Kolonaki has always been what could be described as the geopolitical center of Athenian life, in part thanks to its innumerable cafes. More political agreements have probably been struck at one of its coffee tables than in the Parliament itself. The area is also defined by the hundreds of city folk, artists, actors, journalists, TV stars and other personalities who come to meet friends or to see and be seen. Each clique has its own favorite place. It was also here that proper Italian espresso and cappuccino first made their appearance in Greece, and where the Greek art of iced coffee was perfected – ideal during a hot day on the town.
“ It was in Kolonaki that proper Italian espresso and cappuccino first made their appearance in Greece, and where the Greek art of iced coffee was perfected. ”
With the exception of Brazilian, a legendary haunt for Athens’ 20th century intelligentsia, and JK, a meeting place for politicians, almost all of Kolonaki’s emblematic cafes still stand in the spots where they first opened. Filion (34 Skoufa), mainly attracting an eclectic crowd of theater directors and writers, and Da Capo (1 Tsakaloff), the de rigueur place to be seen since 1990, are probably the best known among them. At Jimmy’s Coffee Shop (7 Valaoritou) journalists push tables together so they can wrangle over politics and scoops, and at Pit (1 Kanari & Milioni) politicians like to sit out on the pedestrian stretch to have a more relaxed chat with their peers. Nearby, at relative newcomer Flocafe (7 Milioni), it is definitely all about coffee… with an amazing selection of beans and blends from all over the world – though its mixed set of patrons also frequently succumb to the temptation of its cocktails, snacks and pastries on offer. The lawyers working at nearby banks and businesses gravitate toward Brasserie (15 Valaoritou), where they wind down after a day at work or argue over an out-of-court settlement, while the intellectuals that gather at Vivliothiki (18 Kolonaki Square) tend to be old-school Athenians, split by politics but joined in custom. Last but not least, Dexameni (on the square of the same name) was a favorite haunt for writers and artists from the start of the 20th century; today you can see still clever types tapping away at their laptops. Whether they’re writing poetry, preparing job applications or simply social-networking is anyone’s guess.
“ Almost all of Kolonaki’s emblematic cafes still stand in the spots where they first opened. ”