As a Rotterdam local, I’ve seen firsthand how much the city has changed during the last couple of years. Rotterdam is becoming a frontrunner in the country’s art and bar & restaurant scenes, competing with famous Amsterdam. The difference between the two cities, in my opinion, is the mindset of the people – Rotterdammers are down to earth and no-nonsense. Lucky for us, this attitude translates into cool places to drink great beers, on top of the more historic venues and breweries that have been in Rotterdam for decades.

Rotterdam is well-known for its raw, straightforward and unapologetic character, which is also evident in its bars, breweries and beers. Rotterdammers are proud of their city and not always keen on sharing their best secrets. But the city has started opening up more – although the best places aren’t necessarily the most crowded ones. 
Here’s my local Rotterdam beer guide, from bars to breweries these are the best places to grab a beer in Rotterdam.

Rotterdam Beer Guide

Bierlokalen, Biergartens & Biercafe’s

Rotterdam Beer Guide

Biergarten

This is the best place to be in summer if you want to sit in the sun and enjoy a good beer. It’s located right in the city center, which makes it an oasis that many Rotterdammers flee to when it’s hot outside. Biergarten hosts events like barbecues for a great combination of grilled food and cold beers. They serve several specialty beers, ciders and even some alcohol free beers. And naturally they have several locally brewed beers to choose from as well. What I love about this place though is that the beer is served in those German bierfest looking mugs. Biergarten keeps it simple – they know what people love and give it to them: sun, beer, music, and barbecues.

Rotterdam Beer Guide

Bokaal

Bokaal is a local hotspot and has a very lively atmosphere all year round. It’s a cozy place with an industrial looking interior and a nice outside terrace that’s typically crowded in summer. They have 11 beers on tap and also serve nine varieties of local beers from breweries such as Drift and Noordt. The rest of their beer menu is impressive, with so much choice it’s almost impossible to choose. The staff is very nice and has plenty of knowledge on all of the beers if you can’t make a decision. All of these things make Bokaal a must visit on my Rotterdam beer guide.

Rotterdam Beer Guide

Sijf

Sijf is one of the first great beer places I found when I moved to Rotterdam, and it’s still at the top of my list. It has a central location right next to Eendrachtsplein, which makes it easy to reach by public transport. Don’t let the small size of Sijf fool you, they serve over a hundred different beers. Sijf also serves up some delicious food to accompany their varied selection of beers. The simplicity of beer and great food is typical for places in Rotterdam, and Sijf does it best. A no-nonsense, get-what-you-get kind of place. Very down to earth, very Dutch, very Rotterdam.

Rotterdam Beer Guide

Proeflokaal Reijngoud

Proeflokaal Reijngoud is a laid-back Rotterdam café located at the corner of the Witte de With and de Schiedamse Vest. They opened in 2012 and have been a hit with locals ever since. Besides the giant outdoor terrace, the inside is quite cozy and chill. They serve 24 beers on tap and more than 200 out of the bottle – more than enough choice for any beer lover. One thing I love is that they show soccer matches of Feyenoord (Rotterdam’s soccer team – don’t ever tell a local that you don’t support them if your life is worth anything to you) on a large screen. Best part –  if they win they give out a free round of Dutch deep-friend delicacy bitterballen.

Rotterdam Beer Guide

Locus Publicus

Locus Publicus is a tiny, tiny café that has over 200 specialty beers and 15 rotating beers on tap from all over Europe. It’s super small, but that really adds to the atmosphere. The interior has a medieval vibe – very dark and cozy. The bartenders know their stuff and will give you good advice depending on what you’re in the mood for. Locus Publicus also hosts beer tastings where you can try out different varieties and learn about their ingredients and histories. Besides it being a great place to expand your palate and drink some great beers, it’s also the perfect spot to get learn more about a range of beers, whether local or from elsewhere in Europe.

Breweries

Rotterdam Beer Guide

Brouwerij Noordt

Brouwerij Noordt is a brewery in Rotterdam that’s relatively new to the scene. While its only been open since late 2015, it’s quickly made a name for itself and found a spot in the heart of many Rotterdam beer lovers. They have a recognizable style of beer – high on quality but without the bells and whistles – just good. They strive to use as little as possible in terms of herbs or other additions to keep it simple and pure. Brouwerij Noordt is a social hub for beer lovers and other locals, making it a must on any Rotterdam beer guide. They also have a taproom and a shop where you can buy bottles, and give tours of the brewery.

Rotterdam Beer Guide

Kaapse Brouwers Rotterdam

Kaapse Brouwers are a bit of an odd one out in Rotterdam. While many brewers and beer bars in Rotterdam are known for their no-nonsense, keep it simple beer, Kaapse Brouwers are the rebels, the hipsters, the innovators. They’re willing to experiment with flavours and ingredients in order to create new and exciting beers. They’re known as the frontrunners of craft beer in Rotterdam, and credited with putting Rotterdam on the map as a beer city. You can find them in the Fenix Food Factory, a booming culinary hub right next to the river. Especially in the summer, Fenix Food Factory is the perfect place to have a bite of food and, of course, a great beer at Kaapse Brouwers.

Rotterdam Beer Guide

Drift Brouwers

With Drift we return to the familiar thread of beer in Rotterdam: down to earth. However Drift does like to experiment, as they also have a micro-brewery to develop new interesting brews. Their beers are the right combination of intriguing flavours and accessibility. Next to that they value their customers opinions – they’ll only keep a beer on the menu or in the shop if they receive positive feedback. They’re still very much a part of the Rotterdam beer scene as they are uncomplicated and locally focused.


Rotterdam Beer Guide photos by Biergarten, Bokaal, Drift, Kaapse Brouwers, Locus Publicus, Noordt, Proeflokaal Reijngoud, and Sijf


About Spotted by Locals

This post was produced by Spotted by Locals – a series of apps and blogs with up-to-date tips by locals in 60+ cities across Europe and North America. To get the best local culture, dining, and beer tips, visit the Spotted by Locals website or download the app below.

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