Bob Marley soundtrack. Lots of locals, many under 25, are friendly to visitors of all colors. And no wonder this is a special shop- Dread Rock is a black-woman-run coffeeshop. Mirtel (pronounced “Myrtle”- “My parents had never seen the word written down, but they thought it was a pretty name,” she explains) has a great sense of humor and a strict buying policy: “Cheap. Cheap AND good.” Cheap and good includes the three top sellers: White Widow, Super Skunk and Shiva, as well as varietal Nederhash. In the Dread Rock you can find hashish made specifically from one kind of plant, such as White Widow or Shiva. You get all the unique flavors of the individual strain of cannabis, only in hash, not bud. Last year was Mirtel’s first year in the Cup, and she was rewarded with the third-place medal for Bio Weed with the White Widow.

Tram Locator: Dread Rock is close to the Dam. Trams 4, 9, 16, 24 and 25 all go to Dam Square. From the base of the tall white monument, head east down the crowded tourist street called Damstraat. OZ Voorburgwal is the first street; it has a canal in the middle. Cross over the canal, turn left and Dread Rock is on the right at number 67. It is just beyond the second bridge you come to as you walk along the canal. Look for the “Oude Kerk” (Old Church) on the other side of this second bridge and the Dread Rock is ahead to your right.

Dutch Flowers
Singel 387, 624-7624. Open Sun.-Thurs., 10 AM-11 PM; Fri.-Sat., 10 AM-2 AM. Founded 1992.
Web site: www.dutch-flowers.nl

This shop is well located, near the center and on the interesting Singel canal, just across the alley from a great bakery. Dutch Flowers went through a shake-up this spring, the result being new, extremely arty decor and room for a couple more tables. When you come in the door your first thought may be “Woh! What WAS that last joint?” Not to worry, everything REALLY IS tilted at about a 40-degree angle. While I like sitting at Dutch Flowers a lot, for the most part people come here to buy weed or hashish and split, not to hang out. If they stay, they interact with each other- it’s an easy place to get talking to complete strangers about fascinating things. And that is the heart of the coffeeshop experience- opening up and getting to know people with whom you share an appreciation for cannabis. It can be surprising to see who is interested in what! Dutch Flowers concentrates on grass, having something in every price and quality range. There are almost always 15 or more kinds of weed, both imported and domestic, including the prize-winning Bizarre and Shiva. Of course there is also a large and significant assortment of other hashish, including Malana Double Cream, a rarity! For a few years now Dutch Flowers has marketed a special product- the weed cigar. It’s a genuine Philly blunt, made with killer Nederweed, available in different strengths. Dutch Flowers has won many High Life (a Dutch smoker’s magazine) Harvest Festival Cups in the last five years, in addition to taking second place in the Bio Cup and sixth place in the Cannabis Cup in 1995 with their White Widow. In 1996 and 1997 it received medals in the Nederhash Cup for their Dutch Knight. The shop owns a little boat which is shaped just like a wooden clog. During the Cup it will be possible to make reservations for a canal ride in this bobbing yellow delight. Amsterdam from the water is something to see, so bundle up and let’s go!

Tram Locator: Dutch Flowers is located at the other end of the Leidsestraat from the Melkweg, and is easily reached with trams 1, 2 or 5 (or a seven-minute walk) to the Koningsplein. You are at the end of the Bloemenmarkt (floating flower market). Put the street full of flower sellers directly at your back, cross the busy tram street and walk down the Singel Canal until you can turn right, over the bridge. Dutch Flowers is on the right-hand corner, just over the bridge at Singel #387. Look for the two green lights hanging outside (it’s a joke- red-light district for sex, green-light district for smoke).

Green House Tolstraat
Tolstraat 91, 10 am-1am Weekends: 10 am-2 am.
Web site: www.greenhouse.org

