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Amsterdam: Free live music on weeknights

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Free live jazz on Tuesday at Alto's Jazz Cafe. Photo by Silent Buddha.
Free live jazz on Tuesday at Alto's Jazz Cafe. Photo by Silent Buddha.

Looking to groove to some live music in Amsterdam on a weekday? The city’s got you covered with bands performing nightly across town. And there’s no need to dish out funds from your “miscellaneous” pile: Here are some hot music venues that are free (or nearly)!

Sunday: Mulligan’s Irish Bar
Amstel 100
Website: www.mulligans.nl
Cost: Free

This authentic Irish bar draws in locals and tourists alike for pints in a social atmosphere. Traditional Irish tunes mixed with foot-tapping bluegrass makes for a friendly vibe all night long. Stop by after 7 PM any night of the week for free entertainment. On Sundays, however, Mulligan’s hosts open jam sessions.

Monday: Belgique
Gravenstraat 2
Website: www.cafe-belgique.nl
Cost: Free

A small Belgian bar offering a mix of trendy swing and rock, Belgique lures an alternative crowd of all ages. A large selection of Trappist beers and an easygoing atmosphere add to the appeal. It might be tricky fitting bands in this tiny tavern, but once the night gets started, no one seems to mind grooving shoulder-to-shoulder.

Tuesday: Jazz Cafe Alto
Korte Leidsedwarsstraat 115
Website: www.jazz-cafe-alto.nl
Cost: Free

The historic Jazz Cafe Alto dates back to the 1950s and stirs up smooth Latin vibes on Tuesday nights (though this cozy, swingin’ bar offers live music every night). Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays are especially popular nights, and thus have a €5 entry fee (although it includes a fresh Amstel at the bar). If you crave a scene full of jazz cats and sax solos, this is your place.

Wednesday: Maloe Melo
Lijnbaansgracht 163
Website: www.maloemelo.nl

Never too packed and always relaxed, Malo Melo offers a nightly session of blues and soulful rock that’s impossible to find elsewhere. The crowd ranges from students to seniors, but shares a common passion for acoustic slides and electric tears. It’s a groovy scene for all, offering a true taste of Amsterdam’s chilled-out style.

Thursday: The Last Waterhole
Korte Leidsedwarsstraat 49
Website: www.waterhole.nl
Cost: €1

The Last Waterhole is known for smoking rock covers by local music regulars and a great, rockin’ vibe. The lively and sociable setting makes it irresistible for patrons, who sing along and boogie down. The central location makes the Waterhole a perfect place to start or end an evening out on Leidseplein. Music performed nightly.

About the author

About the author: Audrey Sykes hopped across the pond from the US eight years ago for a Masters degree in global journalism. Since then, she’s lived all over Europe, reporting and editing for music sites, snowboard mags, and travel media. She’s also the Amsterdam author for Party Earth, a guide to nightlife across Europe.

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