Discover Haarlem's Top 5 Nightlife Activities for an Unforgettable Night

A Relaxed Alternative to Amsterdam

Locael Haarlem
Fotografie: ©️ Elian Musch / Haarlem Today

Are you prepared to delve into Haarlem’s electrifying nightlife? Not far from the Dutch capital Amsterdam, this city offers an eclectic range of evening entertainment to suit every taste. Whether you’re into thumping dance floors or intimate jazz settings, Haarlem has got you covered. Let us take a look at the top 10 must-try nightlife activities that will make your visit to Haarlem truly unforgettable.

What Makes Haarlem's Nightlife Scene So Special?

Amsterdam might have the reputation for being the party city in the Netherlands but if you want something more intimate and real then head over to Haarlem instead. It’s small enough that you can walk between places without much effort so everything feels calmer compared with Amsterdam’s massive party scene where there are always too many options which makes it hard to relax.

In comparison to Amsterdam, Haarlem has a less congested and less expensive nightlife, which is more appealing to people who want a different and unforgettable evening. The nightclubs in this town are also more diverse; they accept everyone regardless of their age or background. It doesn’t matter whether you live there or you are just visiting as long as you walk into any club, bar or entertainment joint within Haarlem; they all have this very friendly and inviting environment.

What Are the Must-Visit Neighborhoods for Nightlife in Haarlem?

The nightlife of Haarlem is centred in different neighbourhoods which each have their unique vibe. At night, the Grote Markt (Big Market) comes to life with many bars, restaurants and cafes around its edges. This area is great if you want to feel the vibrant spirit of the place and have a drink or meal too, it’s an old part.

To experience Haarlem nightlife at its best, you should visit Jopenkerk. The Jopenkerk used to be a church but now it is a fantastic bar as well as a venue for all kinds of events. It hosts different shows like live music, stand-up comedy, and even magic shows thus there is always something for everyone here. Patronaat which is found right in the middle of Haarlem city also cannot go unmentioned when talking about great places to have fun at night; this club has an amazing variety when it comes to music genres you can listen to during DJ nights or watch performed live by bands among others.

Haarlem's Best Live Music Spots: A Guide for Music Lovers

Haarlem has a lively live music scene where you can see both local and international artists play at many different venues. Cafe Stiels, a popular jazz club, has been providing entertainment for its customers. This small place puts on live jazz gigs every weekend night showing off established names alongside people who are just starting out in the industry.

If you want to broaden your musical horizons, then you should go to Patronaat. It used to be a church but now it’s a music venue where you can find any genre from rock to EDM. The acoustics are great there so even if the band isn’t very good live, they will still sound awesome!

Which Areas Have the Most Unique and Trendy Bars?

The bar scene in Haarlem is so varied and interesting, there is something for everyone whether they want somewhere lively or more relaxed. In Jopenkerk there are lots of craft beer bars including the brewery itself which has been made into a beautiful church.

For those who are looking for something more fancy, the Grote Markt area is full of cool cocktail bars and lounges.

Top Can't-Miss Nightlife Experiences in Haarlem

1. Bobbi Bar-Dancing: Haarlem's Premier Destination for Dance and Music

What Makes Bobbi Bar-Dancing Haarlem's Premier Dance Club?

Bobbi Bar-Dancing is the place to be in Haarlem if you want to dance all night long. This club has a fantastic sound system, a nice dance floor and amazing light shows that will make your experience unforgettable. They play different music styles here so everybody can find something for themselves – from local DJs’ sets to artists’ performances. The music varies here from techno to hip-hop.

Bobbi Bar-Dancing stands out from othe­r dance spots. It works hard to make a safe space­ for all people. The club has rule­s at the door and staff who are trained to ke­ep folks safe and happy.

Learn more about Bobi Bar here.

2. Jopenkerk Brewery: Where to Find the Best Local Beers in Haarlem

What Unique Beers Does the Jopenkerk Brewery Produce?

The Jopenkerk Brewery is housed in a transformed church that boasts a wonderful design and is famed for its innovative and tasty craft beers. These are created by a skilled team of brewers who draw on Haarlem’s history and local ingredients to make different kinds of unique beers. Some of the most popular and distinctive ones include:

  • Koyt – this is an oat and herb-based historic Haarlem beer style dating back to the 15th century
  • Ongelovige Thomas – it is a quadruple beer with rich flavours which is named after Thomas the Apostle, the patron saint of the church
  • Blondie – A crisp refreshing blonde ale with slightly fruity undertones and a mildly spicy finish
  • Trinitas – A triple beer that is lively and has won awards for its distinctive blend of malt sweetness with notes of spice and citrus

Jopenkerk Brewery does not stop at these basics but goes ahead to produce seasonal as well as limited edition beers all through the year thus ensuring there is always something new and thrilling for beer enthusiasts.

