Previously… in A for Athens: you’ve napped, you’ve snacked, you’ve bar crawled around the back streets of Ermou and now you’re checking out the infamous Syntagma Square. You’re wondering where to go next. Well, this massively depends on the season. Most of the well-known clubs in Athens tend to move towards the beach in the summer and these locations could change from one year to the next (Athenian nightlife keeping you on your toes there!). So this is to say that these suggestions are not full proof and you should probably have one final look at TripAdvisor and the places’ websites before you get there and find a ‘See you in September’ sort of sign…
If you’re planning to visit anytime between January-May and September-December, the chances are that the centre will still be one of your best bets for going out with most bars packed to the fullest. Some of them might still be open in the summer but the vibe will be relatively more relaxed.
A relatively new arrival – that I also hope is going to stick around for a while – is T5, an all day café-bar a pedestrian commercial street in Kolonaki. It’s a must for cocktails (you guessed it) and the staff is very happy to suggest new concoctions provided you tell them your poison of choice and if you prefer sweet/sour tastes. When I was there, we got a little show from Achilleas, hopefully he will be the one to serve you too.
Across the street from T5 is Minnie the Moocher, another excellent little bar with emphasis on cocktails and great jazz music. But I guess it’s late enough and you should get into something a bit louder. There are a couple of options nearby and again things could change quickly but you can’t go wrong with Bogart at the moment (unless it’s a Greek night music only, in which case abort unless you can muster the courage to listen to it all night. If you do want to experience the Greek music scene, I have a better alternative for you, bouzoukia, which really does deserve a post of its own!). Chances are that you’ll get stopped at the door since the club gets really packed. If you’re willing to stick around – and why wouldn’t you – your best bet is to ask for table service. You won’t be paying for an entrance fee and you’ll get a whole bottle for a few people which typically works out between EUR 25-40 depending on groups, how much you drink etc. Which I think is a bargain if you compare prices in most London clubs but that’s also another discussion altogether.
No matter where you decide to spend your evening in Athens – let’s say you’re not sold on my recommendations on nightlife so far – you should definitely end your night (or early morning) at Rock n Roll in Kolonaki Square. Yes, it’s tough to get in and yes, it has a reputation for being a haunt of Athens’ rich kids but it also has great music and a great vibe. I’ve never not had a good time at Rock n Roll – or maybe when I didn’t manage to get in. The numerous nights I’ve spent in that place also contribute this post’s soundtrack: Blister in the sun, which plays literally EVERY time.
Another thing not to be missed when bar hopping all through the night in Athens (or even when you stay at one place for the whole night or multiple for a few hours), is the late night/early morning snack. That is a definite must. One of the most famous outposts used to be the ‘vromiko’ canteen at Mavili Square – which at the time of writing had sadly been closed down by the authorities for reasons pertaining to permits. It could have well been reopened since there has been a wave of support against the closure. Vromiko literally means dirty in Greek and it’s usually what all such snacks are called as a category term even when they’re decently ‘clean’. The other famed and trusted food truck can be found at Mihalakopoulou avenue and serves chicken nuggets. But fret not if you’re not willing to make the trek because the fast food chain Everest is well-located and can provide you with the necessary sustenance that’s a good alternative. Ask for tyrosalata, a delicious feta spread and be proud for your local knowledge.
My ALL-TIME FAVOURITE VROMIKO can sadly not be found close to the centre of Athens so it’s probably way out of your way. I will dispense this knowledge in the case that you’re feeling adventurous: Kotopoulades Afthentikon. My standard order: chicken skewer in a toasted bun with cheese – hold the ham -, tyrosalata, tomato, ketchup, mustard, light on the mayo and the potato chips. Cut in half. It may sound filthy, it may indeed be filthy but gawd, it’s the best late snack EVAH (currently salivating on my keyboard).
So that’s it – that concludes the three-parter on Athens and your first taster. I promise to return with more tips and individual posts on certain topics. If you had to rate it as a three-parter, I hope it’s as high as my favourite ever X-Files one: Anasazi/The Blessing Way/Paper Clip.
Leave your comments at the box below and let me know if there is any particular info that you’re looking for as well.
PS. This post sadly does not feature any of my own pictures as I seem to be more pre-occupied with drinking as it seems to take my iPhone out and capture the moment. I’m all for giving credit though so unless they were unearthed somewhere where info was not available, you’ll know who snapped them in the captions.