Green House Coffeeshop, Tolstraat, the Flag Ship of the Green House Coffeeshop Empire has developed a whole new concept in coffeeshops. Celebrating 8 years in business and seeking an older, more mature clientele, Green House Coffeeshop is totally remodeled and transformed into a “Gentlemen¹s Club Lounge”. Just inside the door is a bar where you can purchase your grass and hash. For entrance into the lounge area, locals must have a membership pass. Membership is limited to 25 and older men and 18 and older women. All tourists are welcome to enter without membership. The lounge area, consisting of 2 large rooms with several different seating areas, is done in the tasteful decor that you would expect from the Greenhouse, featuring a variety of seating, including stuffed leather chairs, upholstered couches and small tables with stools. Upon entering the lounge area you get the feeling that you have entered an exclusive men¹s club or hotel lounge where people come to smoke drink and relax. Well, you can do all of that here. No more serve yourself at the bar. All tables are attended to by the staff serving alcoholic drinks, coffees, teas and fruit drinks. Sit back and relax as you listen to soft dreamy music. On weekends there is a DJ spinning mellow music and free appetizers are served. As usual, you will find an extensive menu of grass and hash with 10 varieties of bio grass and 7 varieties of hydro grass. More than half of these offerings are Cup Winners. Prices range from fl. 11, to fl. 18,00 per gram. There are 9 types of hash on the menu priced from fl. 10 to fl. 35 per gram You will also find “pure” pre-rolled joints.

Grey Area
Oude Leliestraat 2, 420-4301. Open Tues.-Sun., 12 noon-10 PM. Founded 1994.
Web site: www.greyarea.nl

Grey Area, the “underground” connoisseurs smoking area, has won 13 Cannabis Cup awards over the last few years. It’s famous as the original home of Bubblegum, AK-47, Yellow Cab and last year’s two-time second-place winner, Grey Mist (both grass and Nederhash crystals). Just a three-minute walk west of Dam Square, it’s located on a narrow walking-street on the edge of the arty Jordaan Quarter, within sight of “Big Head Bridge” (a bridge over the Singel Canal on which sits a huge statue of the head of a social-rights crusader named Multituli). Sometimes called the “Cheers of Coffeeshops,” Grey Area is where many trips to Amsterdam begin and end. The shop frequently plays home to touring musicians and performing artists, such as 311, Pharcyde, Black Crowes, Willie Nelson, Phish and their friends and entourages. Grey Area is a living-room-like (well at least the vibe is, my living room is a bit bigger) hook-up point where you’ll be sharing the chill atmosphere (and bong hits from the special collection of hand-blown glass bongs from Jerome Baker) with a collection of Deadheads, Phishheads, Spreadheads, Hempheads, Webheads and Heads of all sorts. Grey Area is run by two “stoner-operators” who have opted to specialize in phat, kind connoisseur bud. There is a choice between both Nederhash and imported hashish, and sometimes they have the coveted Moroccan “shoes.” The proprietors give personal service and customized deals, including US-style-eighths (3.5 grams to the rest of the world) and 4:20 specials.

Tram Locator: Grey Area is located in the tiny canals of old Amsterdam and the trams can get you close, but it’s a little tricky to find. On the back (west) side of Dam square is the start of the Radhuisstraat. Use trams 13, 14 or 17 to the “Dam” stop- that sets you on the other side of the big palace from where the 4, 9, 16, 24 and 25 go. From that stop you can just see, off to the west, the signs on the big post office (red and white says “PTT Post,” blue and white says “Post Bank”) on the western side of the Singel Canal. Go there, turn right (north) ON THE POST OFFICE SIDE OF THE SINGEL CANAL. Go two blocks to the first bridge (which is on your right) and turn left. GA is on the right-hand side of that street, at Oude Leliestraat 2.

Homegrown Fantasy Gallery
NZ Voorburgwal 87a, 627-5683. Open daily, 12 noon-11 PM. Founded 1989.
Web site: www.homegrownfantasy.com

This is the coffeeshop associated with Homegrown Fantaseeds, who won the 1997 Seed Company Cup. The shop was a Cup winner in 1992 with their Haze/Skunk, and they have kept the tradition of excellent Dutch-grown grass, adding Nederhash as it came onto the market. The manager, owner Cory’s brother Jap, explains the philosophy: “This is a place where small home-growers can come sell their product. We support the people directly and get a product that is handmade and homemade with care. We have no smuggled grass or hashish here. We don’t want to be like the coffee sellers- an industry where the small farmer does the work and big syndicates make big profits.” Homegrown is located across the street from a police station, but that doesn’t stop patrons ages 18 to 80 from stopping by to enjoy the art on the walls or to sit and play a game on a rainy winter day. Behind the bar are 15 sorts of indoor grass, plus three from greenhouses and four made outdoors, and Nederhash. As much as is possible, the coffeeshop acts as a show-and-tell for the seed company’s varieties. During the Cup week there will be many special activities and parties. In addition, Homegrown Fantasy will offer a discount to judges and regular customers that week. “After all, it affects my regular customers that week too. Why not share the generosity with them?” asks Jap.

