Nightlife in Athens: 7 Different Types of Entertainment
One thing I love about my city is its vibrant and lively nightlife, as you can literally go out whenever you feel like it and you can be sure that you will find somewhere to have that drink (or two) you fancy. In the Greek capital, you have endless alternatives to choose from depending on your tastes and preferences and there is something different to try and see every time you go out. If you like going out for drinks or dancing at nights, Athens will most likely not disappoint you. So, let’s start strolling down the buzzy streets of Athens with our selection of 7 different ways to spend your weekend nights (but also your weekdays!) during your stay!
1. Clubbing and Dancing All Night
During summer, many big nightclubs open along the seaside, which are perfect for the ultimate Greek summer experience, without leaving Athens. You can enjoy cocktails under the stars, enjoy the salty summer breeze of the sea, dance and go and walk on the beach for more romance. Normally these clubs play mainstream music and R&B, mixed with Greek music (usually later in the night). If you are up to seeing the trendy and cosmopolitan side of Athens, you should probably check the Akrotiri Boutique (5 Vasileos Georgiou B, Agios Kosmas), which is located in a peninsula with a great view. You can also have a little bite before drinking and dancing in the dining area, which serves Mediterranean dishes with a twist. Other Athenian beach club favourites are Balux (58 Posidonos, Glyfada) and Bolivar (Posidonos Avenue, Akti tou Iliou, Alimos).
If you want to stay downtown but still go clubbing, Gkazi area is famous for its night venues (Metro Station: Kerameikos). There are many clubs around the square of Gkazi, with mainly mainstream music, but there are a few options for the fans of rock and metal music, like Intrepid Fox, Rainbow Metal Club and 45 Moires.
2. University Parties And Street Lives
If you want to experience something less mainstream and mingle with the Athenian youth, then you should check the many parties and events organised by the universities (like the School of Fine Arts, Law School and the Athens Polytechnic School) or the frequent lives in parks or pedestrian streets of Athens. As these are usually pretty underground you can get informed by locals or Erasmus students or from unofficial event blogs and sites of Athens. The music can vary from funky and dubstep to punk and crust, and these events attract Athenians, art students and punks. These events start around 22:00-23:00 (even though the flyer/post/blog entry will say 21:00), and they can sometimes keep going until 05:00 with artists getting on stage even at 04:00 in the morning. Beer costs normally around 1,5 euro and drinks around 3 euros, you can dance and meet new people and enjoy the Athenian subculture, while they sometimes can get pretty wild and an adventure on their own, as any good university party. Thus, if you like things being tidy and not getting out of control, then these parties will probably not be your scene.
3. Live Music Venues
Athens has also a very active music scene, with many concerts, music festivals and venues happening during the whole week. Very popular venues in the center is the cultural six d.o.g.s in Monastiraki, Gagarin 205 (Liosion 205), Fuzz Club (Patriarxou Ioakeim 1, Tavros) and Kyttaro Live (Acharnon kai Ipeirou, 10439). The Festival Vraxon is also a nice summer experience, where you can enjoy mainstream Greek artists, theatrical plays, ancient tragedies and dance performances in a very nice area surrounded by rocks.
Technopolis in Gkazi is the old industrial gas museum in Athens, which now operates as one of the biggest cultural venues of the capital, hosting exhibitions, lives, events, happenings and festivals all year long. Stay tuned on their upcoming events through their official website and enjoy a lovely evening of culture between the old chimneys and furnaces!
4. A Chilled Night Out
If you are up for a nice drink, but a bit too tired to stay up all night, then there are also a few bars for you in Athens to try out and have a more chilled night. For art lovers Booze Cooperativa near Monastiraki (Kolokotroni 57) will be ideal, while close by is Bartesera bar/gallery (Kolokotroni 25), where you can enjoy a good cocktail with indie, pop and electro soundtrack (depending on the day). Do not miss enjoying one of the unique cocktails at The Clumsies (Praksitelous 30), the Athenian bar that is listed in the 50 Best Bars of the World, as well as the Baba Au Rum (Kleitiou 6). For something a little bit mysterious check out The Speakeasy (Lekka 12), a bar hidden, where you have to ring the bell, go down the narrow stairs and go through a dusty old door to enter the bar area. The whole atmosphere reflects to the era of alcohol prohibition, the staff is friendly, and you can enjoy your drink to the sound of jazz music, Billie Holiday and Frank Sinatra. Other alternatives among the endless choices you will have in Athens is Capu Café (Lekka 14), Vrettos (41 Kydathinaion) in Plaka, with delicious and colorful home-made liqueurs, The James Joyce Irish pub in Monastiraki, Kokkinos Lotos (Zoodochou Pigis 5) for cheap cocktails and soul/jazz/funk music, Fabrica De Vino in Omonoia (Emannouil Mpenaki 3), and the punk bistro Theio Tragi (The Holy Goat) in Petralona (Kidantinon 36).
