Nightlife in Athens
COVER STORY

A local’s guide to the Athens nightlife scene

READING TIME
As long as it takes to drink a glass of ouzo

Looking for the best nightlife spot in Athens? Well, we’ve spent time exploring the Greek capital for you, noting all the classic hangouts in the city centre as well as great new bars and cafes in trendy, up-and-coming neighbourhoods like Psyrri and Koukaki and putting together a guide to the Athens nightlife scene.

You’ll find everything from cocktail bars to rooftop terraces with Acropolis views and courtyards that will make you feel like it’s summer on a Greek island (the beer’s on tap and the wines are perfectly chilled). There are places where bartenders and chefs are reinventing classic cocktails and Greek meze and some gems where you can listen to authentic Greek music. 

Best of all, Athens is a city that doesn’t sleep, so you can carry on the fun as long into the night as you want. It’s worth booking a table or you can just leave it to chance and bar-hop. All the downtown neighbourhoods are within walking distance. There are even experience providers that can put together a night out at some of Athens’ best bars. One way or another, you’ll see the Greek capital in a whole new light. 
 

Book now: Athens Nightlife Tour

Athens nightlife spot #1: Kolokotroni & around Syntagma 

The ultimate bar-hopping scene 

The labyrinth of little streets below Syntagma Square, in the heart of Athens, is filled with some of the most popular bars in town. Any self-respecting Athens neighbourhood guide starts here and you’ll be fully rewarded at bars with little pavement tables on the likes of Kalamiotou, Voulis and Lekka streets (which form a grid between Perikleous, Evripidou and Aiolou) and especially in Agia Irini Square, a favourite downtown Athens hangout. You’ll know you’re in the right place with so many Athenians hanging out.

A few suggestions:

  • Kuko's The Bar: Located in a listed, neoclassical building that has been an Athens landmark since 1890. You’ll love the flagstone tiles and warm atmosphere. 
  • Chaplin Coffee & Cocktail Bar: A street bar, a breath away from Agia Irini Square, perfect for anyone who loves cocktails with a twist. Feeling health conscious but still in need of a drink? Just ask for a cocktail with superfoods. 
  • Kolokotroni 9: An arty hangout where you can enjoy drinks flavoured with nature’s gifts… flowers, rum and a surprise or two.
  • Bartesera: A bar with an industrial vibe and artwork on display, within an arcade on Kolokotroni St. There’s an outdoor yard to be enjoyed at any hour of the day or night. 
  • Barrus: Industrial design, interesting Mediterranean cuisine, relaxing music and imaginative cocktails. With little tables in the square and views of the lit-up Parthenon. 
  • Noel Bar: It’s always Christmas in Noel. The festive theme changes every year but the signature look of rugs and chandeliers and the fantastic cocktails are a constant. The decor will stay with you forever.
  • Drunk Sinatra: Distinctive for its vibrant colours, 60s artefacts and the huge photo of Frank Sinatra. Its cocktails draw quite a crowd. 
     
  • Speakeasy: Named after the secret bars of Prohibition-era America. You arrive at an old door that you think leads to someone’s house, ring the doorbell and head downstairs where the vibe is dark and vintage.
  • Peek a Bloom: Quality long drinks in an arcade in Lekka St. If there’s one thing that defines this bar, it’s the collection of absinthe labels and the coffee roaster that fills the neighbourhood with intoxicating aromas.
  • The 7 Jokers: A classic drinking hole on Voulis St. Small, cosy and tastefully decorated, with a hand-picked selection of draft beers, spirits, wines and cocktails. 
  • The Clumsies: Chosen as one of the World’s 50 best bars, The Clumsies matches modern touches with the warm, homely feel of a townhouse. Quality is everything here… in the selection of drinks, ingredients and service. 
  • Odori Vermutiera d’Athenes: The first ‘Vermoutherie’ in Athens, with a range of imaginative drinks and pizzas. There’s a summer botanical garden feel and you’ll be transported to Italy, not just through the atmosphere but also with the tastes and wines. 
  • Baba Au Rum: One of the oldest bars in Athens and the first to take cocktails to another level. It was included on a list of the 50 best bars of the world and has a rum collection to match. 
  • Gin Joint: A paradise for gin lovers in Karytsi Square. Its trademark is the excellent selection of cocktails and spirits, including (you guessed it) gins. 
  • Drachmi: Opposite the Old Parliament, in Kolokotroni Square, in an arcade that brims with people on summer’s days and nights. A minuscule bar with an island vibe… the sort of atmosphere that makes you want to stop for a drink even if you’re just passing by.
     
