Bars, Cafes
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Café Marcella & Amstelveld

Cozy and peaceful, Cafe Marcella in autumn

When writing blogs like this, it’s very easy to fall into the trap of seeking out only the newest spots with the biggest buzz. We love tracking down the fresh entries into the city and while they quickly get into our collective consciousness, it doesn’t guarantee getting into our heart. Cafe Marcella certainly isn’t new, and it certainly doesn’t shout, but it’s one of those places we’ve fallen a little in love with over the years.

If you take our advice and browse the idyllic Utrechtsestraat for clothes, music and homewares, Café Marcella could easily be on your roster of pit stops whilst on your way to de Pijp. It is a bruin cafe: humble and charming, like a home from home. In actuality there are many cafes like this in the city but a part of our particular fondness and bond with Marcella lies in its proximity to Kompas HQ. It’s our local (or one of them) which means we can just pop in whenever we feel like it.

Amstelveld in autumn, Amsterdam Centrum

Amstelveld in autumn

But convenience isn’t the only reason, far from it. The cafe sits where Prinsengracht meets Utrechtsestraat, and it rewards its customers with views over the canal or onto a lovely square called Amstelveld. The square, which on Monday holds a flower market (of a much higher calibre than the Bloemenmarkt a kilometre away), is used every day. Children play while their parents supervise, dogs are walked or dogs walk their owners, and groups of friends use the boules court for friendly competitions.

It’s cozy inside but not exactly striking (not even in a bruin cafe way) so the anthropology is best watched from outside. In cold weather, settle down under the awnings and heat lamps with a blanket across your lap, or when the climate is kinder, recline across the street, next to the canal where you can watch cyclists and pedestrians pass you by on one side, and boats travel along Prinsengracht on the other.

Café Marcella might not scream about what it does but it isn’t there for that. We like it quiet, so take a seat, slow the pace and feel a wave of inner peace as the world revolves around you.

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