How Has Jopenkerk Helped Revitalize Haarlem's Beer Scene?

Haarlem’s beer culture has been on the rise since 2010 when the Jopenkerk Brewery was established. The city has now become a destination for anyone who loves craft beers all over the world. This is largely attributed to Jopenkerk’s ability to use old brewing methods together with modern techniques while also focusing on local produce for its ingredients which has also led to new interests being developed towards Haarlem’s great history of brewing.

Other local entrepreneurs have been encouraged by the brewery’s success to join the craft beer market, this has led to the opening of different breweries as well as beer bars that are Haarlem centered. This has increased the city’s profile as a beer tourism destination; thus it is able to attract holidaymakers from all corners of Holland and even abroad.

Brewery Year Established Notable Beers
Jopenkerk Brewery 2010 Koyt, Ongelovige Thomas, Blondie
Het Uiltje Brewery 2012 Big Fat Double IPA, The Mind Trick, Mosaic Mammoth
Brouwerij Eembier 2016 Eembier 1300, Eembier Wit, Eembier Dubbel

Being a beloved institution, the Jopenkerk Brewery represents the continuous growth of Haarlem’s beer scene alongside being a symbol of the city’s dedication to excellence, creativity and togetherness.

Learn more about Jopenkerk here

3. Schuur Theater: Haarlem's Premier Indie Film Destination

What Critically Acclaimed Films Have Premiered at Schuur?

The Schuur Theater, an old movie theater and cultural center located in downtown Haarlem has presented the Dutch premiers of many critically acclaimed independent movies since it opened. Some examples are:

  • 2015’s “The Lobster”, a surrealist dystopian comedy-drama directed by Yorgos Lanthimos starring Colin Farrell and Rachel Weisz
  • Barry Jenkins’ “Moonlight” (2016) which won Best Picture at the Oscars that year
  • “The Square” (2017) by Ruben Östlund satirical drama film that won Palme d’Or at Cannes Film Festival the same year
  • “Portrait of a Lady on Fire” (2019) Céline Sciamma’s historical romantic drama

The Schuur Theater is loved by people who love movies for its dedication to exhibiting independent and arthouse cinema.

How Does Schuur Support Independent Filmmakers?

Moreover, rather than showing indie movies, the Schuur Theater is a place of active encouragement and support for new talents in the Dutch film industry. Every now and then filmmakers are invited to answer questions in real time while audiences watch their beloved flicks.

The Schuur Theater also teams up with local film festivals such as the Haarlem Film Festival and Cine Haarlem Festival that specialize in featuring the works of new Dutch moviemakers. These associations are essential in creating a lively supportive environment for indie movies in Haarlem.

Film Festival Month Held Notable Sections
Haarlem Film Festival October Dutch Cinema, European Cinema, World Cinema
Cine Haarlem Festival June Short Films, Documentaries, Student Films

Through various programming, community involvement and support for local artists The Schuur Theater has made a name for itself as a cultural center in Haarlem and an advocate of independent film in the Netherlands.

Learn more about Schuur here

4. Spaarne River Dawn Cruise: Experience Haarlem at Dusk

Boat Tours Spaarndam

What Sights Can You See on a Spaarne Sunset Cruise?

Experiencing Haarlem’s breathtaking landscapes and historic architecture is made possible by sunset cruising on the Spaarne River. While gently gliding on quiet waters, you will witness spectacular views of the city’s most recognized monuments such as:

  • The Adriaan Windmill – An 18th-century windmill beautifully preserved along the banks of the Spaarne
  • The Teylers Museum – Housed in stunning neoclassical architecture, it is the oldest museum in the Netherlands
  • The Waag – A 16th-century weighing house turned restaurant that provides insight into Haarlem's history of trade
  • The former Droste chocolate factory – This building was once home to the famous Dutch chocolate brand but has since been transformed into a popular cultural centre

At sundown over the city, an array of colours will reflect onto the water’s surface, ultimately setting up an atmosphere that cannot be forgotten and is most romantic.

Are There Dinner and Drink Options on the Cruises?

