From Mets to Koukaki: Athens’ Hippest Streets for Food, Drink and More

Particular stretches of road in different residential neighborhoods in the city center have been transformed into lively independent worlds of their own.


Falirou and Odyssea Androutsou streets

The Koukaki neighborhood is a hotspot of alternative nightlife in Athens, with two of its streets attracting crowds of contemporary, hip Athenians. Falirou and Odyssea Androutsou streets appeal to the creative and the stylish; to those interested in the wonderful worlds of wine and microbreweries; to those who are charmed by the handcrafted and the homemade; and to those who just want to hang out in places that have made a name for themselves.

• True to its name, Tiki Bar (15 Falirou, Tel. (+30) 210.923.6908) has a colorful and exotic character, music to match and an extensive cocktail list starring its specialties – the Zombie, Piña Colada and Mai Tai. The tasteful Kinono (48 Falirou, Tel. (+30) 211.408.6826), featuring a wavy wooden bar, brutalist walls and spacious tables, offers vegan and vegetarian options, including sandwiches, salads and sugar-free desserts made with superfoods.

• Just across the road, Monsieur Barbu (59 Falirou, Tel. (+30) 210.924.7555) exudes a homey vintage feel with crowded tables spilling out onto a cozy square all day and late into the night. They serve impressive cocktails and now boast a shop-in-a-shop as well; it’s called “i do.” and it sells plants and gardening accessories

• This street is also home to two places for oenophiles. Materia Prima (68 Falirou, Tel. (+30) 210.924.5935) has a soft spot for unconventional producers and natural wines. It promotes small international wineries and the finest limited-production Greek wines, and serves delicious dishes, too. With wines from international and domestic vineyards and 30 selections, updated every month, available by the glass, as well as a more gourmet approach to food, BoBo Wine Bar (36 Anastasiou Zinni, Tel. (+30) 210.924.4244) frequently organizes wine-tasting evenings.

• Aiming to be a “special-purpose” bar and a showcase for the pleasures of the craft beer movement, Strange Brew (86 Falirou, Tel. (+30) 210.923.2146) is the city’s first taproom. It produces its own beer, adores IPA and houses a selection of beers from Greek craft breweries.

Bel Ray (88 Falirou, Tel. (+30) 213.032.6450), on the corner of Falirou and O. Androutsou streets, has kept the motor oil sign from when this space was a car wash and lube bay. Here they know how to make an exceptional croque monsieur and croque madame, and serve outstanding drinks, which is why a spot in one of its metal and wood chairs is highly sought-after, all hours of the day.

Giant (40 O. Androutsou) is by far the coolest pizzeria in the area, and its pizza is also the tastiest. Using dough left to mature for 48 hours, it serves classic pizzas and more creative versions inspired by traditional foods, such as the pizza with potato, zucchini and xinomyzithra (a soft, tart white cheese made from sheep’s and/or goat’s milk), which tastes like a Cretan pastry.

Morning Bar (36 O. Androutsou) is a hangout for early risers. One of the most influential spots in Athens, it has invested in quality coffee, serves amazing pastries and organizes pop-up events with key figures of the city’s gastronomy scene. In just 40 square meters, its modern urban style still manages to impress, and long queues on the weekend are a given. Here one can find a range of pastries and treats that may have been invented in northern Europe, but which have now become specialities of this miniscule café-bar. Its scones, galettes, cinnamon buns and perhaps the best cheesecake in town are all consistent bestsellers.

• Odyssea Androutsou also features a modern shopping scene, with stores such as LoFi Concept-Records (38 O. Androutsou, Tel. (+30) 213.045.7027), which specializes in vinyl records catering to the beat making and sound system music scenes, while also selling a selection of handmade jewelry.

• Each with an open-studio concept, a contemporary vision and nods to Greek tradition, Trabala Studio (36 O. Androutsou, Tel. (+30) 212.106.5872) and Val Goutsi Workshop (34 O. Androutsou, Tel. (+30) 210.924.0757) work with clay and imbue a variety of practical and decorative objects with an entire philosophy. These two shops in Koukaki are indicative of the area’s passion for ceramics. On the same street, you’ll also find a functioning loom at Fibra Fibra (36 O. Androutsou, Tel. (+30) 210.924.0808) with which modern bags and accessories bursting with color are made.

Asklipiou Street

Nestled between Exarchia and Kolonaki, and borrowing elements from both neighborhoods to create a tapestry of contrasts, Asklipiou Street, once the hangout of Athenian bohemians in decades past, is now experiencing a rebirth as one of the city’s most alternative and vibrant hubs. Walking down the street brings you to Neapoli (“New City”), the neighborhood that got its name early in the construction of the the modern city, in order to differentiate it from the older, surrounding areas.

In the morning, the bottom end of Asklipiou is full of bibliophiles, as it’s the location of Politeia (1-3 Asklipiou, Tel. +30 210.360.0235), one of the best-stocked bookstores in Athens. In the COVID era, lengthy queues became a common sight outside it.

