Cafe Gollem

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Cafe GollemCafe Gollem
34 Ratings
Cafe GollemCafe Gollem

Type: Bar, Eatery

4 Raamsteeg
Amsterdam, 1012VZ

+31 (0)203 30 28 90

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Ratings: 34 |  Reviews: 34
Reviews by rudyarmand:
Photo of rudyarmand
5/5  rDev +11.4%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

Cafe Gollem is just plain outstanding. The only thing that I didn't like was that they opened at 4:00 pm and I was waiting with such anticipation that by the time I was seated I was in a frenzy and drank way too much. The choices and selection were unsurpassed. The location was excellent and the bar tenders were friendly and knowledgeable. I tried so many beers and ales I can't even remember all their names. I had a great time conversing with the bar patrons who were a blast.

This establishment is a MUST visit to all beer lovers. They have so many choices its amazing. The value was very fair compared to other places and my friends and I can't wait to go back.


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More User Reviews:
Photo of pauljmccain
4.4/5  rDev -2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 2

If you are in Amsterdam, you must go here. I was there for 9 days, and am not ashamed to say that I went 5 times. I enjoyed it very much. The atmosphere is great. It's small, but was never too crowded while I was there. Try to sit at the bar, unless you're in a large group, as the bartenders (I had 3 different ones) tend to strike up conversations about Amsterdam or just about beer. I actually met the CFO of the Amsterdam public school district, and had a great conversation about the educational system there. A very nice guy, bought me a Duvel, and I of course returned the favor. He said he lives a little way out of the city, but comes to Gollem about once a week, as he thinks it's the best atmosphere of the many great beer bars in Amsterdam.

The menu, written on the upper walls as you walk in, can be intimidating. Just ask the bartender if you don't know- they are all very knowledgeable and can recommend something you'll enjoy.

The only reason the "atmosphere" gets knocked to a 4.5 is that they do not have air conditioning, like most places in Amsterdam. I was there in June, and there was an unusual heat wave.

This is a place you can find many sought-after beers, such as westy, and try many belgian beers. I must have tried around 20 in my time there. I'll be back!

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Photo of NatsnSkinsDC
4.71/5  rDev +4.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

This place was pretty cool. It was very small, intimate atmosphere. The group that I was with managed to snag a few chairs along the window. The beer menu was written on the upper walls of the establishment. They had their own section for the Trappist selections which I thought was pretty cool/helpful. Gollem also had some interesting stuff on tap. I got into a couple of conversations with other Americans, one of which was using BA as a reference via his Blackberry often. Pretty cool.

The bartender was awesome. He was very helpful to the other members of the group and me. He learned our names and everything, making us feel welcome and valued patrons.

They had a ton of Belgians and Trappists which I really enjoy. They also had the Westveleterens!!! I was able to try the 8. I couldn't get to the 12 because it was pretty late in the evening and they had sold out by that time. The impression that I got was that Gollem is supplied by a beer store right across the street which I thought was interesting. Overall a great place to chill and drink some quality beer. I was happy to run into some fellow Americans who seem to make a point of stopping there whenever they travel to Amsterdam. Consider me a returning patron if I get a chance to go back to Amsterdam.

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Photo of kwdavis
4.66/5  rDev +3.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5

Great little beer bar not far from the Dam Area. Atmosphere was nice and the service was friendly. The crowd was a mix of locals and tourists. The price is what you would expect from a bar in the city center.
The wife and I stopped by after a trip into the Broken Kettle across the street. The selection is impressive and the menu covers the upper wall on a number of chalk boards. The first impression is of a small dive bar. Do not go off of your first impression. The place is small with two levels, a word of caution there is only bar service and the stairs are narrow.
The place is well worth a stop while walking around the city and I'm sure we will be back next time we are in Amsterdam.

