Whisky Bars: Show Me The Way…

Greeks come only second to the Scots in their per capita whiskey consumption and new specialized bars are catering to this demand.


CV DISTILLER

The whisky lover’s Athenian paradise is located in a pretty neighborhood behind the Hilton Hotel. Its collection comprises some 700 labels – 70 of them Japanese – and is constantly being enriched thanks to the passion of proprietor and collector Stefanos Psyllakis, who regularly visits auctions and sellers around the world. Behind the impressive wooden countertop, highly trained and knowledgeable bartenders know which glass to use and always pour over whisky stones to avoid compromising the flavor. Down a couple of stairs in the private cigar lounge is where the jewels of the collection are safely stored and displayed: Macallan 25 Y.O., Brora 35 Y.O. 1960 and almost all of the different editions of the highly sought-after and expensive Port Ellen.

Prices per serving start at €9 for single malts, reaching €257 for a Mortlach 35 Y.O. • 7 Hadziyianni Mexi, tel (+30) 210.723.1767

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Buried among the buildings on the steps of Ploutarchou Street in Kolonaki, it looks like a speakeasy from the Prohibition era, but through the doors is a space that has acquired a really great patina over time. The big classic bar countertop with leather cushioned trim, the piano, dozens of musicians’ portraits, subtle lighting and jazz backdrop make the bar look like something out of a film set. Panagiotis – artist, proprietor and bartender – knows his music as well as his whiskies. He also likes to philosophize, as you’re bound to find out. The selection is comprehensive and comprises many single malts (quite a few from small distilleries), including Irish and Japanese, as well as bourbons.

A fan of the old school, he pours generously without using a measuring glass and prices start at €8 for regular single malts • 56 Ploutarchou, Kolonaki, tel (+30) 210.723.1424

ALEXANDER’S, HOTEL GRANDE BRETAGNE

One of Athens’ classiest, original bars. The beautiful décor – featuring an 18th century tapestry depicting Alexander the Great at the Battle of Gaugamela – the leather stools, collectible lighting fixtures and paintings, but mainly its complete collection of labels, earned it a Forbes recommendation as one of the Best Hotel Bars in the world. Much like a private gentleman’s club, the clientele consists mainly of hotel guests and businessmen talking shop in hushed tones. The bar boasts a collection of more than 100 whiskies, some of which are exceptionally rare, such as the Macallan series from 1940, 1946, 1952 and 1969, with prices starting for a 50ml serving at €950. Cognacs are also very well represented with the Remy Martin Louis XIII Black Pearl Limited Edition and Hennessy Paradis and Richard Hennessy

Vassileos Georgiou & Panepistimiou, Syntagma Square, tel (+30) 210.333.0000

LOW PROFILE

Old-school bartenders, photos on the walls of Miles Davis, Duke Ellington and Thelonious Monk, and laid-back music from retro speakers create a warm ambience for a clientele that consists of discerning drinkers of all stripes. The list caters to even the most demanding aficionados with a large collection of single malts, Irish and bourbons, including some real gems.

Prices range from €6 to €45 per serving, while you can also order a half-serving • 7 Voulis (inside the arcade), Syntagma Square, tel (+30) 213.035.2144


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