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5. Drinks With a View
One romantic way to spend your summer nights in Athens is to enjoy your evening somewhere high up with a beautiful the view of the capital. The starry sky, the lights of the city, the ancient monuments and the Aegean Sea in the distance, create a perfect atmosphere to have a drink or just enjoy the scenery. Our suggestions for rooftop bars with amazing Acropolis view can be found here, but there are many more open-air bars with nice view all around the city. Very chic, but also a little bit more expensive are the Galaxy Bar on the rooftop of Hilton Hotel (6 Vasilisis Sofias), with an amazing view to the city, and Point A Bar/Restaurant of the Herodion Hotel. In Gkazi you can find the Gazarte Cultural Hub with a rooftop bar and the low budget White Noise (Evmolpidon 20) for a more indie rock music selection. If you want to enjoy the view and the summer but not go to a bar, you can buy a few cold beers/wine from the kiosk and enjoy it in the hills of Athens, like the Lycabettus Hill, the Acropolis Hill, the Strefi Hill and the Philopappou Hill. If you fancy a trip outside the city center, hotspots for stargazing with a view are Laimos Vouliagmenis, Lagonisi and Vrahakia Varkizas.
6. Bars for the Afterhours
If the time has passed and the night is not so young anymore, but you still want to have a few drinks and a boogie before bed, don’t worry. The city center is filled with bars and clubs in every area to please everyone’s tastes. Starting from the central Syntagma square, 7 Jokers (Voulis 7) is a must see. The drinks are clean, the interior is nicely decorated, the music is funky, and this bar is open until late and attracts people no matter the day of the week.
If you find yourself in Kolonaki area, I would suggest checking out the famous Rock 'n’ Roll (Loukianou 6). Rock ’n’ Roll first opened in 11th December 1987 and has ever since changed the character of Athenian nightlife. It used to be the hangout of many famous Athenian people including actress Aliki Vougiouklaki and Lakis Lazopoulos. The club that hosted wild impromptu parties for decades and is known for its yummy burgers, was closed in 2011 but luckily re-opened in 2017.
Romantzo (Anaxagora 3, 105 52 Athens), near Omonoia Square is also an interesting alternative for those wandering around late at night. The building used to be an old printing factory, that has now turned into a bar. Frequent live venues and DJ sets are hosted here, with often new and upcoming artists, while it is rather cheap with most events being free or around 3-5 euros. If you are into electronic music, then a must go is Boiler in Monastiraki (Vlaxava 9), a hotspot for Athenians, while if you want to enjoy a good dance then hit the Cinderella discotheque in Kolonaki (Leventi 3) for a colorful and glittery night.
7. Bouzoukia or "Skyladika"
Bouzoukia (from the popular fold musical instrument bouzouki) or skyladika (meaning the dog houses) is a very important aspect of Greek subculture and extremely popular among Greeks. Typically, these are music venues were popular, mainstream Greek singers perform live, however some of them can get very bad and trashy, but hey, that is also part of the experience. People will usually sit on tables (which you have to book beforehand and costs around 90 euros depending on the venue) to watch the singers while consuming alcohol, but there is typically also a bar area. Things will generally get loud, people will shout and throw flowers to the singers. In these events smoking not only is allowed inside, but is also part of the whole ritual, so If you cannot stand cigarette smoke and it makes you dizzy, I would seriously advice you to avoid these places, as your clothes will most probably smell like an astray by the end of the night. Popular venues with Greek popular singers are Kentro Athinon (Peiraios 142), Enastron (Peiraios 188), Club 22 (Leoforos Vouliagmenis 22), Posidonio (Leoforos Posidonos 18), Fotaerio (Peiraios 102) and Hotel Ermou (Ermou 152).
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Words: Saima Androutsopoulou