It may not be the fabled Movida Madrilena. It may not even be the debauched London party scene, but make no mistake about it, Athens packs a wallop when the sun goes down.
While you may not see extreme states of inebriation, or even public displays of affection (you can go to Cavos or Laganas for that), you’ll definitely get to see a much different night life culture than the one back home. Unless you come from Spain of Italy.
There are various states of grace in which you can reside in while hitting the town. Athens can be elegant and sophisticated. It can be traditional and real and it can be downright hectic and hedonistic.
For the well-heeled visitor, the options center around culture and events. And since Greece has oodles of culture to spare, one is never too far away from a great night out. The newly minted Stavros Niarchos Foundation is a great place for a stroll within its 140 hectare campus replete with a lake, gardens and play green areas. Inside the Renzo Piano masterpiece you can catch an opera in the state of the art auditorium, or get a book from the National Library and chill.
If you feel like basking in some old world glory, then head straight to the 161 AD Atticus Herodion theater and enjoy a concert or an ancient Greek play under the stars. If you can find a more instagrammable place, you’re probably in Santorini instead.
And how about those open air cinemas? About 30 or so still operate in the center of Athens, with Cine Thission and Cine Paris being the standouts with incredible views of the illuminated Acropolis in the background.
Naturally, there are far more boisterous choices. The bouzoukia being one of them. If you fancy yourself smashing some plates (side note: no one actually smashes plates in Greece) to the tunes of rembetiko or laiko then you’re in luck, as Athens boasts some primo ‘skyladika’ (what these joints are usually called by locals).
BARS & DISTRICTS
Roof top terraces abound, and thanks to the law that stipulates that no building can be more than 7 stories tall, pretty much everyplace in Athens has a clear vantage point of the Acropolis. Which makes for extremely atmospheric and affordable bars (just imagine what you’d have to pay for that pleasure were the Acropolis stateside). So it comes as no surprise to find out that Athens has a ton of excellent and award winning watering holes, such as Baba au Rum, The Clumsies or Drunk Sinatra.
The central districts of Gazi, Psirri, Metaxurgio, Keramikos and Monastiraki are veritable drinking playgrounds for revelers all year round.
In addition, there are numerous opportunities to take your party seaside when temperatures rise in early April. Just a 20 minute drive from the center of Athens, a whole new world of clubs and bars opens up. Beach parties, of course, are de rigueur, as are boat parties and all types of clubs and bars open up their summer venues on Posidonos avenue.
Free parties in squares and open air amphitheaters and hills begin to occur during the easter period. Those with limited budgets or a curious nature gravitate towards Exarchia and its open source ethos of inclusivity. Strefi Hill becomes an open air festival in the middle of the city, with Lykavittos Hill occasionally hosting a concert or a free party.
Athens caters to every taste and every wallet. It’s an ancient city, one of the oldest in the world, and one of the twelve gods is Dionysus; the god of wine and merriment. Don’t anger him.