Cocktails in Athens

Athens nightlife spot #2: Monastiraki

The all-time-classic summer favourite

A classic, much-loved district of Athens’ so-called historical centre and a popular place for an evening walk by the archaeological sites of the Roman and Ancient Agora, Hadrian’s Library as well as the Stoa of Attalos and Temple of Hephaestus. Falling between Ermou and Adriannou Streets, and up to Mitropoleos Square, Monastiraki has an atmosphere that is especially magical as night falls and the lights of the Acropolis gradually take hold. Setting out from Monastiraki metro station, you’ll find a variety of places to enjoy meze with a tsipouro, wine or ouzo on Adriannou St. It’s also one of the best neighbourhoods for rooftop terraces with views of the Acropolis.

A few terrace suggestions:

  • 360: The largest terrace bar in Monastiraki Square, with plants and lighting that make you feel like you’re in a courtyard of a house. There’s an unobstructed view of the Acropolis. 
  • Α for Athens: One of the best terraces bars in Athens. A for Athens is a hotel but the bar is open to passers-by. It’s the sort of place where every first-timer to Athens should go.
  • City Zen: Another favourite terrace for all hours, with an industrial-style indoor bar and generous outside space. 
  • Couleur Locale: A terrace bar with cocktails made with spirits and liqueurs from all around the world with herbs, fresh fruit, spices, flowers and other intriguing Greek products.  
  • Ciel: The ultimate relaxation experience on a seventh-floor terrace with views of the Mitropolis Cathedral, the Acropolis and Lycabettus Hill.  
  • Anglais: A tropical motif with pastels, retro tiles, a palm tree and rows of small bulbs to light up your night out. With views of the Anafiotika district and Acropolis. 
  • Retire: The terrace of the Ergon House with a cocktail list created by The Clumsies. With gravel underfoot, deck chairs, wooden tables and lanterns, there’s a village square feel and a wonderful view of the Parthenon.
  • Buenna Vista: Vintage decor, with furniture chosen piece by piece, and another epic view of the Acropolis. 
     

And a few street-level suggestions:

  • TAF (The Art Foundation): A gallery bar in an old Athens building with an internal courtyard and exhibits in each of the ‘rooms’ of the building. 
  • Six d.o.g.s: One of Athens’ iconic bars in a gravel courtyard with trees, little wooden tables, sand and hammocks. 
  • Kafeneio 111: The building that houses Cafe 111 was built in 1918 and has remained true to its origins as a tsipouro taverna with live Greek music every day ever since. 

Athens nightlife spot #3: Psyrri

The urban nightlife scene

One of Athens’ oldest neighbourhoods and certainly the most urban and eclectic on this list. Walking the streets of Psyrri, you’ll encounter dozens of workshops and small craft & designer studios, as well as street art, cosy and traditional cafes, new age meze tavernas and alternative bars with bohemian or rock character… all coexisting harmoniously. Walking down Ermou, Evripidou or Athinas streets, you’ll enter Psyrri by heading towards Iroon Square and Agii Anargyron.

A few suggestions:

  • Juan Rodriguez Bar: A bar that tells the story of Juan Rodriguez who (according to the imagination of the owners) escaped slavery in Central America and fled to Athens where he opened a bar. The painted wooden walls, chandeliers and Caribbean rum-based drinks are part of the story.
  • To Lokali: A cool courtyard with tables under plane and mulberry trees, where you can enjoy cocktails and Greek wines and spirits, as well as dishes ‘gia ti mesi’ (‘for the middle’ – ie to be shared). 
  • Dos Gardenias: A ‘Caribbean gastronomic bar’ inspired by the song of the same name. The marble bar top, colourful, hand-painted tiles, fans on the blue ceiling and vintage details will make you feel like you’re in Cuba. Try the Caipirinha and pintxos. 
  • Tranzistor: A cool bistroteque, decorated with industrial mix & match elements and retro details. Stays awake long after midnight. 
     