Tram Locator: Take tram 1, 2, 5, 11, 13, or 17 to the Nieuwezijds Kolk stop. Homegrown Fantasy is on the east side of the street, a block or two to the south (away from Central Station). It’s a little hard to see, look for the sign with the eye in it.

Katsu
Eerste van der Helststraat 70, no telephone. Open Mon.-Thurs., 11 AM-11 PM; Fri.-Sat., 11 AM-midnight; Sun., 12 noon- 11 PM. Founded 1988

So here is a shop with no Website, no phone number and no advertising beyond word of mouth, which also specializes in the mostly sativa Haze strains- the ones that take 50% longer to mature and typically yield 30% less- can you say “non-commercial?” Located just off the Albert Cuyp market, Katsu has served coffee and sodas to locals and tourists in the know for 11 years. As they say, “We concentrate on the hash and the coffee. No time wasted on fruit smoothies here.” The owners were some of the first Nederlanders to get a taste for the Haze when it came here from California in the mid-1980s. “We just loved the taste- so sweet and complete. Other people found the odor too much, but we kept smoking it and soon others began to join us. What we smoke, our customers smoke. This is a shop where the customer comes first.” Harry, John and Appie have 50 years collective experience in the coffeeshop biz. They have a core staff that is almost unchanged in the last six years, with some who have been here since the start. This family atmosphere is all over the shop- many single women come here because they know that the house doesn’t tolerate anyone giving them unwanted attention. One of the neighbors comes almost daily- he’s 86 and doesn’t smoke cannabis, but his grandkids hang here. The shop is comfy, homey, clean, but not so perfect you are afraid to relax. The toilets were just redone to add a women’s room and the door is locked- “We just can’t get the men to keep it as clean as the women like, so we gave the ladies their own room.” For the 1999 Cannabis Cup Katsu will be showcasing the extremely sativa “Sage” from THSeeds, so all judges will be able to get hold of a strain that the celebrity judges really liked last year. No discounts, no promotions- just great grass.

Tram Locator: The Eerste van der Helststraat crosses the Albert Cuypstraat Market, and Katsu is in the second block south (Pax side) of the market. Trams 16, 24 and 25 all have an “Albert Cuyp Market” stop. From the tram stop, walk down the market until you find the first cross-street. Go right on that street (Eerste van der Helststraat) for 1-1/2 blocks. Katsu is on the right. You could also walk there from the Pax in about eight minutes. Out the doors, cross the street, turn left, go three blocks PAST the Ceintuurbaan to the Govert Flinckstraat, turn right, go to the first street and turn right, Katsu is 1/2 block on the right.

het Kruydenhuys
Keizersgracht 665, 427-8282. Open daily, 10 AM-1 AM. Founded 1997.
Web site: www.kruydenhuys.nl

Situated in an old canal house in what is really a rather “nice” area, Het Kruydenhuys is a smoking sandwich/coffeeshop. “I didn’t want a place that is really just a bar that sells cannabis, I really just wanted to create a place that I would like to hang out in,” the owner tells me. “I see this as a day shop. The sort of place you’d stop to have a juice and read the paper or eat a sandwich and have a smoke; either way, people will get what they need and then move along and get on with their day.” Using the name Kruydenhuys (house of herbs) was a conscious decision to use a Dutch word to indicate Dutch quality. This means also that you will get Dutch-style sandwichesãthose cute little rolls with a few bites of meat or cheese. Served here is the elusive fresh carrot juice. The decor is colorful and eclectic, vaguely Italian, but funny and colorful; not stuffy. The music? “Allesãgeen House” was the answer. Loosely translated, that means anything and everything, except never any house music. When it comes to smoke, this shop’s buyer is very well-connected from his years working at other shops, and you will find excellent weed at better than average prices. Specialties include Jack Herer, Merry Cristal and Red Desert Bud. The buyer told me, “We sell weed that was grown in the dirt, but I say it’s not really bio weed. In fact, I say that 98% of the ‘bio’ weed in the Netherlands is really grown using the same food as hydro crops, since people are mostly growing for weight. Mostly what we do here is sell great weed at good prices.” Stop by and go downstairs to the beautiful carved green-marble smoke bar, and see what they have for Cup judges. You can take a look at it before or after you buy, using the microscope that sits by the scale.

