For over three decades, Coco’s Outback has brought the party to you, from crazy club nights to tricky pub quizzes to heartfelt karaoke ballads and everything in between! But what is the history of this Amsterdam institution? Read on to discover the wild past of one of Holland’s top party destinations!
Coco’s opened its doors on April 16, 1987, but in a much smaller format with extremely limited seating and a tiny kitchen. Christened “Mister Coco’s” at that time, the bar was not an immediate success, despite a small, loyal client base and a strong opening night. At the time, Rembrandplein and Thorbeckeplein were seedy areas with topless bars, dank nightclubs, prostitutes, and a reputation for crime. Tourists and locals, alike, avoided the neighbourhood for fear of pickpockets and violence, and it would take a truly exceptional business to bring them around!
The brainchild of Edward and Jane Van Noord, Coco’s took a great deal of fine-tuning to work out the perfect concept and menu. For a year and a half, the business struggled and the young entrepreneur couple worked day and night to bring the people a unique vision and a great night out. At one point, Coco’s was an exclusive, posh destination with white tablecloths and high-class dinner guests. At another, it was a pretty standard, Dutch-style bar. Still, some days would pass with only a single customer and less than 20 euro in the till. Attempts to sell the bar were unsuccessful due to the location, and things looked quite dire for the fledgling business.
With bills piling up and creditors at the door, the Van Noords truly had nothing left to lose and decided to go out with a party! Using the excess stock, they slashed prices and blasted music to appeal to the real wild partiers of Amsterdam. Every night became the wildest scene in the city, and while the neighbours weren’t always happy with the new crazy party vibe, the customers flocked in! Within a matter of weeks, Coco’s became known for an insanely good night out where everything was allowed, from lounging on comfortable couches with a cheap pint of beer to dancing on tables until the early hours of the morning! Students in particular loved the new atmosphere and sales boomed. The Van Noords even had to buy out the bar next door for the excess customers who were lining up down the street and into the square. Coco’s had become the destination in Amsterdam for the wildest night of your life!
In the next four years, Coco’s grew into a chain with three locations and a staff of almost 150. Each business had a different concept and specialities, including an early-morning breakfast menu, a business centre complete with public office spaces and fax machines, and even outdoor play areas for children. The Coco’s chain truly offered something for everyone! These additional locations didn’t stand the test of time, but several decades of mad parties proved that Coco’s works best when you can simply lose your inhibitions and party your hardest every night of the week!
The Van Noords also gave the drinks game a try with an innovative and controversial product called Wave. It was the first of its kind in Europe, a shooter drink in a sachet with a kangaroo logo, but soon attracted the attention of the government. With the cute, boxing-glove-clad kangaroo character on the front, lawyers argued the drink was being marketed to kids. This, of course, wasn’t true, but the case was held up in court for a long time. After years of litigation, the Wave failed, but Coco’s lived on, inheriting the Australian-themed branding and becoming the Netherland’s first Aussie pub! From the authentic Australian memorabilia and wall art to the outback-inspired menu, Coco’s has made a name for itself with its unique theme and unmissable nightlife!
After almost 35 years, Coco’s Outback is proud to continue offering the best night out in Amsterdam! The business has truly come a long way and weathered many storms that could have ended the party prematurely, but it was lucky enough to come out the other side. For decades, Dutchies, expats, and tourists have made Coco’s their home. During the day, you can enjoy an incredible food menu with a cheap pint of beer and watch your favourite game on one of our dozens of televisions and massive projector screens. At night, we continue to offer the wildest party in town every day of the week, so stop in today and see why people can’t stay away from Coco’s!
Where will we be 30 years from now? Only time will tell, so be sure to check in with us for all the madness and fun you know and love! We look forward to seeing you down under the next time you’re up for an incredible night out!
Do you want to enjoy a night in Coco’s Outback? Check out our group options here.