  • Barret: Plays alternative international music, with a nice selection of beers and spirits. The sort of place people book for parties. 
  • Cantina Social: A former neighbourhood cafeteria converted to an ideal place for relaxing and socialising, with a cosy open-air courtyard. 
  • Handlebar: The first bike bar in Athens, with bike stools and seats all around the bar and little tables outside. A great spot for a relaxing beer. 
  • Psyrra: A tiny place that resembles something between a cafe and a bar with music that ranges from retro jazz to minimal house. You’ll find vintage decor, handmade rakomelo (raki and honey, usually served warm) and Cretan meze.
     

Athens nightlife spot #4: Plaka 

The romantic scene

Athens’ most historic district isn’t just for morning walks and coffee at the foot of the Acropolis. It’s also great for a romantic evening drink. The narrow streets (especially Lyssiou, Mnisikelous, Kydathineon and Navarhou Nikodimou) are filled with handsome neoclassical houses, flower-filled courtyards and restaurant-bars with small terraces with views of the Parthenon. The tables often spill out into little cul-de-sacs and the mood is casual and relaxed. If you feel like something traditional, there are plenty of classic tavernas with live Greek music. 

A few suggestions:

  • Brettos: The liquor store in Plaka visited by Frank Sinatra and Ralph Lauren has been operating since 1909 and stocks more than 40 different spirits. You might have seen the wall of multicoloured bottles on Instagram. 
  • Cafe Plaka: This characteristically pink-coloured cafe with a nice terrace is a classic meeting point for romantic evening drinks.
  • Yiasemi: One of the most atmospheric bars in Plaka, with little tables and cushions on the steps leading up to Anafiotika, Yiasemi has a vintage theme inside and a popular roof terrace. It’s the sort of place you’ll be sharing on Instagram. 
  • Melina Cafe: Dedicated to legendary Greek actor and singer Melina Mercouri (who you’ll see in photos on the walls) on Lyssiou, one of Plaka’s most picturesque streets. It’s half-Greek cafe, half-French bistro, which becomes a bar by night. 
  • Klepsidra: Set in a small yard with wooden tables, this cafe makes you feel as if you’re on an island or in old Athens. It’s perfect for relaxed summer evenings eating meze with a bottle of wine or a few beers.
     
  • Kimolia Art Cafe: A cosy little cafe, housed in a 1920s neoclassical building with vintage decor and artwork on the walls. There’s a warm atmosphere for a quiet drink, with anything from jazz to rock music.
  • Blue Bird: A small bar that’s become a popular hangout. There’s a calming atmosphere and an impressive list of whisky labels.
  • Ipitou the Bar: Characterised by low lighting and small little pavement tables. If you can’t find a table, you can always enjoy your drink on a bench or the steps of a neighbouring apartment.
  • Apanemia: It doesn’t get more real than this historic music ‘boite’ in Plaka, where some of the most famous Greek singers have performed. The atmosphere is intimate and the 1970s Greek music as authentic as it comes.
     

Athens nightlife spot #5: Koukaki

The new favourite nightlife scene

This neighbourhood under the Acropolis is a great new entry on the Athens nightlife scene. Located by Philopappou Hill, just past Plaka and Anafiotika, atmospheric Koukaki has grown slowly and steadily into a popular hangout for young Athenians, with new bars to complement the growing number of delis and restaurants, especially on Mouson and Panelotiou streets. The neoclassical buildings give it the aura of the old Athens. It’s a lively neighbourhood that is open to families, students and office workers stopping for a drink on their way home.

A few suggestions:

  • Monsieur Barbu: With vintage decor and specially selected wall prints and artefacts such as old typewriters. It’s a popular hangout for evening drinks, with a great selection of sweet and savoury dishes and an atmosphere that makes you feel like you’re at home.
  • Meerkat: Inspired by Africa, Meerkat invites you to a safari full of adventures through an exotic collection of drinks based on alcohol extracts, homemade syrups and fresh fruit. 
  • Bel Ray: Minimal decor includes tables and chairs with a classroom feel in a building that was once a carwash. It has since been converted into a favourite hangout for all hours of the day, whether you want a drink or a delicious snack. 
     