Tram Locator: Take tram 16, 24 or 25 to the Keizersgracht stop and walk east along the north (Central Station) side of the Keizersgracht over one canal. Het Kruydenhuys is just past the far side of that (the Reguliersgracht), at Keizersgracht 665.

de Kuil
Oudebrugsteeg 27, 623-4848. Open Sun.-Thurs., 10 AM-1 AM; Fri.-Sat., 10 AM-3 AM. Founded 1987.
Web site: www.cannabis-cafe.com

Dupree’s Paradise
de Kuil’s Dupree’s Paradise
You gotta like de Kuil (“cowl”), from the “BYO Food” sign on the door, past the antique bar and back-bar, all the way to the pool table in the back. This has been a place of recreation for generationsãin fact, this site has been a bar called de Kuil since at least the last century. Society’s drugs of choice have evolved, and, considering that the owner is an avid smoker himself, it was a natural progression when cannabis was added in 1987. It’s civilized here, an “adult environment.” There is oak, not Formica. The highest priority here is on serviceãit’s a place where those who enjoy a cool beer and those who only smoke cannabis can both find their pleasure. The music is of the ’60s and ’70s, with an occasional jaunt into the present; the owner does have his Zappa moments. “The complete Zappa catalog is available, even the ones nobody likes. We play classical music before noon.” That is the voice of Michael Veling, the owner. He continues: “What you get here is a complete packageãgood service, good beer, good music, cleanliness and a decent smoke. Of course there is a tradeoff, the menu here isn’t as large and flashy as at the shops that have won so many Cups. More importantly, it’s a really nice place to sojourn.” As an enticement to judges and their friends, there will be a 25% discount with judges’ passes from any year’s Cannabis Cupãgood all year round.

Tram Locator: de Kuil is located halfway between Central Station and the Dam, about a three-minute walk from either. Take tram 4, 9, 16, 24 or 25 to the Dam stop. Head toward the Central Station, staying on the big street the tram takes (Damrak), keeping the tram tracks on the right. Oudebrugsteeg is on the left, a small alley that comes off Damrak. It is the first such alley you come to that has a STREET OPPOSITE IT ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE TRAM TRACKS.

Media
Gerard Doustraat 85, 664-5889. Open daily, 10 AM-1 AM. Founded 1984.

Media, the Connoisseur’s Club, has been serving the residents of the neighborhood near the Albert Cuyp market for years. A neighborhood shop, not a tourist shop, you’ll find the decor clean and pleasant (OK, some folks find the barbed-wire-inset Lucite toilet seats a bit creepy), with plenty of games, a pool table, sodas, juices, hot drinks and tostis. The neighborhood here is called “de Pijp” (“pipe”) and is considered to be the “Latin Quarter” of Amsterdam. The neighborhood’s diversity is reflected in the clientele, many of whom are from other nations. You can meet expatriates from all over the world here while you listen to a pleasant mix of music that includes reggae, Latin, dance and Dutch music. The Media has been selling their own excellent weed for years. All of it is organically grown in real soil and there are never any pesticides used. The Hindu Kush is quite nice, it comes from a seed strain called Pot of Gold. Also sold exclusively here is the “Real McCoy,” which many of the 1998 celebrity judges loved. The owner of this shop, Quincy, grew up in the world of cannabis, as his dad is the breeder and owner of the Flying Dutchmen Seed Company. Quincy loves to talk football (REAL football, the kind we call “soccer”)ãespecially about the home team, Ajax. So, do like the localsãwhen you’re done with your marketing on the Albert Cuyp, stop by and ask for Quincy.

Tram Locator: The Gerard Doustraat is parallel to the famous and easy-to-find Albert Cuyp market. Gerard Doustraat is the first street to the north (Central Station) side of the market street. Trams 16, 24 and 25 all have an “Albert Cuyp Market” stop. If you are walking away from the Pax House, turn right onto the Gerard Doustraat. If you came from the Heineken brewery, turn left on Gerard Doustraat.

The Noon
Zieseniskade 22, 776-7981. Open daily, 9 AM-1 AM. Founded 1998.
Web site: www.thenoon.com

The Noon is located between the Leidseplein and the Rijksmuseum, on a very quiet street. The shop is small but well-stocked, having a good selection of snacks (including American brownies and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups) and soft drinks. There is a pinball game, and every month the person with the highest score that month gets 10 grams of their choice weed. There is a large supply of good music. The owner of this shop is an American, and he has a job many Cup judges would envy. But it’s not all fun, there are lots of ways in which running a coffeeshop is different from other businesses. Stop in, appreciate the Western decor, have a drink or a snack and chat about the state of the world. When it comes to selecting smoke, the Noon looks for weed that is correctly cured, meaning that your joints will burn without tobacco. Lots of bio weed here, including Edelweiss and Dusty and the yummy Tbizla hashish. There is a good stock of glass bongs, so you can smoke the way you do at home- but without the paranoia.

