The Athens bar scene has exploded in the past few years. I would guess quadrupled in number. No joke! Every corner you turn, there is a new little speak-easy slinging drinks.
I chose the word ‘speak-easy’ because many of them have a retro vibe, which I suppose is the hipster influence. Maybe? Do we still say hipster or is that just the norm now? Whatever the reason, I like it! So many little cozy nooks to choose from- some very busy and loud, others not so much.
I put together a map of places that I have personally been to and recommend to visitors. For years it was just a ‘copy-paste’ list saved in my gmail that I would send to friends and friends of friends that were coming to Athens. Today, my list comes alive!
I also added some places to eat, as Greek law demands that you eat while enjoying adult beverages. One thing that is not on my list is cafes. BUT most of these places are open during the day and also serve coffee and juices. I don’t think you will have trouble finding coffee in Greece!
I don’t even know how to start with this subject. The nightlife is immense. Greeks are known night-owls and walking around the center at midnight will confirm this. Dinner is at 9pm (even later in the summer) and people start to trickle into the clubs around midnight. Clubbing is not my forte, so you’ll have to look elsewhere for deets on that.
Bars will start to get busy around 9pm or 10pm depending on their crowd. Some places get busy in the afternoon with cafe goers and stay steadily busy into the early hours of the morning.
It used to be that you had to know where to go to find the cool places. Now, you can just walk around and see what catches your attention. The best area I would suggest for wandering to find a nice spot is the Lekka/Kolokotroni area (as you can see by the cluster of purple and green on my map).
Athens Urban Adventures Twilight Tour
If you are new to Athens, as a visitor or resident, taking a nightlife tour with a local guide is a great way to get your bearings. In just one evening, you learn all of the cool areas and get to feel out the vibe in each one. Read about my experience here > Exploring Athens After Dark : Athens Urban Adventures
Not a fan of big crowds and super loud music? Head out early and avoid the crowds. If you have the afternoon free, find a spot that you like and enjoy some early cocktails, have dinner and then get to bed early.
The quietest time at the popular establishments is usually late afternoon/early evening 5pm-8pm. The afternoon lunch/coffee crowd has gone home to get ready for the evening and the late nighters don’t leave the house until 10pm. I enjoy camping out at a nice street-side table with some vino at twilight and people watching.
I’m going to do separate articles with descriptions of my favorite places and group them into categories.
Athens Street Bars (coming soon)
Central Athens Restaurants (coming soon)