For another kind of shopping, head to the recently opened It’s a Shirt (67 Asklipiou), an impressive, yet minimalist, showroom. This domestic brand creates limited edition shirts, embracing the philosophy of unisex garments and promoting the values of ethical fashion.

A few steps away, the new Phoenix Athens Gallery (87 Asklipiou) supports artistic endeavors and offers a variety of residency programs, hosting artists from Greece and abroad, academics, researchers and interns, while also organizing temporary exhibitions covering a variety of mediums.

Asklipiou is undoubtedly a street that also needs to be explored and experienced by night. There are bars aplenty to be found here, each with its own character, but all catering to kindred spirits; they fill nightly with revelers who have eclectic tastes in music and who prefer simple, straightforward drinks without frills and embellishments.

• The warm Kokkoi Café (39 Asklipiou, Tel. (+30) 210.364.1981) and the colorful Tralala (45 Asklipiou, Tel. (+30) 210.362.8066) are among the oldest oldest watering holes in the area; they opened in the early part of this century and are now considered timeless arty hangouts by their devoted regulars. The bar Rinokeros (22 Asklipiou, Tel. (+30) 210.338.9877) is another “oldie,” noted for its music: indie rock vibes and well-executed DJ sets.

• It is perhaps the most recent arrivals that have done the most to reshape the image of the street. The microscopic Falaina Bar (39 Asklipiou, Tel. (+30) 210.363.8300), boasting an industrial aesthetic and pop decorative details, often hosts themed uptempo DJ sets and specializes in perfect gin and tonics. If you enjoy experimenting with signature cocktails, this is the place to be. Further down, the small bar Nabokov (41 Asklipiou, Tel. (+30) 211.111.0432) has a retro atmosphere and a penchant for improvised jazz.

• Darker and with a charmingly peculiar attitude, both in its interior design and in its musical tastes, Santarosa (69 Asklipiou, Tel. (+30) 215.510.1784), which managed to become a favorite local hangout almost as soon as it opened, features an imposing, rectangular bar. It is a purebred, new-generation bar that calls itself “the first non-underground dive bar in Athens,” and there’s little reason to argue with that description.

Anapafseos Street

You’re in the area that the legendary modernist architect Le Corbusier once dubbed “the balcony of Athens.” Welcome to Mets, a neighborhood with heritage buildings that strikes a balance between the needs of everyday life and its image as one of the most picturesque parts of the city.

Here, one of the area’s main streets has acquired a peculiar new identity, as it is home to both shops selling funerary items and some of the city’s most exciting bars. Anapafseos Street, the road leading to the city’s oldest cemetery, is one of the liveliest and most popular hangouts, and it’s just a stone’s throw from Syntagma Square.

• The veteran of the area is the Olympion (9 Anapafseos, Tel. +30 210.924.4388). For the last 20 years, it’s been operating as a traditional kafeneio (coffee shop) and mageireio (eatery). A diverse clientele can be found here, including both longtime residents and recent arrivals, local flaneurs and international tourists, all tempted by the crispy meatballs, lachanodolmades (stuffed cabbage leaves), oven lasagna with spinach and hearty chickpeas with eggplant.

• The first quality fast-food eatery on the street opened in 2004, and its reputation spread across the city. Featuring crispy thin crispy crust on its pizzas, miniscule Colibri (9 Anapafseos, Tel. +30 210.921.4277) bakes classic and gourmet options, including the bestselling PPO, with pepperoni, onion, yogurt and paprika, and its burgers have devoted fans, too. A more recent fast-food addition is Amerikana (15 Anapafseos, Tel. (+30) 210.924.2966), with freshly baked brioche buns cradling homemade sausages and a variety of toppings that go beyond the usual. You’ll also find different flavors of ice cream made with goat’s milk.

Mother (16 Anapafseos, Tel. (+30) 211.118.1329) is a leafy concept store that’s become a hip meeting point for a new fast-growing community in the city – urban gardening aficionados. Here they source their indoor plants, including some, such as monsteras, that hail from the tropics.

Kain (22 Anapafseos, Tel. (+30) 210.922.7616) is the place that completely transformed the image of the street. This bar opened in 2015, and got Athens dancing to a variety of music, ranging from ‘80s tunes to present-day hits. Inside, the mural depicting the fratricide from the Old Testament fights for your attention with the art deco and industrial decor and the flamingo wallpaper. Its great drinks can also be accompanied by pizza from nearby Colibri.

• The area’s most recent arrival is the Joshua Tree Café (13 Anapafseos, Tel. (+30) 210.923.9747), which became a hit in no time. This funky American diner in Mets exudes a clear California vibe. Featuring specialty coffee from Area 51, it serves vegetarian and vegan dishes and its brunch is available all day. This is the place to indulge in healthy selections: a “clean” vegan hot dog, refreshing smoothie bowls, vegan mac ‘n’ cheese and tacos, and fluffy pancakes done different ways. In the evening, opt for the classic cocktails with a twist for a unique bar experience.

This article first appeared in the print issue Greece Is Athens Winter 2020-2021 with the title “Curb Appeal”. The magazine, along with other past issues, is available for order at our eshop.


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