The best nightlife in Athens

The best nightlife in Athens

Couleur Locale, Athens

Couleur Locale, Athens

Late nights are a big part of the sociable and impulsive Athenian lifestyle. Squares, roofs and sidewalks are full of little tables where residents take their time to drink. Every corner seems to have a lively neighborhood bar, with the biggest concentration of funky cocktail bars in the labyrinth of pedestrian streets between Syntagma and Monastiraki. From hotel bars overlooking the Acropolis to natural wine bars, a red-hot cocktail culture and a thriving craft beer scene, the nightlife is as much a part of the fabric of the city as the ruins.

For more Athens inspiration, check out our guides to the city’s best hotels, restaurants and things to do.

Historic center

heteroclite

This intimate wine bar is run by a team of Gallo-Greek sommeliers who won’t intimidate you if you’re more of a wine connoisseur than a connoisseur. The long list of exciting and affordable wines from small producers changes every month. Recently, they have started experimenting with appetizers and spritzers, made with sweet or sparkling Greek wines, paired with regional cheeses, olives and mushroom chutney. Pull up a chair on the sidewalk and settle in for a peaceful night of people-watching at this prime spot on the corner across from Athens Cathedral.

Contact: heteroclito.gr
Nearest subway: Monastiraki or Syntagma
Prices: £
Entering: entries only

heteroclitus, Athens

heteroclitus, Athens

Baba au Rum

The first bar in Athens to be ranked among the best bars in the world, this lively cocktail mecca earns its many accolades lightly after a decade in the spotlight. As the name suggests, the rum list is exceptional (their aged rum comes with a dark chocolate nugget) and their mai tai, zombie and tiki punch are perfect every time. Add in a mid-century tropical setting, sultry lighting and a soundtrack that swings between Cuban boleros and Jamaican dancehall, and you’ve got all the makings of a Caribbean vacation in central Athens.

Contact: babaaurum. with
Nearest subway: Monastiraki or Syntagma
Prices: $$
Entering: There’s always room for one more. When it gets really busy, you can take your cocktail outside and join the smokers on the pedestrian street.

Baba au Rum

Baba au Rum

Crazy

Tacos and tequila are the ideal ingredients to start a great night out in Athens. Big on flavor and energy, this funky Mexican is the latest culinary adventure from famed Greek chef Athinagoras Kostakos. Spicy, sour or sweet, margaritas stand up to homemade tacos and tostadas piled high with strong flavors. There is also a selection of mezcal cocktails to get the party started. Pull up a stool at the green-tiled bar and dip into guacamole with roasted pistachios, blue crab and passion fruit ceviche and Iberian pork tacos with salsa verde. But beware: these margaritas slide dangerously fast.

Contact: Kalamiotou 15; +30 210 331 8778
Opening hours: Daily from 1pm to 2am
Nearest subway: Monastiraki
Reservations: recommended
Price: $$

bird Man

It takes boldness to open a ‘Japanese Pub + Grill’ just down the street from the best sushi restaurant in Athens (Sushimou). But self-styled ‘chef-butcher’ Ari Vezenes draws the after-work drink crowd to his latest venture. A wooden counter lined with chunky oak benches runs the entire length of the narrow space, a warm cocoon of wood paneling, tile and diffused light. Behind the bar, reggae and afro-soul tunes spin on vintage turntables and determined chefs run the robata grill. The smallest and tastiest yakitori (made with organic, free-range, GMO-free chicken) and unctuous, ethically grown beef nigiri and tataki delicately complement a single-grain Japanese whiskey or well-balanced negroni. Whether you pop in for a quick Asahi or end up ordering everything on the menu, Birdman is a soulful takeout spot.

Contact: birdman.gr
Nearest subway: Syntagma
Prices: $$
Entering: essential reservations

birdman, athens

birdman, athens

six DOGS

A club, bar, show, project space and cafe all brought together in one idiosyncratic location, Six DOGS has built a loyal following of party-goers since it opened in 2009. Rock up any night of the week and you might stumble across a rap. Greek show, a techno DJ set, avant-garde art overture or record release with hipsters dancing under the fairy-lit fig trees in the backyard. Cool but unpretentious, with a DIY aesthetic, you’ll instantly feel part of the Athenian after-hours scene here. After all, the name is a joke with six degrees of separation.

Contact: sixdogs.gr
Nearest subway: Monastiraki
Prices: $$
Entering: Walk-ins only at the bar. Tickets for live shows must be purchased in advance

Six Dogs, Athens

Six Dogs, Athens

Retire

Retiré is one of the hottest additions to the Athenian rooftop bar scene. Potted olive trees and canvas candles shade sunken seats in the Ergon House’s rooftop garden (38 compact rooms above a bustling bistro-deli). Sleek bartenders in a caravan pour incredible cocktails curated by The Clumsies nearby, consistently voted one of the best bars in the world. Drinks (like the Bloody Mary-flavored Greek salad or a Greek Negroni with black olives, oregano, and sweet Vinsanto wine) are gimmicky and expensive; but who would care to pay a premium for these views of the Acropolis – a majestic sight soaring above urban grunge.

