Kolonaki – Posh and trendy
Within walking distance from Syntagma square you will meet Kolonaki, the cosmopolitan, and “aristocratic” neighborhood of the city center. Here you will find well-known local and international designers ‘ brands and Haute Couture boutiques, all day coffee shops and bistros, restaurants and traditional Greek tavernas, stylish city hotels, nice urban architecture, quite a few embassies, and the central offices of many finance, law and other firms. During the day this area is vibrant due to all the business meetings that take place in and mainly out of the offices, and during the night it gest quite busy too as it is the favorite place for those who love to see and be seen.
Charitos is a pedestrian street with bars one next to each other, ideal for day or night meet ups, Loukianou Street has some good spots for a drink (or two) and of course, the main square is surrounded by beautiful coffee shops, bistros etc. Right next to Kolonaki square you will find one of the “classic” bars-clubs of the city, the Rock ‘N’ Roll facebook.com/rockathens which is the upscale crowd-pleaser with quite strict face control sometimes, specially at nights.
Speaking about strict face controls check out Salon de Bricolage (for members only) salondebricolage.gr
For something totally different head to Ippopotamos bar, one of the oldest rock pubs in the city and definitely one of the most authentic. Intellectuals, students, and locals hang out since 1978. Also, don’ t miss Jazz in Jazz facebook.com/pages/Jazz-in-Jazz for some jazz music and atmosphere.
Exarcheia- Alternative and authentic
This area is a special one. Students love it as some universities are close by, and it is considered a must for local youngsters. However, Exarcheia is the bohemian area for 30+ and 40+ as there are some special bistros, bars and restaurants no one should miss. Zahari & Alati is surely one of the prettiest bistros in the city zaxarialati.gr with a beautiful yard and nice interior; it is good choice for lunch, dinner or a cocktail on the first floor.
If you want to get an idea about the old underground hot spots –called ‘rebetadika”- head to Rebetiki Istoria at Ippokratous Street for some old, classic music called “rebetika” that is also known as the “blues “ of Greek and Mediterranean music because of its similarity with the American blues history.
If you are looking for something nice, alternative and always available for you while you are downtown town check out drugstoreathens.com where you can book the whole place for you and your friends for free, play your own music and have a drink for as cheap as 2,50 Euro.
Pangrati- the insiders’ choice
This area is right behind Kalimarmaro Stadium where the first Greek Olympic Games took place. Plastira square has some very “in” bars and all day coffee bars. One of them is Chelsea hotel facebook.com/pages/Hotel-Chelsea that apparently is not a hotel but just an all day and night coffee shop and bar that is packed any time you pass by. Come here if you enjoy the friendly atmosphere and if you want to discover the new alternative and artistic side of Athens.
Small 8 facebook.com/Small8cafebar is very cute and cozy for a drink before you go out to a club, although you will soon realize it’s hard to leave early and you can easily end up staying late without going anywhere else.
Superfly café is a real playground; it serves good coffee, good drinks and good… vibes. The staff is super friendly and soon you will feel like home. You will also find some old school type of games, comics, magazines etc. that will make you fall in love with this place. facebook.com/superflycafebar
Petralona- Old time classic
Close to Thissio and Gazi areas Petralona is the alternative, typical Athenian neighborhood that looks like a real theatrical scene. Neo-classical buildings, traditional taverns and restaurants, bars and all day café –bars with yards and modern interiors, good prices with high quality. Choose this area if you want to blend in with locals of all ages who do not like being posh, and are not out to see and to be seen, but to enjoy every minute of the night with real friends in a nice, cozy atmosphere. Kyrios Who facebook.com/kyriosxou is a nice all day cafe- snack and cocktail bar, ideal if you want to listen to some good music, enjoy delicious Greek snacks and drinks.
Vraziliana is located at Plateia Merkouri and you will like it a lot if you enjoy ethnic music, and good food in a free style environment. Kouvi is also a very characteristic spot of Petralona; it is an all day and night café-bar with a Dj, very super cocktails and happy people.
Mavili square and around
Close to Hilton hotel and within walking distance from Kolonaki area, Mavili square is a classic area especially at night. Here you will find some of the most ‘famous’ café-bars of the city like Briki- a tiny bar that is usually packed with people every night- and Kyrios the more sophisticated choice if you want fun, quality and style. Right on the square there is the most well- known street food vendor of Athens, that opened for the first time in 1989 and since then it’s the hot spot of the city for hot dogs and more. Locals say “Mavili square was discovered by Colombus on his way to America when he stopped by that kiosk for a hot dog!” Bohemian, cozy and friendly are just the right words that explain this area the most. Close by Mavili square it’s the “Hilton” area (right behind the Hilton Hotel) where you can find some high-end bars and restaurants like Distiller facebook.com/CV.Distiller and Cookouvaya cookoovaya.gr restaurant with delicious Greek menu, and amazing desserts (check out the ones made of chocolate!)
Travel tip shared by Villy Manolia for Traveldudes
For more about Athens and the free local greeters scheme, you may visit www.thisisathens.org The city of Athens Convention & visitors Bureaur sponsored this trip.
I had a great stay at novotel.com/gb/hotel-0866-novotel-athenes. We used the innovative taxi app Taxibeat www.taxibeat.com for getting around Athens.