Athens by Night: Bar Crawling in Metaxourgeio
With too many choices to count for nightlife in Athens, I will introduce you to one of my favorite neighborhoods for bar crawling in the Greek capital, Metaxourgeio or Kerameikos, you can call it either. Metaxourgeio/Kerameikos is an old neighborhood where ceramics craftsmen and potters used to have their workshops. Moreover, Metaxourgeio, historically, has always been famous as an area for its underground theaters and alternative cafes that offered great nightlife.
But let me explain why it is still so amazing!
The Alternative Neighborhood
What is so special about it, is the vibes and the difference you will find between day and night in the area. If you happen to pass by on a regular week day, you won’t see many people on the streets or in the cafes and you might think that there is nothing interesting happening or that is a quite dull area, but don’t judge too quickly. Stroll around a bit and you will get the feeling of something is coming up...
When the night falls, you will start noticing that the cafes are not so empty anymore, the bars have a bit louder music and the streets outside of the cafes have started getting filled with tables, so everyone can find a spot to sit, drink and eat.
Drinks With a View and Raki Cocktails
Let’s start exploring the neighborhood: if you are coming from Pireos street, then I suggest you to turn to Salaminos, where you will definitely notice an old building with an urban aesthetic which hosts the best rooftop in Athens, Bios. If you want a stunning view of Acropolis in a more artistic place, you've just found it. Keep walking on Salaminos, the pedestrian road that gives you the feeling of the old times, with many neoclassical houses to support that feeling. Right on this street, you will find the restaurant called Sam dates the wrong boy, which offers amazing food and where people keep eating until really late. Next stop is on the following corner, where a large neon mark indicates its name, the Alphaville. You can choose either to sit outside or enjoy the music and the chilling atmosphere inside. The music varies from Nick Cave to Billy Holiday, and later moving on to more electronic sounds, which you can enjoy while you are sipping a raki cocktail - definitely an alternative way of drinking raki.
Walking a few streets down, you will find Paramithias street, then take a turn on the left and you will meet Tyflomiga, a traditional cafe having great live greek music ("rebetiko" - a typical greek music from the 20’s), so make sure you arrive early to get a table! On the same street, you will find Beauty Killed the Beast bar (Paramithias 14) which is a new and promising entry in Athenian night scene, offering an original food menu and the Pick Your Cocktail Personality option.
Cozy Yards and Traditional Snacks
We move on to Plataion street in Kerameio, a bar that offers everything; quiet drinking on the back or more energetic dancing in the front side of the bar. When you enter it, you will immediately see the dancing area where people dance until the first light, when music is still playing on the maximum. If that is not "your thing", you can still have a great time in Kerameio, as it offers you a backyard with wooden tables, flowers and a traditional stone wall, all giving you the atmosphere of a typical Greek cozy yard. Many options of drinks are available but the wine is the winner here. Greek wine from bio vineyards will reassure you that Greeks know a lot about wine.
Turning left to Leonidou street, you will find Louis, a cafe where you can try traditional snacks, cheese/olives etc., drink raki/ouzo/tsipouro/rakomelo or just a beer while jazz and soul music are playing softly on the background. Live music nights are also regularly held here featuring jazz–swing bands of young or more experienced artists.
Now if you still want to eat some traditional snacks, drink rakomelo and you love techno at the same time, Cabezon is what you are looking for. It is located in Kerameikou street, in a beautiful well-maintained neoclassical house with an impressive courtyard that offers you, except for the classic table-chair option, a relaxing hammock and a swing to chill while you are there. Inside, you will be able to dance or just listen to some techno–electronic music till the very early hours.
Night Cravings and Rock Vibes
Five blocks ahead, you will reach the Avdi Square, which is also buzzing in the evening. The food at Seychelles Restaurant is delicious (Kerameikou 49), while you can head to Lost ‘n’ Found for frequent live rock music (Kerameikou 53), enjoy a cocktail at the Manhattan Project (Akadimou 11) or at the funky and always busy Blue Parrot (Μπλε παπαγάλος; Leonidou 31) and check out the artistic performances at Cabaret Voltaire (30 M.Alexandrou and Marathonos). For a totally different experience, visit El Convento Del Arte (Virginias Mpenaki 7), where you will be served by monks, while dancers, performers and magicians will surprise you all through the evening.
It’s already 2 am and it's time for Elvis – for the best souvlaki skewers in Athens –, a major meeting point of Metaxourgeio area. You will find it busy at all times with a huge line of locals waiting to eat, but don’t you worry; you will not be waiting for too long. The guys in Elvis offer an exceptional skewer and a really quick service. While you are waiting, you will notice people making friends with each other while on the line, chatting, and creating a really friendly atmosphere.
If you are up to for a late night then you can head to Plintirio (Dekeleon 36), where you can dance to 80’s and 90’s music in between washing machines, and Asilo (Achilleos 38) open until 09:00 in the morning with a messy and unclassifiable music program.
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Have you been to Metaxourgeio/Kerameikos? What is your favorite bar there or generally in the Greek capital? Let us know by commenting below!
Words: Georgina Prasinou, Saima Androutsopoulou and Truevoyagers