Contact: house.ergonfoods.com
Nearest subway: Syntagma
Prices: $$
Entering: You cannot book; go early to secure a stool

Retire, Athens

Retire, Athens

Syntagma

Galaxy

Looking for the perfect martini? You’ll find it in this practical bar that has served authors, actors and journalists who have been heavy drinkers and smokers since 1972. Your photos are tucked behind the polished mahogany and red leather bar, where the immaculately finished Yannis and Dimitris Alabanos serve classic cocktails to their patrons. loyal into the night. Order a few rounds and they’ll put you in a few slices of cheese and toast it with a drop of mustard. (Don’t confuse this Galaxy with the bar at the Athens Hilton; this one is tucked away in an archway near Syntagma — look for the statue of a Greek revolutionary hero across the street pointing you in the right direction.)

Contact: 00 30 210 322 7733; Facebook page
Nearest subway: Syntagma
Prices: £
Entering: Go as early as possible to get a seat at the long, narrow bar.

Galaxy Bar, Athens

Galaxy Bar, Athens

Kypseli

Eprepe bar

Kypseli desperately needed a cool bar for all the artists, beatniks and expats who have moved into this scruffy neighborhood in recent years. (The Tiny Au Revoir, unchanged since the 1950s, can barely contain a tenth of them and closes for three months each summer.) The team behind the phenomenally successful Seychelles restaurant, which made the dirty Keramikos insta-cool, has stepped up. The little corner place is on a pedestrian street lined with shops selling phone cards and home tattoos. In the spirit of a bodega or enoteca, natural wines and twisted classics – a Negroni with a hint of geranium, a Margarita with a hint of tangerine and curacao – are paired with complementary tapas or cicchetti. The ingredients are Greek, but the seasonal flavors are unexpected: semi-cured mackerel with pickles and buttermilk, spicy fried elephant beans, salted beef in beer and honey marinade.

Contact: Agias Zones 1; +30 210 864 4910
Opening hours: Tue-Sat 2pm-2am, Sun 1pm-8pm, Closed Mon.
Nearest subway: Victory
Reservations: Essential
Price: $$

psyrri

to Lokali

This bar-restaurant is open all day for modern Greek mezze (like cod fritters with beetroot and pickled onions) paired with craft beer and ouzo. But the leafy courtyard and vibrant two-story bar really come to life after dark, when trendy Athenians relax with the best gin and tonic in town (choose from over 30 types of gin and refreshing twists like melon and fennel or cardamom and peach). The short, iconoclastic cocktail list highlights local spirits such as tsipouro (Greek grappa) and mastiha liqueur.

Contact: tolokali.gr
Nearest subway: thissio
Prices: $$
Entering: Reservations are highly recommended and essential on weekends. Ask for one of the wooden stools upholstered in colorful Greek fabrics.

To Lokali, Athens

To Lokali, Athens

Monastiraki

Location of Couleur

An elevator at the end of a gallery flanked by antique furniture and army surplus stores takes you to this open secret at the Monastiraki flea market. Enter the third floor terrace and you will come face to face with the Parthenon, glistening above the rooftops of Plaka. Speakers in their mid-20s crowd the tile-covered tables and sway under the rising moon as the DJ plays on the decks. For a more mellow, fun vibe, head to the second-floor bar, an Instagrammed scene of potted succulents, retro vinyl chairs, and quintessentially Athenian views of the scruffy backs of surrounding buildings.

Contact: couleurlocaleathens. with
Nearest subway: Monastiraki
Prices: $$
Entering: entries only

Couleur Locale, Athens

Couleur Locale, Athens

Koukaki

Feedstock

The Koukaki district is full of trendy, attitude-filled bars (like Bel Ray, Kinono, and Meerkat). If you want something more grown-up, head to this small, elegant wine bar, where Greek wines are paired with exquisite dishes like chive tempura with taramasalata and guinea hen with endives and tahini. The cheerful, gangly owner, Michalis Papatsimbas, is always on hand to help you choose from the ever-changing list. The small tables and benches arranged around the glass cava are perfect for a date; the handful of barstools are a good spot for a solo drink. A rare find that feels familiar and special.

Contact: raw material.gr
Nearest subway: Syggrou-Fix
Prices: $$
Entering: Reservations are highly recommended

Raw Material, Athens

Raw Material, Athens

Petralone

Line

Off-track and avant-garde, this bar and ‘food lab’ in a repurposed warehouse sounds painfully fashionable: its slogan is ‘the method of anarchy’, and the zero-waste menu makes a fermenting noise (the fruit wines , craft beer and flavored sourdough are all home made). Despite the beard and tattoo brigade behind the salvaged marble bar, milk bun hot dogs, and grape-free “why” list, Line is surprisingly unassuming. Classic cocktails, made with vermouths, liqueurs and house liqueurs, are refreshingly practical, the adventurous bar snacks are comforting (patatas bravas drizzled with mayonnaise and salsa yogurt, cabbage rolls stuffed with beef tartar) and the music is good funky. (and gets loud later). Whether you pull up a stool in the cavernous interior, sneak a smoke in the backyard, or gather around the olive tree in the glass-roofed atrium, Line is proof that being sustainable can be super sexy.

Contact: lineathens.gr
Nearest subway: Petralone
Reservations: recommended
Price: $$

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