Tram Locator: The Zieseniskade is parallel to the Weteringschans, a big tram street on which the tram lines 6, 7 and 10 all run. Get off at the stop for the Rijksmuseum and walk until the bridge that leads to the entrance of the museum is in front of you. Turn all the way around so the towers of the museum are BEHIND you, and walk up the street. It is called Nieuwe Spieglestraat. First thing you do is cross a bridge and go left (on the near side of that canal) onto the Zieseniskade. Noon is ahead on the left at number 22.

Paradox
Eerste Bloemdwarsstraat 2, 623-5639. Open daily, 10 AM-8 PM. Founded 1991.

Paradox entered the Cup in 1993 and 1994 and took a holiday until last year, when they entered after the guide was written. Back in ’94 Ludo (the owner) taught me that you have to eat if you’re going to smoke. “You can’t make it through the day on chocolate milk, chips and candy bars when you are smoking the whole time. That is why there is a small but diverse selection of food and smoothies at my shop.” The food here is healthy, delicious and beautifully presented. Paradox has always had beautiful murals on the walls, and in these moments they are changing. The feeling on the walls is moving from tropical-island to Aztec. The transformation is gradual, partly because sudden change is upsetting and partly because this is not a commissioned work, but a developing piece of self-expression from the people who work and/or hang out at Paradox. The menu here has grown since my last write-up, and now includes some exceptionally crystal-covered smokes like Ace, Ajax and Dusty, as well as a variety of premier hashish.

Tram Locator: Trams 13, 14 and 20 all stop on the Raadhuisstraat in front of the Westerkerk (Western Church). Put the church on your right, walk west (away from downtown) on the north (Central Station) side of the street and cross the Prinsengracht canal on the bridge. Go past the second part of Prinsengracht street. Raadhuisstraat has now changed names to Rozengracht, and the first street to the right is called Eerste Bloemdwarsstraat. Pass the colorful windows of “Kitsch Kitchen” and one street, Paradox is just ahead on the left at #2.

de Pi Kunst en Koffie
2e Laurierdwarsstraat 64, 10am-10pm.

Coffeeshop Pi, Kunst and Koffie, established in 1985, is another new entry in this year’s Cannabis Cup. If you want to visit a true neighborhood, non tourist type coffee shop in Amsterdam, this Is a great one to visit. Stroll through the historic ‘Jordaan’, one of the oldest neighborhoods in Amsterdam, full of small artist’s shops and boutiques and you will find coffeeshop Pi. The coffeeshop is in an old canal house situated on the corner of 2e Laurierdwarstraat and Lauriergracht. Floor to ceiling windows provide ample natural light which you do not find in most coffeeshops. Stucoed walls using blue, yellow and brick accent colors and large plants also add to the warm, light feel of the place. This is truly a Dutch “neighborhood ” coffeeshop, complete with a friendly “house cat”. The locals drop by frequently to meet and chat with friends or leave a message for someone. The atmosphere is relaxed and friendly and the space is open and light. The main floor consists of the bar area with a half moon mirror behind it, and seating all around. Up 4 steps is another relaxing room with lots more seating, a chess game and Photo Play. On the lower level you will find 2 computers with games and a DJ booth where you are likely to find the owner, Dillon, spinning away. If the DJ booth is not occupied you are welcome to spin some tunes yourself. At the bar you can order your drinks and smoke. The food and drink offerings will definitely please anyone. Munchy? Try the Biogaarde yogurt with muesli or a sandwich and if you need more sugar you can satisfy yourself with wonderful home made (by an American) chocolate chip or oatmeal cookie or muffin. Coffee, Cappuccino fresh orange juice and a large selection of teas are also on the menu. I can recommend the fresh mint tea. In this coffeeshop they offer “gruis”, consisting of small buds and shake at fl.9 per gram for the limited budget. This is the home of the “Bio Highrise” variety of grass and there are also 4 other types of of grass ranging in price from fl. 12,50 – fl.15,00 per gram. 4 varieties of hash are offered and hand cut for you at fl. 12,50 – fl. 15,00 per gram.

de Rokerij
Lange Leidsedwaarstraat 43, 622-9442. Open Sun.-Thurs., 10 AM-1 AM; Fri.-Sat., 10 AM-3 AM. Founded 1996.
Web site: www.coffeeshop-nl.com

