By Maria Shollenbarger
April 09, 2009

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.

The Dylan

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.