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Photo of scotaussie
4.4/5  rDev -2%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 3

Cafe Gollem has a great day time and early evening atmosphere - get some strong beers in and watch the world and day go by in a pleasant haze. This place always has a tremendous and constantly shifting beer selection on tap - real odd stuff that is well worth a try. Charles Quint dark ales and Floreffe blondes on tap were fantastic last time I was in. The guys in the bar are all usually beer students but not beer bores - ready to try and enjoy what is looking good on the menu - locals and tourists alike. The bar, like many in Amsterdam has a couple of bar room cats, who can assist in beer selection. The very impressive beer selection means that a wide range of styles can be tried in a short time. The bar staff are reasonably helpful but do not prompt customers - some knowledge of beer is required for entry to this bar.

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Photo of bnietz
3.58/5  rDev -20.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 2.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5

A very nice Belgium beer bar in the hub bub of central Amsterdam.

The bar was packed on this visit and the wife and I ended up standing along the front window. Not a bad place to stand, looking outside at the Beer Store right across the alley-way!

I was excited as they had Westvleteren, both the 8 and the 12. I paid 10 euros for my very first Westy 8 and lo and behold, it came in an Afflingem glass! What a bummer. OK, I know, the beer shouldn't taste any different, but when you are paying $14 for one beer, it should be served with a little beer style. For that, my review was somewhat lower than it probably would have been.

I was bummed out after that. Maybe my next time there it would be better.

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Photo of jesperm
4.8/5  rDev +6.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5

I've walked passed Gollem several times, but I only visited the place for the fist time a couple of weeks ago. My mistake!
I was slightly overwhelmed with the selection of beers (Belgian in particular) to be honest.

I visited on three different nights during the week. The Sunday night I went in on my own. It wasn't a particular busy night and I had plenty of opportunity to talk beer with other guests and the bar man. This was a really pleasant experience.
On the Monday I went with a friend. This night was plenty busy, but the girl in the bar excelled by being observant and responsive despite all the distractions.
Then I went back on Thursday night. Again quite a busy night and I was on my own, but it was a nice crowd and easy to find friendly people to chat with.

All in all a very nice beer bar, definitely worth more than one visit!

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Photo of bikeandbeer
4.5/5  rDev +0.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 5

De Gollem is a gem in the heavily visited Centrum of Amsterdam. When I look back on my trip to the Netherlands and think of the ubiquitous "brown cafe" this will be the one that comes to mind. After a few visits to a few other places in town for some amsterdam coffee(ahem) my wife and I had a bit of difficulty finding the bar, but once we did, the effort we put into the search was well rewarded.

This is directly acros from the Cracked Kettle beer store and if you are not looking at all the signs along the alley where it is located the entrance could be easily missed. The interior is a combination of dark wood and yellowed beer adds and souvenir bottles from around the world. The bottle list rings the bar area and is a perfect example of the dutch trader/merchant society. It seems any beer that you can think of can be tried for the right number of euros.

I got a Kwak, the wife got a dubbel of some sort and we split a Westy 12. The bartender was understanding of our state of mind and gave us some advice on pronunciation of the beers names. All the locals were very friendly, and eager to joke on the wife and I about our recent nuptuals.

All in all, a great place and a must visit in Amsterdam if only to check out a true dutch beer bar. There was no food availible so you might want to eat before you arrive.

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Photo of raoulduke37
4.8/5  rDev +6.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5

A gem in the Jordaan area of Amsterdam. This place is quiet, has a gigantic selection that is well-priced, a kick ass decor (think Toronado) and they played music from Sade to Radar Love. There are six taps here, well chosen, and it looks to be about 160 bottled beers. While here I sampled a Corsendonk Agnus Dei, Saison Dupont, and Westvleteren 8 and 12 (No, I didn't drive home). The bartender was awesome, letting us sample some other Dutch beers and their Dutch gin, whose name slips my mind right now. This place is definitely not to be missed if you want a non-pretentious, small, quiet awesome bar with an incredible selection of Belgian beers. A +

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Photo of ComicalAli
4.88/5  rDev +8.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

Another great, tiny beer bar in Amsterdam. Come here to try the Westvleteren 8 or 12 for 12 or 14 euros, respectively. 200 beers are advertised, I was in no condition to examine the list scientifically but it appeared that most or all were Belgians. Lots of trappist ales. The service was attentive and fast if not overly friendly. I give this place only slightly lower marks than the Wildeman because it is smaller and much more cramped, but then again if you come on a night when it's not crowded your experience will be different. Highly recommended.