Some companies that include sunset cruises over the Spaarne River offer various eating and drinking choices to make it enjoyable. Here are a few of the most popular options:

  • Wine and Cheese Cruise – Watch beautiful views with fine Dutch wines alongside artisan cheeses
  • Dutch Beer Tasting Cruise – You can learn more about Haarlem’s rich brewing history by tasting different types of local craft beers during the cruise.
  • 3-Course Dinner Cruise – The talented onboard chef will prepare for you a delicious three-course meal using fresh local goods.
  • Cocktail Cruise – As you enjoy the breathtaking sunset from the river sip some well-prepared cocktails.

Whether you are after an intimate dinner or a lively gathering with friends, dining on a boat sailing down the Spaarne River at dusk will be something unforgettable.

Cruise Type Duration Price Range
Wine and Cheese Cruise 1.5 hours €25-35 per person
Dutch Beer Tasting Cruise 2 hours €30-40 per person
3-Course Dinner Cruise 2.5 hours €60-80 per person
Cocktail Cruise 1.5 hours €20-30 per person

For those who want to enjoy the romantic side of Haarlem after sunset, taking a sunset cruise on the Spaarne River is the way to go because it is very romantic and beautiful.

Learn more about Boattours here

5. Patronaat Haarlem: Clubbing in a Historic Former Church

What Famous Musicians Have Performed at Patronaat?

In the 1980s, Haarlem's music started when the community used the Patronaat, a building that was previously a church and is currently what it uses as the music community centre. Artists from all over have been coming to perform at this place since it started. A lot of famous musicians have performed here before but some of them include:

  • Nirvana – The grunge legends played here just before releasing their album Nevermind in 1991
  • Radiohead – In 1993 British rock icons supported their debut LP Pablo Honey by playing live at Patronaat
  • Foo Fighters – Dave Grohl’s project after leaving Nirvana gave an intimate performance of songs from their self-titled first record at the club in 1995
  • Sufjan Stevens – The indie folk darling brought his brand of unique storytelling through songwriting when he performed at the Dutch venue back in 2015

These are just some examples among many others over time who stepped on stage at Patronaat thus making it rich with a musical history spanning across different genres locally and internationally alike while they continue into the present day being loved among fans not only in Haarlem but also beyond its borders due to their amazing sound qualities intimate feel as well diverse lineups.

How Was a Church Converted into Haarlem's Hottest Club?

It is amazing how Patronaat was converted from a 19th-century church to a popular music venue and nightclub in Haarlem are an interesting story of repurposing buildings and revitalizing culture. Paterskerk, which was built in 1879, served as a Roman Catholic church for almost 100 years.

After being deconsecrated during the 1970s, the church deteriorated over time. However, local enthusiasts and businessmen recognized its potential and started turning it into a concert hall in 1984. This was not just any other kind of change; volunteers put in their time working on the structure so as not to lose any of its historical aspects while at the same time making sure that they were properly maintained.

Having formally been launched in 1984, Patronaat quickly became an important venue in the Dutch alternative music scene. There were many renovations and upgrades over the years which were made with the needs of artists and audience members in mind while still keeping its charm intact.

Year Event
1879 Paterskerk church is constructed
1970s The church is deconsecrated and falls into disrepair
1984 Patronaat officially opens as a music venue
1990s-2000s Patronaat undergoes renovations and upgrades
2010s-present Patronaat continues to thrive as a music venue and nightclub

Today Patronaat is a lively cultural center that demonstrates the power of creative adjustment. The building combines old-fashioned design with contemporary facilities which makes it an amazing place for people who love music and those who are into clubbing.

Learn more about Patronaat here

Tips for Making the Most of Your Haarlem Nightlife Experience

What's the Best Way to Get Around Haarlem at Night?

To make travel around Haarlem convenient and cost-effective, especially when the sun sets, remember these:

  • Walking - For the reason that the majority of nightlife spots are near each other mainly within the town centre hence take a relaxed walk through the beautiful streets this will also enable you to enjoy the charm of the city.
  • Cycling – Being like any other city in the Netherlands it means that Haarlem is very friendly to cyclists, thereby making pedalling from one joint to another fast and efficient
  • Public Transport - Another alternative would be catching one among many late-night buses that crisscross different parts including suburbs or neighbouring towns from the central business district until some minutes after dawn breaks on weekdays while ensuring even more frequent service during weekends so as not to leave anyone stranded due to lack of means at such odd hours.
  • Taxi – If however, you feel the need for speed then simply flag down any taxi along the streets since there are always plenty available, however, it is recommendable to go for those stationed outside designated areas or better yet order through a reputable app which provides similar service.

By ensuring that you know what choices there are in terms of transport around Haarlem and devising a plan prior will guarantee that you have a fantastic time when out for a night in this city.

Are There Any Haarlem Nightlife Tours Available?