Rokerij is located just steps from the touristic Leidseplein and has had the same owners for years, but in the summer of 1996 it was completely redesigned, when a team of artists took the owner’s rough ideas and went to work. The result was a pan-Asian, heavily Indian environment where you can still get a full range of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks along with some snacks. The Rokerij has just started to market their own energy drink. The music includes salsa, South African, old jazz, Indian and more, as the sound system shuffles randomly through 110 assorted CDs selected by the artists as part of their concept. Ceiling fans and two air conditioners keep the air in the large space clear. The seating is consciously designed so that there are both private areas, where you can be more or less alone with friends, and places where the seating practically forces you to talk to your neighbors. To add to the feeling of a Katmandu bazaar, the owners contract with tarot-card readers and henna-tattoo artists to come in two nights a week and give their services to patrons. There is a newsletter every month, in English and Dutch, telling about special events, moon phases and the latest Rokerij news. Pick it up in the shop. As part of the plan to make the shop into a real smokers’ hangout, rather than an alcohol-based scene, the owners decided to reduce mark-up percentages at all their shops and maintain a consistent supply of high-quality grass and hash “at prices that will build a customer base of the real smokers.” Window frames from old Indian houses act as the gateway to the land of smoke. The Rokerij has a consistent, almost constant, supply of good Moroccan hashish, and you can buy many excellent strains of cannabis, including the past Cannabis Cup winners Bubblegum, AK-47 and White Russian. Rokerij won third place in the Coffeeshop Cup in 1997. In 1998 it received a second-place medal in the Coffeeshop category and a third place for their Rokerij Special imported hashish.

Tram Locator: Take any tram that goes to the Leidseplein (including 1, 2, 5, 6, 7 and 10). Keep the Bulldog on your right and head toward the Central Station on the Leidsestraat. Turn right at McDonald’s, onto the Lange Leidsedwaarstraat. The Rokerij is on your left at number 43.

Siberië
Brouwersgracht 11, 623-5909. Open Sun.-Thurs., 11 AM-11 PM; Fri.-Sat., 11 AM-midnight. Founded 1984.

Siberië (Siberia in Dutch) has always been more than a coffeeshop, as it incorporates an active art gallery. On the walls there are art exhibitions that change monthly, special decoration and a complete overview of all cultural activities going on in Amsterdam. Recently the cultural level has been rising to include poetry/spoken-word evenings, chess tournaments, free Internet access and Wednesday afternoons with classical music. They play a wide variety of other music at other times, but mostly non-commercial and underground, so get surprised! The clientele is diverse and includes musicians, journalists, American businessmen, mothers, artists and students who come from in and out of Amsterdam to meet and socialize. As time passes, there are more and more non-cannabis-smoking people who come in only to drink coffee and use the computer. “Siberië- we sell coffee too!” Sylvia, the manager, jokes. This politically conscious, aware shop sells a wide variety of grass and interesting hashish. It’s important to the staff that they are all well-informed about the different types, and they take the time to show their expertise. The smoke selection has a high standard that is maintained throughout the year. The shop is pleased to be able to offer a large selection at low prices. The grass is weighed in front of you, so any amount is available. The pick-your-own-bud plan when buying bigger amounts is trÈs cool. Selling very good grass, at a very low price, keeps the locals coming back. Also on the menu is real ShivaÅ Bhang from India. Bhang is an extremely low-in-THC preparation made from cannabis leaves and other herbs, used for centuries in India as a tonic and mood stabilizer. Siberië has a long Cup record, including a third prize in Nederhash and a special Cool Guy Cup in 1996, and the third prize for Bio Weed with Siberian Tiger in 1998. A complete redecoration was done a year or so ago, and it includes some lamps that are art in themselves. They remind me of Little Shop of Horrors, how about you? For another, even more neighborhoody coffeeshop, try the Republiek, which belongs to the same owners. You’ll find it in the old workers’ neighborhood Staats-liedenbuurt, just to the west of the shop- ask for directions.

Tram Locator: Siberië is located in the tiny canals of old Amsterdam and the trams can get you close, but not all the way there. You can take trams 1, 2, 5, 11, 13 or 17 towards the Central Station to the Nieuwezijds Kolk stop. That leaves you near the Central Station end of the Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal. Walk along the east side of the NZ Voorburgwal towards the Central Station until you get to Nieuwendijk- it’s the walking street- and go left. Walk one long block and you’ll come out at the east side of the Singel Canal. Cross over, go left, cross the Brouwersgracht (which dead-ends into the Singel at this point) and turn right onto the south (Pax) side of the Brouwersgracht, where you’ll find Siberië at number 11.

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