Jazz Café Alto

Café / Jazz Bar / Live Music Venue
Jazz Café Alto Dimly illuminated by rustic lanterns, candles, and strings of soft lights, Jazz Café Alto is a quaint, smoky bar just off of Leidseplein that offers fantastic live jazz every night of the week. Amsterdam Holland 52.3632436 4.8843595
3.87 6
Jazz Café Alto - Café | Jazz Bar | Live Music Venue in Amsterdam.
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Ratings:
Lucas
Adriana
Jonah
Emma

Party Earth Review Dimly illuminated by rustic lanterns, candles, and strings of soft lights, Jazz Café Alto is a quaint, smoky bar just off of Leidseplein that offers fantastic live jazz every night of the week. Over fifty years old, Alto... ... read full review

  • Hours:

    M–Th, Su 9pm–3am, F–Sa 9pm–4am

  • Recommended as:

    • Night Spot

Party Earth Jazz Café Alto Review

The Scene

Dimly illuminated by rustic lanterns, candles, and strings of soft lights, Jazz Café Alto is a quaint, smoky bar just off of Leidseplein that offers fantastic live jazz every night of the week.

Dimly illuminated by rustic lanterns, candles, and strings of soft lights, Jazz Café Alto is a quaint, smoky bar just off of Leidseplein that offers fantastic live jazz every night of the week.

Over fifty years old, Alto’s has played host to three generations of regulars. Wood floors and walls covered in photographs of local and legendary jazz cats create a cozy tavern vibe where patrons sip whiskey and wine as the musicians perform their magic on the tiny stage.

The whistlin’-hot music has been known to lure in celebrities like Chet Baker, Bill Clinton, Liza Minnelli, and Rosa King. And judging by the musicians’ smooth compositions and fiery solos, the in-house joke about the out-of-tune piano is clearly not to be taken seriously.

Alto’s is a place for true jazz lovers who want to escape the swanky, avant-garde style of mainstream swing, so patrons should just kick back, relax and listen to the sweet soul-inspiring sounds.

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Tip from Jonah:

If live jazz music in a small, smoky tavern is your idea of heaven, then don’t miss this place. The band starts up around 10pm, and the €5 cover charge on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays includes a free beer at the bar. Though the cover charge helps keep pickpockets away, keep an eye out for them on busy nights.

  • Crowd

    Relaxed but well-dressed, late 20s and up.

  • Entertainment / Music

    Live jazz nightly, from blues to salsa to hot licks.

  • Food / Miscellaneous

    None.

  • Prices

    Cover charge €5/W, Sa. Beer €2.50, wine €3.50, mixed drinks €7.50.

  • What to Wear / Dress Code

    Smart casual.

  • Hot Nights / When to Go

    A great option any night, but on Wednesdays it’s possible to catch the lively local saxophonist Hans Dulfer. The place overflows with jazz enthusiasts on the weekends.

  • Close By

    Rookies (Korte Leidsedwarsstraat 145-147) is a large and open coffeeshop with a nice-sized smoking lounge and a thirst-quenching menu of juices and hot drinks. Across from Rookies is the Whiskycafé L&B with over 1200 whiskeys to sample.

Jazz Café Alto User Reviews

Average rating:
A place in our heart for Alto
Mokum G. Dec 10, 2012
Alto's used to be a lot cooler than it is now. Now they charge a fiver three times a week. Which happen to be their busiest nights. I was told once it was to keep pick-pocketers out. Bullocks. And because of it the crowd has gotten more touristic. And the vibe isn't as rich and flowing with jazz loves like before. There was also a time you could smoke fags and spliffs there. But those times have gone since 2008. That was also the time you could sneak out the door at the toilets and run from rooftop to rooftop down the street. That being said, it's still a must for many. And MokumGroupie still has a place in their heart for Alto's.
A fixture in my Leidseplein route
Amster M. Dec 6, 2012
At first I'd say that Wednesdays are the ONLY days you should come here. Just because of Hans Dulfer. But nowadays I think there are a strong of amazing jazz musicians that perform at Alto's so chances are you'll catch something great any day of the week. I do notice that Sundays are still the most relaxing for music. The best tip I can give at Alto's is don't by shy when it comes to snagging seats in the front. Any stool is up for grabs, so just walk up there between songs and plop down. It might feel weird at first because you'll be so close to the band, but those are some amazing spots, and that's how you'll fall in love with the place.
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