While you can find all kinds of restaurants and bars across the Greek capital these days, some neighborhoods are more suited to particular types of entertainment than others.
Kolonaki comes with an old-timey, upscale charm and quality drinks to match. If you’re looking for jazz and rare whiskies, there is no area better suited to satisfying your cravings. But there is more: classic and signature cocktails in friendly and historic spaces that will win your heart.
Below are our top choices for quality drinks in Athens’ chicest neighborhood.
This trendy bar, which moved here from the neighborhood of Kerameikos, is just as successful at it’s new corner location in Kolonaki. Open every day from 10.00 in the morning, and serving brunch on the weekends, it’s still perhaps at its best in the evening.
The lights are dimmed, the music is turned up, and the classic and signature cocktails are fantastic. We also recommend trying some of the excellent tequilas.
53 Skoufa, Kolonaki, Tel. 210.346.2077. Open Tue-Sun 10.00-03.00
Skoufaki has the look of a traditional Athenian bar: the bar itself is large, so there is room to sit and watch the bartender in action, but the rest of the space offers limited seating. It fills up daily with people looking for excellent drinks and good music (it’s one of the few places that has a DJ every day of the week).
Try something from the list of gins, like PGI (Protected Geographical Indication) Plymouth, or one of the many blended whiskies and single malts. On the cocktail list you’ll find classics such as the Negroni, along with more imaginative concoctions. During the day, they also serve coffee and light meals. From 16.00 to 20.00 it’s happy hour, with reduced prices for cocktails.
47 Skoufa, Kolonaki, Tel. 210.362.3867. Open Sun-Thu 10.00-01.00 & Fri-Sat 10.00-03.00.
This bar is small and cozy, and perfect for a winter evening. There is just about enough room for 10-15 patrons, meaning the bartender will have time to pamper you. The inviting space has a relaxing effect, making guests stay for hours. Have a seat at the bar and let the experienced bartender guide you to the best choice of aged whisky. He will serve your order in a nice glass, with a large ice cube that won’t water down your drink, on an elegant, cloth coaster.
This is the ideal place to enjoy premium drinks – always served correctly. The music is not too loud, which makes Grain a great bar for conversations and dates. For people watching, choose a seat by the large window looking out on the street.
33 Omirou, Kolonaki. Open every day 10.00-02.00.
This historic bar between Kolonaki and Exarhia, with its film noir-inspired interior, has been serving quality drinks ever since it opened in 1978. The space is separated into small rooms decorated with old posters on the walls, and the music is an alternative mix of select tunes from genres such as jazz, rock, soul, and everything in between. Add to that a very generous drinks menu.
3B Delfon, Kolonaki, Tel. 210.363.4583. Open every day from 10.00 until late.
Rue de Marseille
Another historic bar, Rue de Marseille has long been the regular hangout of many members of the Greek cultural elite, who mingle here with students and other Kolonaki locals. If the walls could talk… this bar would probably be even busier.
The interior is old-timey, traditional, yet stylish. We come here to hear a mix of classical and rock music, and to sip good drinks, straight or on the rocks.
11 Massalias, Kolonaki, Tel. 210.362.6606
Step down a few steps off Ploutarchou Street, through a nondescript doorway and into a different world. At 56 the Christmas lights stay up all year, jazz pours from the speakers, and the atmosphere is simply unique. You’ll want to bring both dates and friends here, as it’s a place to go to forget the world outside and just have a good time.
They serve classic cocktails, but are most famous for their whisky collection. Behind the bar you’ll discover hard-to-find single malts from small distilleries, including Irish and Japanese, as well as bourbons, and the drinks are (generously) measured by eye.
The owner will happily join you and share stories from his life. Often, he will get you to stay a little longer by offering you another drink on the house.
56 Ploutarchou, Kolonaki, Tel. 210.723.1424
This bar-restaurant is not what you might automatically think of when you hear that it’s in an underground space.
The interior is modern, minimal, and Asian-inspired. The new drinks menu, created by Nikos Bakoulis and Vasilis Kyritsis from the Clumsies (the Athens bar that’s currently number 6 on the World’s 50 Best Bars list), consists of Japanese and other Asian fusion cocktails in three categories: Low ABV Highballs, Fusion, and Tea Cocktails.
We recommend the Miso Soup, made with vodka, Spanish manzanilla sherry, citrus-flavored syrup and mirin (a type of rice wine), as well as the Yakuza with black garlic-scented whisky, Vinsanto Sigalas and soy sauce.
6 Tsakalof, Tel. 210.364.7712
Jazz ‘n‘ Jazz
About as good as it gets. Great jazz music, including some very rare recordings, an atmospheric space, friendly vibe, quality drinks, excellent whiskies and conscientious bartenders… what more could you ask for? It’s small and it fills up quickly, especially on weekends when it’s a popular choice for younger patrons (mostly people between 22 and 30), while the average age of customers rises during the week.
The walls are covered with cartoons and black-and-white photos from movies, and of legendary jazz artists like Nina Simone, Ella Fitzgerald, Miles Davies, and Charles Mingus.