Cafe Chris is listed in our Amsterdam's Best Bars feature.
Built in 1624, Cafe Chris is the oldest bar in the Jordaan. It has been renovated over the years but sensitively and this really feels like a 17th Century ale house.
The construction workers that built the 85 ft high Westertoren (completed in 1638), the tower of the Westerkerk that dominates the Jordaan, were paid for their work in this bar and this is also where they took their lunch.
Rembrandt lived and died on the Rozengracht and had his studio in the Bloemgracht, Cafe Chris is directly on the route between the two and given it was the only bar in the area at that time - it is not surprising that it is thought that this was Rembrandt's local - what a wonderful idea.
Nell has owned Cafe Chris for the last eleven years and she is to be found behind the bar most days. She is also an artist, which fits in well with the artistic history of the area. Artisan shops and designer boutiques are hidden in the small streets of the Jordaan.
Cafe Chris has a great atmosphere, it is always lively with a mainly local Dutch crowd who either live or work in the Jordaan and are very friendly. Lots of young people meet up here on their way to the clubs.
It is a quirky place, with its low beamed ceilings and ancient windows and an amusing men's loo which is situated under the entrance stairs on the side street, this resulted in the cistern being located in the bar, to be pulled on the way out - so yes you do know whenever someone spends a penny!
This is the last bar left in the Jordaan to still have a billiard table, once a really popular game, almost all bars had one, they've been given up to make room for more tables and chairs - but not at Cafe Chris.
In the back room the splendid Belgian/French billiard table is in use most afternoons and if you happen to be there on a Tuesday billiard evening when a game is played, you'll be treated to a great display of skill. Yes we had a go - after being explained the rules by a couple of Amsterdammers that were having a match, they kindly let us join in but we didn't stand a chance, it is a very difficult game to play, especially after a couple of beers...
This is also one of the Jordaan brown cafes that is lucky enough to get the afternoon sun, difficult to find in these narrow streets, there are a couple of small tables outside and you are delighted with a full view of the Westertoren.