Staying in Amsterdam’s Red Light District: Durty Nelly’s Irish Pub, Amsterdam, Netherlands

It was an odd but yet refreshing feeling when I headed back to Amsterdam in the Netherlands earlier this year. It completed a total full circle for me in life and in truth freaked me out a bit. The story dated back 23 years…

My return to the city of Amsterdam after 23 years.

My return to the city of Amsterdam after 23 years.

I first visited Amsterdam back in 1991 – in fact it was my first ever “bit of backpacking”. Aged just 11 at the time, I had escaped my parents for a week and was on a school trip to the Netherlands. We flew from Belfast to Amsterdam and had a week exploring Amsterdam, Vollendam and some other cool parts of Holland. I must have gotten some kind of travel buzz or bug on that trip that has stuck with me. However, destiny meant I wouldn’t return to the Netherlands until 2014!! That’s a whopping 23 years and in life it’s the longest ever absence I’ve had from a country to date.

jonny blair cycling amsterdam

Cycling in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

But there it was, as an adult I arrived into Schipol Airport, on a direct flight from Iraq. I had backpacked my way through Iraq’s Kurdistan region and found a direct flight from Erbil to Amsterdam. I looked up a cool Irish Pub called Durty Nellys and based myself here for three nights. Run by an Irishman, Jim and with a load of cool staff, this was a totally perfect place to stay in Amsterdam!

durty nellys

Durty Nelly’s Irish Pub and Hostel in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

amsterdam durty nellys

Durty Nelly’s Irish Pub, Amsterdam at night.

I was staying in the red light district too, which is easily the coolest part of town in my opinion. Before I discuss the city of Amsterdam itself and talk about my time there, here’s an overview with some photos of my three nights staying in Durty Nelly’s Irish Pub. Irish Pubs are great places to stay. This one rocks. Here are 6 reasons to stay at Durty Nelly’s!

jonny blair bulldog amsterdam

Backpacking in the red light district – The Bulldog Cannabis Bar.

1. Location: Red Light District

Yes Durty Nelly’s is in the famous red light district. Wander around and stare at half naked girls, try some cannabis cake, check out the Zambeza range, smoke some weed, buy some sex toys, eat local cheese and enjoy this lively city. Amsterdam, is still a really really cool spot. I fell in love with it again on this brief visit.

amsterdam netherlands

The Red Light District of Amsterdam, Netherlands.

2. Breakfast: All you can eat/drink

I love hostels that include breakfast as a standard and Nelly’s does just that. This includes bread, cheese, eggs, ham, cereals and free tea and coffee. All you can eat or drink. Filled me up for most of the day!

durty nellys amsterdam

Another great reason to stay at Durty Nelly’s – all you can eat breakfast is included.

3. Tours: Discount

Through staying at Nelly’s you can get a load of cool offers and discounted entry to places in and around Amsterdam. I headed out to the Ajax Stadium – the Amsterdam Arena and the staff at Nelly’s got me 10% off. Check the reception desk for more details of money off tours!

jonny blair ajax stadium

I got 10% off my tour at Amsterdam Arena through Durty Nellys!

4. Irish Bar Downstairs: Discounted Guinness!

As a backpacking Northern Irishman I love a pint of Guinness every now and then. One thing that attracted me to Durty Nelly’s was the thought of getting discount off my Guinness pints!! All residents get this discount, which means a pint can work out at under 5 Euros!

nellys discounts

The discounts offered to hostel guests at Nelly’s!

cheap guinness amsterdam

Guinness for €4.80 – hostel guest discount! Bargain!

guinness on tap

The awesome bar at Durty Nellys – Guinness and Smithwicks on tap – bliss!

5. Social Life: New Friends

Nelly’s is one of the venues for the famous Amsterdam Red Light District Pub Crawls. Let your hair down and join these pub crawls, they normally cost around 20 Euros which includes a t-shirt, a shot/drink in each bar and free entry. You’ll meet a load of new friends!

The bar at Durty Nelly's, Amsterdam.

The bar at Durty Nelly’s, Amsterdam.

6. Cosy Dorms

I stayed in a 6 bed dorm and met a load of cool fellow backpackers from England, Spain and Brazil. This is a cool place to meet people and my dorm had a great shower room with hot showers (believe me this is a Godsend when you’ve recently backpacked through Iran, Iraq and Nagorno Karabakh in the winter!).

durty nellys amsterdam

My cosy dorm in Durty Nelly’s, Amsterdam, Netherlands.

As a bonus, Nelly’s also has FREE wi-fi and luggage storage! So if you make it to Amsterdam on your travels be sure to hit up Nelly’s and tour the red light district. It was nice to be back after 23 years away…

Durty Nellys Amsterdam Official Website

A video of my room at Durty Nelly’s (I stayed in a 6 bed dorm):

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13 thoughts on “Staying in Amsterdam’s Red Light District: Durty Nelly’s Irish Pub, Amsterdam, Netherlands

  • Been decades since I was in Amsterdam. Plans were in mind, so your post has brought the place back to the fore. Looks like you had a good time. Must feel a bit strange at first, after the Middle East.
    Graefyl recently posted…King Sancho’s TownMy Profile

  • Too right Ray – Amsterdam was actually cheaper than I expected to be honest! Was really cool to pop back to it – a secret trip on route to visiting my family by surprise! Safe travels. Jonny

  • Me too Graefyl – it was 23 years since I was there. It was only a quick 3 day stopover this time as the flights connection worked out but good to be back. It was totally weird going from Iraq to Amsterdam. ANd things were the wrong way round. Iraq was so safe and friendly (I was in Kurdistan) and then suddenly when I got to Amsterdam at 3am I was followed by druggies and the whole place seemed more dangerous than Iraq. Bizarre but true. Safe travels. Jonny

  • I’ll stick to daylite hours. I’ve heard it has become quite dodgy there in the late and wee hours.

    Guinness – I don’t like Guinness, Caffrey’s however….. 🙂

    There was an Irish Pub around the corner from where I stayed in Lisbon, but they served some other cream beer, can’t remember the name. You already hone?
    Graefyl recently posted…King Sancho’s TownMy Profile

  • I’ll stick to daylite hours. I’ve heard it has become quite dodgy there in the late and wee hours.

    Guinness – I don’t like Guinness, Caffrey’s however….. 🙂

    There was an Irish Pub around the corner from where I stayed in Lisbon, but they served some other cream beer, can’t remember the name. You already home?

  • I’ll stick to daylite hours. I’ve heard it has become quite dodgy there in the late and wee hours.

    Guinness – I don’t like Guinness, Caffrey’s however….. 🙂

    There was an Irish Pub around the corner from where I stayed in Lisbon, but they served some other Irish cream beer, can’t remember the name.

    You’re already home I assume?

  • Hi Graefyl, thanks for your comment! Yes the Guinness was great. Not sure what exactly you mean by “home” though as I’ve been traveling for about 11 years and don’t really have a “home” anymore hence the constant changes to my whereabouts! But yes, I’m in Hong Kong now which is the nearest to a home I’ll get – off to China, East Timor and Brazil next. Safe travels. Jonny

  • “home” – got my wires crossed. China should be interesting, heard they like plastic though. Place still has to find its feet yet. Takes a while. Have fun.

  • The Bulldog cannabis bar has a very inviting and artistic street-facing entrance. “Durty Nelly’s” cannabis cake sounds like an interesting way to end a meal.

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