The Pulitzer Hotel is a bit of an Amsterdam icon. Around since the early 1970’s it’s a labyrinth of rooms and corridors cleverly created within 25 interlinked, 400-year old canal houses. And nestling at its heart is Pulitzer’s Bar. An extremely popular destination with discerning locals for years, it’s also enjoyed the benefits of the recent refresh that the whole hotel has been undergoing over the last year.
The balancing act between embracing innovation and holding on to the established is one that requires a deft touch. Pulitzer’s Bar has pulled it off. There’s a smart bar area for when you want to sit up and get involved in the action, as well as plenty of places that make you want to sit down and stay a while.
The new drinks menu delivers the old and new in elegantly blended fashion too, thanks to its creator Andrew Nicholls. “Amsterdam has some fantastic cocktail bars but not necessarily the quality hotel cocktail bar you find in London and New York,” he says, “we wanted to give people a premium environment with drinks to match.”
The trick that Pulitzer’s Bar pulls off with its drinks is a subtle one. Nicholls describes the approach to its creation rather like a simple recipe, “one part of the past, one part of the present and one part of revolutionary technique”. We particularly liked the Pulitzer Old Fashioned (Zuidam 12 yr Korenwijn, fermented pineapple syrup and creole bitters) which takes a classic recipe but showcases aged genever as the spirit. And when it arrives it does so on a small bed of hay. Not only is it visually appealing but the hay also adds an extra layer of aroma. Perhaps not revolutionary but still very creative. Best of all the whole package works for a very satisfying drink. We also enjoyed the Rock ‘N’ Rye (Bulleit Rye infused with pear rock candy). The infusion was particularly tasty and the serve was also a nice touch, presenting the drink in its own carafe in a dish of crushed ice so that you can top up your glass as you go with consistently chilled liquid.
Talking to a few of the locals who frequented the original bar its apparent they are more than a little happy with the new take on the old place. The consensus being that it was always something of an institution, but now it has a style and drinks list to really do it justice.
Let’s not forget that this is all part of a major hotel transformation too. Like the bar the hotel manages to feel luxurious in an informal sort of way. As for the rooms, no two are alike but all are charmingly quirky. We particularly loved the four Collector’s Suites, each inspired by individuals who are fancifully imagined to have once resided in the original building sometime in its 400 year history. There’s the Art Lover, the Book Collector and the Antique Expert, but our favourite is the Composer. Here there’s a wall lined with framed album covers from the cheesy to the classic. Better still there’s a working 1970s radiogram packed with original vinyl for your listening pleasure. This has private party written all over it.
Talking of parties, there’s another feature found in every single room that caught our eye before we’d even had a chance to put down our suitcases. A cool cocktail kit. Yes, we did do a double take. Not content with supplying glasses and an ice bucket, also featured as standard are a shaker, mixing tin, bar spoon, jigger and strainer. If this wasn’t enough you can also order a full size bottle of the spirit of your choice to mix as you please.
Yes it’s definitely party time at the Pulitzer Amsterdam.
Sunday – Thursday 15.00 – 01.00, Friday & Saturday 15.00 – 02.00.
Keizersgracht 234, 1016DZ, Amsterdam.
T: +31 (0) 205235235