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Photo of joedon
4.8/5  rDev +6.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5

Small, friendly and inviting pub. The kind of place you might envision if you were writing a story about the perfect old European pub.

Located on an alley just off a quiet street several blocks from the busy downtown area of Amsterdam. Gollem occupies the main floor of a very old building. Lots of dark wood, narrow stairway, a black cat sleeping on a bar stool, brewery advertising and sitting on the end of the bar is a vending machine for canned olives!

First class selection of Belgian beers all served in proper glassware. I had two draft ales: a Tripel Karmeliet and a La Chouffe dubbel. Both were fresh, properly cooled and poured with a perfect head in the correct glass.

The barman was very friendly and knew about every beer on tap as well as the many (dozens) bottled beers available. He offered free samples if requested. Because the bar (in fact all Amsterdam bars) prohibits smoking, he needed to slip out to the alley for a smoke about twice an hour.

The patrons were friendly as well. On my left was a Dutch working man [who spoke perfect English] and on my right were a couple of American students on a semester abroad college program. In the loft were two more students and a Dutch couple. By the way, this pub is pretty small. About eight seats at the bar and maybe room for eight more at tables in the loft.

I didn't order any food. Other than the canned olives, I'm not sure if any food is even available.

Prices were about average for an Amsterdam pub. Tripel Karmeliet in a "medium" glass (about 25 cl) was 3 Euros. Most expensive beer was the Westvleteren 12 bottle at 10 Euros.

This is a must-visit for any beer lover in Amsterdam. I can hardly wait to go back.

Update: October 25, 2010: Cafe Gollem is closed. Don't know if this is temporary or permanent. All I could learn was that some sort of dispute with the licensing authorities had taken place. The doors have been locked for about one month.

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Photo of spithrash
4.64/5  rDev +3.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5

This is officially my new favorite bar in Amsterdam. A good mix of locals and tourits. Very cozy and encouraging to strike conversation with strangers as they are sitting close to you. (which we enjoyed) My guess is they can seat maybe 30 people tops - spread evenly between the bottom around the bar and the upstairs area. Offerings of beers are on chalkboards hung high from the ceilings and you can see that the selection is excellent. As I peruse what they have I see they have the elusive Westvleteren 12 available for 12 euros. I debate about the price, but give in to temptation as I won't have a chance to try this when I get home to Texas. I decide it's definitely worth it, but that's for a a beer review! Other examples of what we had were Rochefort 8, Gulden Draak, La Trappe bruin. Despite the high price of the Westy (which is understandable) all other beers are priced reasonably. This is a definite must visit when you are in Amsterdam!

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Photo of baggio
4.2/5  rDev -6.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

Visited this place for the first time a couple of weeks ago during a weekendtrip to Amsterdam.

Nice wooden interior with about 10 seats around the bar and maybe another 15 seats on the level above the bar.

Beers available can easily be found out by looking at the walls around the bar, very cool.

Bartender was friendly and helpful and asked if i wanted my bottle cold or from the cellar (ie proper!)

Great selection of good european beers with a focus on belgian beers. Very affordable too! (and this is a very central location).

A bit of advice tho, this place is _very_ crowded to the point that you can barely move on weekend evenings :) Be early!

Best bar in Amsterdam ? Hell yeah!

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Photo of koopa
4.29/5  rDev -4.5%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4

I'm an avid Amsterdam vacationer (10 trips in the past 10 years) and Gollem is my favorite bar in the whole city!

The selection is quite good boasting fine examples from around the world. They even offered Westvletern 12 for 14e per bottle this year when I was last there.

I love the table at the top of the stairs that has the small wooden spot where the bartender can place drinks he is passing you from the bar below!

The atmosphere is quintessentially Dutch Gezellig! I love the list of beers written on the walls around the entire place. Top notch!

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Photo of lingates
5/5  rDev +11.4%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

This was one of my favorite places in Amsterdam....nice crowd where you can have great conversations with the bartender or the person sitting next to you. Excellent selection of beers, particularly Belgium all though I had a Mug Bitter there which is from the Netherlands (and enjoyed quite a bit). And of course, they have Westleveren there. If you get a chance, stop by Cracked Kettle across the street where you can buy many of the great beers that you have at De Gollem.

