Athens, Greece is a capital city that has it all: ancient monuments, gritty side streets with Instagrammable street art, and nearby ocean views. This means the city is equally interesting in its choice of watering holes. From local neighborhood bars serving craft beers, central touristy areas offering wine tastings to beach bars, here are 15 that give you a rounded look at the best bars on offer in this eclectic city.
A hidden oasis in the center of the city, six d.o.g.s. combines urban cool in the courtyard garden where both locals and visitors alike gather to enjoy a range of drinks from the ubiquitous Greek pastime of coffee drinking to the range of expensive but worthy cocktails created for you by the mixologist. Often hosting both Greek and foreign musicians or DJ’s, be sure to check their site for the lowdown on events such as charity exhibitions.
Bring together two world-class Greek bartenders and what do you get? The Clumsies — as they ironically nicknamed themselves — is an award winning all day bar bathed in natural light attracting both tourists and locals alike. As day dwindles into night, a more formal atmosphere takes hold where spectacular cocktails are mixed — the Chilli Con Melon, made with premium tequila, mezcal, melon, sage and a smoked chipotle, will take you to heaven. Rounded off by their legendary reservation only private room with vinyl records, billiards table and fireplace — don’t miss this exclusive experience.
In the heart of the Plaka district under the Acropolis lies a piece of France. Worth a mention here, L’Audrion is a wine bar and restaurant that invites its clientele - locals meeting after work and visitors alike — to rediscover French wines unique to Greece. Trust the resident sommelier to listen to recommend a glass or bottle of wine perfectly suited to your tastes. Compliment your drink with a platter of meat or cheese and on Wednesday evenings, enjoy live music from 7:30 p.m. Check the site for details of wine tasting events in their cellar.
Tucked away down a side street in the Monastiraki Flea Market district of the centre, The Art Foundation — T.A.F. — is hidden behind a tiny wooden door, blink and you’ll miss it. Yet once you wander through this seemingly innocuous crumbling building, a large courtyard awaits where during the day, students and co-workers drink coffee and at night, the cocktails, wine and beer flows. Its name derives from the fact that the old rooms around the courtyard now house various art exhibitions. They were, in fact, the remnants of interrogation cells as it used to be a prison in the 19th century.
Do you love art and theater and are looking for a more alternative place to drink? With a variety of opening times — staying open as late as 4 a.m. on some days — and located just off the central shopping street of Ermou, Faust is a bar and alternative theater joint owned by a Greek actor, hence the variety of shows such as "Opera Chaotique" and live jazz. Split over two floors, the decor gives the place a vintage feel. Cocktails, beers and wines abound, but it’s really the atmosphere here that pulls in the crowds.
Near the trendy renovated Gas District in Athens — Gazi — Bios successfully mixes its all day bar with a gig venue, theatre and cultural space. Many a local can be seen working while sipping their frappes. By evening, those locals have swapped coffee for a local beer or wine either in the downstairs gig space or the roof terrace where you’ll have marvellous views of the Acropolis. Check out the site to see what will be showing on your visit. You may get to enjoy a set from a local musician, an arts exhibition or theatrical performance in their basement.
It’s not necessary to stay at the expensive Hilton Athens in order to enjoy its facilities. One of the most popular features is the rooftop bar. Galaxy Bar is on the 12th floor with panoramic views of the Acropolis in one direction, Lycabettus Hill to the other and even as far as the port of Piraeus and nearby islands and with plenty of outside and indoor seating options. Enjoy sunset as you sip on one of their Inspiration Cocktails such as a Dixie — a pineapple rum based drink with coconut and passion fruit among its ingredients — as well as your choice of wines and spirits. Compliment your drinks with a sushi platter.
Literally translated as "Dad" in English, O Babas is located in Koukaki — a local neighbourhood with a growing trade in AirBNB clients. O Babas is the hangout for locals and visitors alike. It's one for the beer lovers, stocking a wide variety of craft beers, which is a bit unusual in a wine loving country like Greece. Whether you're inside or on pavement seating, relax and enjoy Noctura – an ale from the first independent microbrewery in the capital and founded in 2016 by three young friends — or sip on a stout from Satyr Brews.
