Thessaloniki ranks as a top-notch entertainment hub and is an ideal place for partying into the wee hours, thanks to the wide assortment of establishments dotting the city. This broad range extends from electronic music stages and cocktail bars to wine bars and traditional rebetadika (venues with live rebetika music).
The latest arrival on the local bar scene hails from Athens. Noell is Thessaloniki’s version of Noel, a themed bar that has been active in the Greek capital for three years. The interior is reminiscent of a Victorian mansion, and the place is so ultra-decorated that inside it feels like Christmas year-round. It offers extremely imaginative cocktails and a menu filled with delicious food – all this right in the heart of the city center.
Just a few meters down from Noell is Local, a hangout for the business crowd, a purebred, all-day bar-restaurant with a long list of spirits; it fills up nightly with regulars.
Recently, one of the neoclassical buildings in the Vasilissis Olgas area became home to the Casablanca Social Club. This establishment boasts a garden, a meticulously-designed décor and an outstanding, high-volume bar. Those who love single malts have a special reason to visit.
If cigarettes put you off, head to the smoke-free Vogatsikou 3, with its extremely well-stocked bar featuring almost every kind of rum, whiskey and gin imaginable, each served up the way it should be.
Gorilla, in the Ano Ladadika district, is a fine-drinking bar renowned for its excellent cocktails. This year, owner Achilleas Plakidas netted the national World Class Bartender award, proving that he’s got plenty of successful recipes tucked away in his shaker. The cocktails at Gorilla, prepared using premium spirits, are the fruits of boundless experimentation in its fully equipped laboratory. In addition to a lot of imagination, the bartenders here employ centrifuges, vacuums, sous vide, carbonation devices, Thermomix machines and many more gadgets and techniques to maximum effect.
For a more classic cocktail – such as a well-prepared Sazerac, Dry Martini or Old Fashioned – make your way to The Blue Cup in the Ladadika district; it serves tried-and-tested but less complicated recipes, offering consistently high-quality service.
If you’re looking for a particularly lively atmosphere, take a seat at Paraty & Loft, also in Ladadika, either inside in its cosmopolitan hall or in its outdoor space, where you can indulge in some people-watching.
For beer, timeless drinks and soul jazz music, head down the steps to the classic On the Road, located on the waterfront.
At La Doze, you can dance till dawn to electro music selected by well-known DJs.
As for wine bars, check out the tiny Souel, where you can select from 160 wines, 40 of which are available by the glass.
Alea is surely one of the city’s most classic and atmospheric establishments, with red-and-black décor and framed movie stills on the walls. This is the oldest wine bar in town, having been around for about 30 years.
Oinovate only serves Greek wines, with a special emphasis on island vineyards.
At the luxurious Vin, you’ll need time to peruse the list and make your choice, as some 340 wines are available.