Even though the place may seem crowded you can still usually find a place to pull up a chair. I look forward to returning to this establishment.

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Photo of dirtylou
4.5/5  rDev +0.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 5

sweet beer-bar, that i read about on Beerfly prior to spending 3 long nights in Amsterdam in the midst of a 15 day European stretch.

It should be noted that some negative reviews below refer to Gollem being too smokey - there is no longer ANY smoking indoors in Amsterdam so disregard those comments.

I had the St. Feuillien Triple.

The atmosphere was very much of a traditional dutch brown cafe. The interior was very small and dark/woody. There was no outdoor seating but a fantastic destination beerstore is directly across the alley (De Gekraakte Ketel (The Cracked Kettle)).

The selection seemed to be primarily Belgian, with some Dutch highlights and probably featured 10ish taps and 200ish bottles. Westy 8 and 12 were available at fair prices. Even if you narrowed your style down, say to Triple, you would still have 15-20 choices to somehow choose from. All the glassware was stunning and fit to the beer.

Fantastic selection - could spend days in a place like this - not a bad beer available and all at fair prices (1/2 to 1/3 the price as you would find in say Paris).

Not sure if there was food, but we didn't have any.

The service was fine and english was spoken by the bartender but not by any of the other patrons

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Photo of ggaughan
4.14/5  rDev -7.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

This was the second beer bar we visited on a recent trip to Amsterdam. The bar is a bit removed from the main tourist avenue through Amsterdam which is nice and it is right across the alley from the Cracked Kettle which is good.

The bar is small with 6 or so eats at the bar when you walk in and then about 5 tables in an elevated seating area in the back. Tons of old bottles and breweriana around the walls and the beer lists are on chalkboards around the front of the bar which was cool. They had a nice selection of trappist and also lambic beers. Main focus on Belgian beers but also had some Dutch and German beers.

We only stayed to have one beer as it was a bit smokey and was getting to us but Gollem is worth giving it a visit as their beer selection is excellent.

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Photo of AWolfAtTheDoor
4.64/5  rDev +3.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5

I had to forcefully stop myself from rating this place all 5s. This has to be one of the top beer establishments I have ever set foot into. Everything from the chalkboards in the rafters listing what bottled beers they have to the house cat that fell asleep on my bag. It feels more like an intimate wooden cave than a beer bar, I particularly enjoyed the 750ml bottles that were turned into candle holders that had the remains of dozens and dozens of candles dripping down them. Beautiful. This place has nothing but character. The bartenders were very nice as well. And most importantly they are NOT shy with offering samples. Upon asking what they recommended, they practically hurled 3 samples at me. I got their early and watched this time and time again with other customers who weren't sure what to order. This is personally a huge selling point for me. I can't stand it when people charge for samples. I was in Amsterdam for 3 nights, and they got my business each and every night because of this. Tons of bottled beers (spied a Pannepot, which can be difficult to spot outside of Belgium). On tap was St. Bernadus ABT and N'ICE Chouffe. This place was absolutely incredible.

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Photo of bierme
4.22/5  rDev -6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4

Fun, if small bar even by Amsterdam standards. Nice vibe you could tell people were really enjoying themselves. Three American among our group, two Brits and four from Spain and everyone there for the beer.

Tap list and bottle list solid with plenty of good Belgium's including St Bernardus 12 and some great sours.

Bartender was very pleasant and helpful, spent most of his time talking to his friend.

Did not see any food served.

Over all I really enjoyed it, most everything you want in a bar, good beer, cool atmosphere and good people.

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Photo of seanyfo
5/5  rDev +11.4%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

I love this place from the floor to the rafters ( especially the rafters as they are covered in blackboards consisting of all the beers they stock)

Yes it is old worldy with dark wood and there is not much natural light due to the sidestreet it is in, but the atmosphere on a busy evening is fantastic.

Me and friends talked away with the locals who recommended some great dutch brews and the bar staff were also fantastic with their knowledge and recommendations.

Each beer glass was rinsed and cleaned in front of you and the beer always served in the appropriate glassware.

