Athens Bar Scene

Athens bar scene
Despite the economic crisis and the scars it has left on the city’s central neighbourhoods, the centre is also thriving in a unique, parallel universe, kind of way. Especially when it comes to what is called ‘the commercial triangle’, the heart of Athens’ shopping district, cafes and bars have provided the blood line that’s keeping this old dame alive. The list is endless as Athens boasts cafes, wine bars, dark drinking haunts, cocktail bars and terraces as well as glamorous hotel bars to rival any major European city. A young generation of bartenders and mixologists have searched inward to find a wealth of unique homegrown ingredients and distilleries and outward to discover all manner of spirits from across the world in order to deliver drinks for every budget and palate. The wine bar revolution, which has responded to the crisis by showcasing the dizzying array of Greek wineries and artisan food producers deserves an article all by itself. In this small snapshot of a night out in Athens, we’ll introduce some of our downtown favourites:

The Gin Joint
Celebrating its 6th birthday, The Gin Joint was at the forefront of the recent downtown renaissance. Boasting over 150 labels of gin, this is a drinker’s bar. No over analysing of hard to pronounce ingredients, just popular drinks, classic cocktails with a twist and the fanciest G&Ts in town. Or as the bar motto would attest to: Real drinks for genuine people.

The most recent arrival in this group, this stunning like nook has quickly become a favourite. Tucked away in a typical Athenian arcade and next door to its much louder sister establishment (Drunk Athens), Rehab feels like a tropical hideaway with this wallpaper and colourful fish tank. Dedicated to all things rum and with a young, vibrant team behind the bar, it’s definitely worth a pit stop when you’re in town.

CV Distiller
This is a shrine to whisky that would make even Edinburgh jealous. A beautiful space, with luxurious wood accents and warm lighting setting the tone and the most impressive cellar anywhere in Athens. We were happy to see that they’re now further showcasing this stunning cellar by hosting live music events there.

The talk of the town since the moment it was re-launched only a few months ago. The well respected Panas group restored this aristocratic bar-restaurant to its former glory, bringing back memories of Athens most of us have only seen in 1960s movies. Open from early morning, it’s just as impressive when the city is waking up as it is when the beautiful people fill its inside and outside areas later in the day.

Bar de Theatre
Part of the same group as Zonars, Bar de Theatre is part of the most popular arcade in the city centre (Stoa Spirou Miliou). Promoted as a coffee, wine and spirit bar, this beautiful space lives up to its name and fits in with the long history of infamous European theatre land bars.


This article first appeared in Australian newspaper Neos Kosmos on 14th May 2016. Reproduced with kind permission, all rights reserved.