  • Kinono: A spacious bar with wood-based decor. They love their seasonal ingredients at Kinono, which inspire the food and drinks they serve.
  • Tiki Bar: An exotic cocktail bar, with a menu and decor inspired by Polynesian influences. You’ll find surfboards, palm trees and animal wood carvings and uplifting music encouraging you to dance the night away. 
  • O Babas: Traditional meets modern in this classic cafe-bar with an impressive menu of beer labels from Greek breweries. Look for the Greece-inspired cocktail variations, such as Mojito with masticha and raki with sesame and honey.
     
Meerkat bar in Koukaki Meerkat Cocktail Safari

Athens nightlife spot #6: Keramikos & Gazi

The party & alternative scene

Just by Psyrri, you’ll find another gem of an Athens nightlife spot. Keramikos is named after the pottery workshops found here in antiquity and has quickly matched (and in many ways overtaken) neighbouring Gazi – famously, the location of Athens’ gasworks from 1862-1984, the Technopolis cultural centre and a host of clubbing venues – with young Athenians looking for a night out. Found between Tsaldari, Thermopylon, Konstantinoupoleos and Iera Odos, Keramikos is known for its idiosyncratic bars and music venues.

A few suggestions:

  • Beauty Killed the Beast: Located in a 1933 building that was one of the first mansion houses of the neighbourhood. The atmosphere is warm, with pavement tables and a great food and drinks menu.
  • Kerameio: Once a pottery workshop, the decor of this jazz & blues venue is entirely handmade. The flower-filled courtyard gives a wonderful atmosphere for a relaxing drink.
  • BIOS: In one of Athens’ favourite multi-space houses, you’ll find one of Athens’ best bars. There’s an industrial feeling to the ground floor, while the scenery is transformed to deck chairs and bar barrels with a Parthenon view on the terrace.
  • Cabezon: With gravel underfoot, small tables and tyres instead of chairs, you can enjoy the evening snacking on a meze and sipping a beer with some Parian wine or tsipouro from Limnos at Cabezon… all to Reggae tunes.  
  • Alphaville cafe-bar: Something between a bar and a cafe, with little wooden square tables inside and round metal cafeteria tables in the courtyard. 
  • Momix: The first molecular technology bar in Athens, with impressive cocktails that come in the form of jelly, steam, ice cream and more. The decor is industrial, with a courtyard with trees and plants in the summer months. 
     
  • 500 Milia Makria: Wooden tables, sofas made of recycled palettes and cool wall art give ‘500 Miles Away’ (as the name translates) the special atmosphere of a so-called ‘All-day Rock Bar-Cafe’. 
  • Gazarte Rooftop: Whether you are here to enjoy a live event or just for a drink accompanied by soul and jazz music, you’ll appreciate the pomegranate, mandarin and lemon trees, along with pots with lavender, mint and basil. There’s an alternative finger food menu as well as a very good cocktail, beer and wine list. 
  • White Noise: In a two-storey restored house with a terrace, this is for those who love to listen to rock and alternative music while enjoying a drink.
  • Apovathra (To Treno sto Rouf): The one-time train station (the name means platform in Greek) has the unique decor of illuminated wagons, olive trees and flowering oleanders. There’s also a very good cocktails-and-light-food menu, as well as summer movie screenings and live musical shows.  
  • Latraac Skate cafe: Another unique venue, this café is named after the skateboarding half-pipe ramp that’s found in the yard.
     

A local’s guide to the Athens nightlife scene 

So where will you be enjoying your night out in Athens? Were you tempted by the classics around Syntagma, Monastiraki and Plaka? Or were you taken by the vibe of Psyrri, Koukaki and Keramikos? It’s only the start of what Athens has to offer, of course. There are other areas to explore (such as Kolonaki, Petralona, Pangrati, Exarhia and Kypseli) but that’s another story. The important thing is, wherever you choose, you can look forward to a night out like an Athenian

Book now: Athens Nightlife Tour

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