It’s not difficult to find a good bar in Athens. In the more touristy areas like Plaka and Koukaki you are spoiled for choice. The service is almost always very good and you’ll have a good time, but in many of the bars you will often find the same crowd: a mix of locals and tourists.
A night in a bar with locals who wonder how you found out about it can be one of the most rewarding and memorable experiences on any city trip. What’s more, drinks are often a lot cheaper.
To that end, we asked the Spotted by Locals Athens bloggers for their favorite truly local hangouts in less-visited areas:
Batman, Neos Kosmos
Spotted by Andreas Papadopoulos
Batman Bar is an exceptional case. First of all you have to wait until 22:00 until it opens, and secondly, you never know how your night will end. Batman started to operate in 1989 in Athens and offers traditional Greek entertainment. At the bar you will usually meet the owner who doubles up as a barman and DJ. He plays Greek music and rembetiko.
The atmosphere in this place is totally unique. It is a favorite haunt for musicians, writers and bohemians all up for socializing, so it’s not uncommon to have a drink next to a famous Greek artist. There are no special drinks to order apart from beer, wine and whiskey, but the thing that makes Batman so special is that unexpected things can occur, inlcuding, over the years, historic live performances by truly great artists. Finding a tourist here is very rare.
Odeon Cafe, Mets
Spotted by Javier Muñoz
If you want to drink a great coffee in a relaxing and stylish place, Odeon Cafe is the spot to visit. The bar is located in the Mets area, near the most beautiful Cemetery of Athens, and an area tourists don’t usually visit (but should!).
Two things that make this place different are dogs are allowed to enter and you can play the piano whenever you want. It’s very cool to see people sitting there while their pets are kind of playing with the cute resident cat.
The terrace is the ideal place to watch the world go by.
Kafeneio Navarinou, Exarcheia
Spotted by Margarita Kalogeropoulou
In the outskirts of Exarcheia, you can find this great little bar that has stayed true to the traditional “Greek kafeneio” style ever since it opened. Our local Margarita doesn’t know when that was, but she has been going there as a student, as a “working girl,” as a “pregnant whale” and as a mother with or without family. She hopes to pass on the tradition …!
Kafeneio Navarinou is one of the few places in town where you can still get a half liter bottle of beer for € 2.50. We recommend picking Vergina – it’s one the few remaining independent “big” breweries in Greece.
The Local Pub, Chalandri
Spotted by Angeliki Georgokosta
Anastasiou brewery is one of the very few breweries in Athens and the only one in the northern suburbs of the city. At The Local Pub you can go straight to the source and try all 20 different recipes of the Anastasiou brewery as well as beers from other Greek breweries.
Angeliki’s favorite beer is Recipe 10 (Syntagi 10) by Anastasiou brewery, a Double Dry Hopped IPA with 7% alcohol, a hazy golden peach colour, citrus fruit scents and a bittersweet taste.
Small breweries like Anastasiou are doing magnificent work and if you are keen to discover more about the world of Greek beer, The Local Pub is a must-visit.
Off the Chain, Exarcheia
Spotted by Sofia Skioti
Sometimes, on a night out, you just do not want to go home. Either you are having a lot of fun, or you did not have as much fun as you wanted just yet. It’s late already, most of the places are about to close but you want to extend the night …
Yes, in Athens you can do that. Besides the fact that the whole nightlife thing starts later and, consequently ends later, there are the “after” bars. “Afters,” as we call them, are normal bars that just get crowded later – “later” as in after 03:00.
Off the Chain is a personal favorite of Sofia, located close to Exarcheia Square, hosted in a typical, old Athenian house which is now transformed into a classic rock bar. As dark as it should be for your tired eyes, with music selections of, but not limited to, classic rock, indie, alternative, punk, it’s the place to rest your soul after a long night out.
Entrance is free, prices are low, fun is almost guaranteed.
Strange Brew, Koukaki
Spotted by Dimitris Hall
Yes, Koukaki is quite a touristy area. But this little tap-room is in a quiet backstreet of an area you wouldn’t usually pass if you didn’t know it was there.
Strange Brew calls itself “brewers without a brewery.” Since starting out as a home brewery in 2015, they roamed all over Greece to brew their beer as a nomadic / gypsy brewery. And they still do! The Strange Brew Athens Taproom & Bottle shop opened up in 2020.
Most of the beers Strange Brew sells are their own concoctions, and they like to get experimental! How about a milky Sweet n Sour IPA Hazy Disco (which had to be brewed in Poland because of Greece’s strict and kind of outdated brewing laws – ask the very likable owners/brewers for the full story)?
At this place, Dimitris found his – cue Gollum voice – “precious,” the sour ale he didn’t know he needed: Vault City. If he had to choose one beer to drink for the rest of his life, this would be it …
As they have no seating area, the sidewalk is used as a bar space. It’s the perfect place to strike up a conversation with a local. If the feeling is right, the owners don’t mind at all to keep the bar open until way after official closing time.