Athens nightlife consists of tavernas with live music, bars, nightclubs and Greek nightclubs. As with everything in Athens, locals like to pace themselves. There is no rushing to dinner before kitchens close. If it’s a weekend or holiday season, Greeks won’t start their night before 9pm or 10pm. They will enjoy a few drinks with dinner – meze style, over several hours. Then it’s on to start the night at a bar or nightclub.
You may notice as you walk around the streets of Athens, there are posters of Greek singers posted everywhere. These are to advertise the latest line up for Greek nightclubs or bouzoukia. Greeks love their music and there is something on almost every month. The bouzoukia is where Greek singers perform live and they don’t start before 11pm and will run through to five or six in the morning. The bigger clubs are located south of the city towards the district of Glyfatha and attract the more high profile, popular singers. The smaller bouzoukia around Athens are usually for singers trying to break through or towards the end of their careers (and popularity). The music varies in style depending on the club. They’re lots of fun, but you need to be prepared for a long night and sore head the next day. You will pay a cover charge and as a group you will need to reserve a table, where you are expected to purchase bottles of spirits as a minimum. In the old days you would buy stacks of plates to smash on stage when your favourite singer or song came on. It was the way Greeks expressed their appreciation for life and music. These days, you will find trays of flowers being sold instead (much more safe for everybody) which you throw on stage. If you enjoy Greek music you will have a great time. At the very least, you will never forget your night out at the bouzoukia in Athens.
Athens bars are a buzz all year round. They remain open until very late (or early in the morning). The bars in Athens, like in all cities, range from your casual and low key, to the very hip and happening. You’re unlikely to find pubs or sports bars here, but you will find many up in rooftop spaces particularly in summer. The upmarket bars are usually part of a restaurant that touts a star chef, sleek interiors and an A-list crowd. If you enjoy tasting boutique beers then you must keep an eye out for Greek varieties that are winning awards all around the world.