The bottled and tap selection is unbelievable, with prices i would say average, westvleteren 12 going for 9 euros a bottle.

Hope to return very very soon!

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Photo of Onslow
4.26/5  rDev -5.1%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4

This was stop number 2 on the night my Dutch Cousins took me out on the town! I have very fond memories of this place but the name alluded me until now. The selection is quite damn fine. A chalk board greets you when you walk in is almost to much! Westy was on the board but they were out of stock, but i didn't care because they had 100's of other beautiful selections! It is not "small" it is cozy!! Very friendly people, even if dutch isn't your first language, and the staff is eager to help with selections or just a chat! I recommend this place!! Dankuwel!

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Photo of ballewblake
4.34/5  rDev -3.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

Found this place hooking up with some locals my first time in Amsterdam. I've made it a point to frequent the place since. This place has a local crowd cooked into its tiny space. I'm thinking maybe 40 person occupancy here. Lots off beer geeks can be scene here, beer bibles and high lighters in hand. Service is friendly and cool. I love this place, atmosphere is warm and inviting, very personal, old and unchanged by the times. Get here early as possible, after 8-9 its near impossible to squeeze in. The selection is incredible, primarily Belgian beers, easily over 200. At least ten different drafts, which change frequently.
Side note, very cool storage system and keg system under the place. Highly recommended if you like good selections of Belgians and old world dives.

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Photo of JBogan
4.16/5  rDev -7.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5

This right across the walkway from the Cracked Kettle beer store, so while it's a little hard to find, especially at night for someone not familiar with Amsterdam, it's well worth the effort.

I'd gone a few nights earlier to the Kulminator in Antwerp, and this was an entirely different scene. We'd gone to the Kulminator on a weekday evening, and Gollem on a Saturday night, so perhaps that's why the Kulminator was as quiet as a library and Gollem was packed and noisy.

All in all Gollem had an excellent selection of brews, and served in a reasonable manner for such a busy place. The atmosphere was I suppose typical for a bar in Amsterdam on a Saturday evening, buzzing with activity and crowded. It was enjoyable for a short visit, but not what I prefer for long stretches, your tastes may vary.

Summing it up, if you're anywhere near Amsterdam then Gollem (and the Cracked Kettle about 10 feet away) are well worth visiting. And oh yes, watch your head on the way to the water closet.

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Photo of CBA
5/5  rDev +11.4%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

Another great bruine kroeg in the same vain as De Garre. Be foreward this was the most "bruine" of them all. Get there early though and share a few glasses with locals on their way home after work, minus the copious amount of smoke with the after dinner crowd. Excellent service, pricing very reasonable and a wide selection in bottle with more limited tap selection. Although I could drink the draft LaChouffe all night. I spied a few bottles of Pannepot in the cellar from my seat at the bar. Although not on the list the barman was more than willing to get it for me.

The best part of the place was the bar cat - Snoppy who took a shine to my coat and everytime I came in for a drink he'd be my companion as long as he got to sleep on my coat.

Word to the wise - take the steps slowly to the washroom, least you end up flat on your back as (edit) I did.

If I moved to Amsterdam, I'd ensure this place was on my route home from work.

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Photo of Dukeofearl
4.3/5  rDev -4.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

My wife and I spent a lovely few days in Amsterdam last April (has it been that long??) as part of a longer vacation, and we had a very nice time enjoying this little spot 2 blocks from our hotel. Be careful of the bikes in the alley out the front door, though- they whiz through and after a couple of Belgium's finest, it's a bit challenging!

A very homey place, nice cozy atmosphere, the bartenders seemed to know a lot of locals but were very nice to a couple of American tourists. Very knowledgeable, and the beer list written in chalk across 2 walls was very impressive from the balcony/upper floor where we sat. Great selection- we really enjoyed our time here.

Overall, I only had three negative comments on this place- 1) it was smokier than many places we visited, and 2) it was mostly about Belgian beer, and since I had fallen for for Dutch beers in the previous few days, I missed those, and 3) we only had a chance to go here once.


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Cafe Gollem in Amsterdam, Netherlands
Place rating: 4.49 out of 5 with 34 ratings