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Tales & Spirits

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Lijnbaanssteeg 5-7, Amsterdam, Netherlands

By Hamish Smith

If an old building tells a thousand tales, the one that houses Tales & Spirits, built in 1575 and jam-packed with antique cocktail paraphernalia, is a raconteur of biblical proportions. This five-story building of wood beams and high-ceilings is so old it came before the Netherlands was even the Netherlands. Tales & Spirits, its latest occupant, is now the country’s last member standing in The World’s 50 Best Bars.

It’s its third year in the big league, having debuted at 44 in 2014, coming 30th in 2015 and now, 18th. So what’s changed? Well, like many ‘out of control’ habits, owners Lydia Soedadi and Boudewijn Mesritz’s collection of antiquities keeps the walls and cabinets busier than ever. There’s now even a shop which falls somewhere between a museum and an off-licence.

The drinks menu continues its march, with an ever more playful step. The sharing Mojo Copper Kettle is a ‘libido enhancing’ mix served in a Copper Kettle teapot, but more serious, classical libations are to be found too in the form of 10 variations on the Old Fashioned. Try the Bacardi Ron de Maestro MMXII vintage rum Old Fashioned, if you have €225 to spare. If not, spare a thought for the in-house chef, whose nose is to the grindstone until the early hours. This place doesn’t just do the highest calibre of cocktails in the lowlands, its food menu hits heights rarely seen in cocktail bars. The décor, the drinks, the food – this really is a bar to tell tales about.