Located in the very touristy area of the Plaka district under the Acropolis’s shadow, Brettos is, despite its location, where Greeks actually outnumber tourists. This is the place to come and enjoy one (or more) of over 36 different flavors of liqueurs handed down from old family recipes since 1909. Also choose among the homemade brandies, ouzo and rakomelo — a boiled raki drink with cinnamon and honey. The colorful bottles create a warm ambience, also attracting many a tourist to stop for a photo op.
For 360 degree views of the Acropolis and surrounding area including the street murals, head to the rooftop cocktail bar of A for Athens Hotel, situated opposite Monastiraki Metro station. Open until 4 a.m. – mixologists create specialty drinks such as Schyla and Charybdis: Havana Club Añejo 7 year old rum, aged tsipouro, oxymelo and lime ginger beer. It serves as an all day coffee bar too, so don’t feel pressured into buying one of their admittedly pricey but popular alcoholic beverages. Aside from the popular drinks, the location and atmosphere is what draws in the crowds, seeing the Acropolis at night lit up in all her glory.
Kolokotroni Street in the heart of the capital is lined with bars and pavement cafes. To Noel is on this street and it’s recommended to ignore the rest and head straight here. Look past the initial unassuming exterior because inside lies a feast for the eyes; two floors of lavish decorations and private rooms. Think chandeliers and cozy nooks and crannies. Drinks include a selection of gins and brandies as well as signature cocktails such as the Ella Fitzgerald; Limoncello, soda, grande vento prosecco and lemon sorbet. To Noel is an all day bar open from 10 a.m.-2 a.m. and until 4 a.m. on weekends, come and relax after a day sightseeing and hum along to a holiday tune you’re sure to recognize.
This courtyard garden is a hideaway in the city center — open in the summer until 2 a.m. daily except Sunday and Monday ( when it closes at 1 a.m.). It's also a piece of history. Situated next to the Athens City Museum, the house and garden of Black Duck used to be connected to the museum 180 years ago and was the home of Othonas (also called Otto), the first King of Greece, and his wife Amalia, the woman responsible for the first public gardens in the capital. Household artifacts are on display in the bar where you can order from a selection of beers, wines, cocktails and coffees. This is the place to be for those who are fans of drinking while being surrounded by history.
By the Glass
As the name suggests, this courtyard bar’s speciality is serving a choice of over 250 labels of wine, some of them vintage and rare collections. Greek and international wines are both available. There's a selection of beers from Greek microbreweries on offer too such as Septem which produces a different type of beer for each day of the week.
Open daily until 3 a.m., its location by the capital square of Syntagma means it’s the perfect choice of bar to sit in the quiet with your friends after taking in the changing of the guard or a stroll through the National Gardens.
Only 12 miles and half an hour by car from the city center lies the Athens Riviera. It’s a unique destination in itself along the coast, and Vouliagmeni Lake is one such place. A natural geological phenomenon, come here to enjoy a swim in the brackish spa fresh and salt water with Garra Rufa fish, and at sunset marvel at the lake and cave lit up in its glory. The lake also has a large bar area where you can sip on a glass of wine, champagne, or cocktail. During July and August you can enjoy live music that suits the beautiful surroundings.
Along the Athens Riviera, highly worth paying a visit to is the Avra Bar at the lauded Four Seasons Astir Palace Resort. The hotel has a celebrated past; popular in the '50s and '60s with movie stars and politicians alike. It's since been revamped and has several restaurants and bars. Avra is one such all day lounge bar in the heart of the resort on the 5th floor, open to non guests. With coffees and light snacks throughout the day, you’re well placed to watch the sun set over the Aegean sea and order one of their signature cocktails such as like the Russian vodka-based, Passion Mule, with vodka, passion fruit, ginger beer and Demerara sugar. Open daily until 1 a.m.