De Drie Fleschjes, Amsterdam

De Drie Fleschjes

Where the Gravenstraat, Eggertstraat and Blaeustraat meet, you can find one of the oldest distillery tasting houses in the city, Proef­lokaal De Drie Fleschjes (Tasting House The Three Small Bottles). Located at the base of the Nieuwe Kerk (New Church), at Graven­straat 18, it was founded by the Bootz distillery around 1650 — the tavern was meant to allow customers a taste of the different liqeurs on sale. A wall of casks (many adopted by companies and individuals) showcases the available blends.

Interior of tating house De Drie Fleschjes, Gravenstraat, Amsterdam

The interior of De Drie Fleschjes, with bartender and owner Johannes Bulthuis (May 2021).

A liqueur is an alcoholic drink composed of spirits and additional flavorings such as sugar, fruits, herbs, and spices. They are the historical descendants of herbal medicines, made in Italy as early as the 13th century, often prepared by monks. Tin measuring cups were once used to fill the (then costly) glass bottles which customers brought themselves. A wall of casks like this was called a drankorgel (drinks organ) — the casks would be tapped regularly, to gauge by the sound how much liquid they still contained. Drankorgel is also an expression used from the 19th century on to describe a seasoned boozer.

Inside De Drie Fleschjes, Amsterdam, bottles behind the bar and wall of casks

Inside De Drie Fleschjes (January 2020).

Turkeys & Walk in the Woods

Small bottles called kalkoentjes (turkeys) or burge­meesters­flesjes (mayors’ bottles), some with portraits of Amsterdam’s mayors, line the shelves (they originally came from tasting tavern Wynand Fockink). The floors are still covered with sand, like in the 17th century. It’s definitely worth a visit, not just for the tradtional Corenwijn (grain wine) or special liqueurs, but also because of the wonderful atmosphere and impeccable old-fashioned service on the terrace. Inside you can sip a traditional jenever (Dutch gin), or go for one of the 35 different liqueurs.

Interior of tavern De Drie Fleschjes, Amsterdam, with old bottles collection

Interior of tavern De Drie Fleschjes, collection of special bottles (June 2020).

One of the most succes­ful mixes which the Drie Fleschjes serves is called De Bos­wandeling (Walk In The Woods) — 3/4 wodka, 1/4 triple sec, with a dash of angostura. They also serve Gulpener beer (from the province of Limburg) and special seasonal beers, as well as good wines and traditional drinking snacks like ossenworst (ox sausage), meatballs and Beemster cheese with mustard.

Grand Opening in 1650

It is said that at the opening of the tavern on June 29, 1650, many important people of the time were present: poet Jacob Cats, painters Jan Steen and Rembrandt van Rijn, scientists Constantijn Huygens and his son Christiaan, the Bicker family (who owned Bickers­eiland), young Baruch de Spinoza, seafarers Michiel Adriaenszoon de Ruyter and Maarten Harpertszoon Tromp. Herring was served with the liquor.

Gravenstraat, Amsterdam, drawing from 1788 by Herman Schouten

Gravenstraat, drawing from 1788 by Herman Schouten (1747-1822). On the left at number 15 the Wijnroeierscomptoir (Wine Measurers Office) and part of the Nieuwe Kerk. On the right Gravenstraat 22, former Latin School, the entrance to Blaeustraat between numbers 20 and 18, at number 18 tavern De Drie Fleschjes (Collectie Atlas Splitgerber, Stads­archief Amsterdam).

Front of De Drie Fleschjes distillery on Gravenstraat, Amsterdam

Front of De Drie Fleschjes distillery on Gravenstraat, now Best Western hotel (June 2020).

Bootz Distillery

The distillery and tasting room were bought by Bootz in 1816. They renovated in 1888 and became a real factory, adding distilling vessels with a capacity up to 3,600 liter (951 gallon). Until 1956 the distillery and tasting house were owned by the Bootz family, after that distiller Bols became the owner. In the 1980s Bols stopped distilling in the Bootz Distillery and in 1989 the old distillery was made into a hotel.

Gravenstraat, Amsterdam, with the original Drie Fleschjes distillery

Gravenstraat with the original Drie Fleschjes distillery, now a hotel (June 2020).


The Gravenstraat (Counts Street), next to the Nieuwe Kerk (New Church), runs between Nieuwen­dijk (New Dike) and Nieuwe­zijds Voor­burg­wal (New Side Before the Wall). The street name dates from the period between 1299 and 1345, when the counts of Hainaut stayed at an inn here when they came to Amsterdam. At Graven­straat corner with the Eggert­straat is bakery lunchroom De Drie Graefjes (The Three Counts). Between the Eggert­straat and Blaeu Erf, at current number 22, there used to be a Latin School, which later became the Barlaeus Gymnasium when they moved to Wetering­schans 29 in 1885.

Two happy tourists in front of De Drie Fleschjes on Gravenstraat, Amsterdam

Two happy tourists on Eggertstraat, right behind them De Drie Fleschjes on Gravenstraat (July 2022).

Small square next to the Nieuwe Kerk, Amsterdam, with empty bottles

The small square next to the Nieuwe Kerk (May 2021).

Website De Drie Fleschjes:

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