Its reputation for partying is largely deserved, but Amsterdam remains a cafe society, where the pursuit of pleasure is more about cosiness and charm than decadence or hedonism. When the Dutch say ‘cafe’ they mean a pub. The most atmospheric are the historic bruin cafés (brown cafes), so called for the smoke stains from centuries of use (until the recent smoking ban), which engender gezelligheid (conviviality, cosiness). You'll also find grand cafes, theatre cafes, jenever (Dutch gin) tasting houses and bars galore, from raucous sports bars to swish designer digs. Cafe culture should not be mistaken for coffeeshop (marijuana-smoking cafe) culture, which is one of Amsterdam’s most famous attributes. Remember, there’s a big difference between an espresso bar – occasionally called a koffiehuis – and a coffeeshop: the latter may serve coffee but it has a much more to do with cannabis.