For those who want to see the lively life of Haarlem at night, there are several companies which organize guided tours. They will arrange everything for you so that all you have to do is come and be ready for fun!

These exciting trips are curated experiences where we take guests around different bars and clubs in the city while sharing some secrets about what makes our town so special. Additionally, you will learn many interesting facts concerning its history and culture.

Here are some of the most popular options:

  • Haarlem Pub Crawl – This involves visiting various historical drinking establishments sampling Dutch jenevers or Belgian Trappist beers along with other customers who could be international tourists or locals themselves enjoying their day off work too by mingling with different nationalities.
  • Live Music Tour – You get taken through vibrant live musical scenes stopping at places like Patronaat, which is known the world over for hosting live performances ranging from unknown bands – to top international acts coming up every weekend etc. A highlight would also include Café Oomkes where one can listen among others some jazz music played on Wednesday evenings only!
  • Craft Cocktail Tour – Visit trendy bars where craft cocktails are made and learn skills on how mixologists come up with favourite spirits combinations while enjoying various drinks at each stopover before heading back home.
  • Haarlem Nightlife Photography Tour – Capture the different styles of night scenes with a camera under the guidance of professional photography guides. On this tour, you will be able to take unforgettable images from cosy spots in Haarlem vibrant with activity after sundown which can’t miss getting noticed when shared online later on.

These trips offer an enjoyable and sociable way of getting to know the town better during evenings when people are relaxed after work thus making it easy for travellers to make friends quickly while also seeing places they wouldn’t have found by themselves!

How Late Do Most Bars and Clubs Stay Open in Haarlem?

Haarlem has a great nightlife. Most bars and clubs don’t close until late at night, especially during weekends. But it’s worth noting that every place has its own specific closing time which might be different from others’ depending on the day of the week.

In general, here are the closing times for bars and clubs in Haarlem:

  • Bars and Pubs – On weekdays, these places shut their doors around 1:00 AM – 2:00 AM while on Friday and Saturday(weekends), they may stay open until 2:00 AM – 3:00 AM respectively.
  • Clubs/Music Venues – Closing hours at clubs tend to be much later than those at pubs or bars with most of them only closing around 3:00 AM – 4:00 AM, especially on weekends. However, some clubs might close a bit earlier, say at 2:00 AM – 3:00 AM on weekdays.

It is advisable to know what time each place closes before setting out because they could have different closing hours due to various reasons such as special events among others. Also, take into account that most places will stop serving alcohol about half an hour before officially shutting down.

What Are the Dos and Don'ts of Haarlem Nightlife Etiquette?

Exploring the nightlife in Haarlem is an amazing activity that everyone should try out. To make your experience enjoyable and respectful to the other participants, knowing the local customs and etiquette is to be highly regarded. Here are some things you should do and those you should not:


  • Dress according to where you are going. Although the general atmosphere within Haarlem's night scene is quite informal, more upscale bars and clubs may have strict dress codes that need to be followed.
  • Try out local dishes and drinks. You cannot leave without having tasted some craft beer or spirit produced here! So many joints for drinking have been set up around town thereby facilitating easy accessibility to these commodities.
  • Observe smoking regulations per place visited. Most entertainment joints have put in place specific areas meant for smokers hence it would not augur well for you to light up just anywhere.


  • Don't be too loud or cause a disturbance. It is fine to have fun, however, others should also be considered.
  • Don't leave your drinks alone. Whether it is a club or any other place with life at night, never abandon your drinks for your own safety.
  • Don't forget to pay tips to the bartenders and waiters. In the Netherlands, tipping is a culture and if the service is good, you can leave around 10% tip.
  • Don't disregard the bike lanes while walking around town. Haarlem is a city that values cycling so watch out and stick to footpaths, especially in the evenings.
  • Adhering to these few rules will enable you to experience nightlife in Haarlem just like the locals do while at the same time ensuring safety and fun for everyone.


Haarlem's nighttime attractions are full of warmth and opportunities that no one can afford to miss based on an individual’s uniqueness and recognition in society. A single sentence can be used to sum up the recommendation for another visitor to incorporate the thriving nightlife in their travel schedule: come at any time. In addition, the question of why not plan your next Dutch adventure around discovering the city’s vibrant and diverse after-dark attractions is asked.

We hope you enjoyed this glimpse into the vibrant life of Haarlem. For more stories, tips, and local insights, keep exploring HaarlemToday. Don’t forget to share your favourite articles with friends and join the conversation on our social media channels. Until next time, keep discovering the unique flavours and experiences that make our city special.