The patrician building that houses Amsterdam’s premier boutique hotel, the Dylan, was originally constructed in 1772 as the city’s first theater. More than two centuries later, the canal-side edifice is again hosting a spectacle—but this time around, it’s of the Hey-is-that-who-I-think-it-is? sort, now that the hotel’s bar and lounges have become center stage for the Amsterdam social scene. Newly open to the public, the multilevel spaces are fresh off a several-million-euro renovation (courtesy of local talent FG Stijl, one of Europe’s most in-demand design firms) that’s replete with attention-grabbing details, among them gold-leaf walls, vermilion leather wing chairs, and a mammoth wood-and–cattle horn bar. All of these extravagant elements somehow fit in perfectly—not unlike the clientele, a ceaseless parade of Margiela- and van Noten–clad giants and giantesses with hearty laughs and killer bone structure. The Asian-accented bar menu is an abbreviated version of the award-winning restaurant’s. Sample Madras samosas and tiger prawns in rice-noodle dough while you sip a signature ginger cocktail, then sit back and take in the show. 384 Keizersgracht; 31-20/530-2010; cocktails from $15.
Bar at The Dylan
Stationed within the Dylan Hotel, this elegant, brasserie-style bar is a popular spot for lunch, dinner, and business meetings over cocktails. The space includes both the fireside Bar Badou and a lounge with comfortable, low profile furniture. Executive chef Dennis Kuipers' sophisticated menu includes gourmet sandwiches as well as more involved dishes like sliced suckling pig to Chinese Oscietra caviar. From 3 p.m. to 7p.m., the bar’s signature High Wine is served, a uniquely Dutch take on English High Tea that features four amuse-style courses paired with wines originating from emerging wine regions.
Truly one of a kind, it's hard to fault The Dylan. Everything from the design, service, location and restaurant merit top marks for quality and style.