Craft beers, apart from being very tasty with a pleasantly complex profile, are constantly breaking new ground, as their production requires considerable creativity and experimentation. They are made by microbreweries notable for their enthusiasm, know-how and – of course – passion for beer. At many bars in Athens, the choice of craft beers may be limited, but at the city’s taprooms, there is such a large selection that you could try a different one every day.
Greece is currently enjoying something of a golden era when it comes to handcrafted beer, with microbreweries now operating not only in Athens but also on the islands and in many large towns. Here in the capital, we are particularly fortunate because we now find them also outside the center, in neighborhoods that one might not expect but are easily reached on the metro. In fact, for anyone who loves handcrafted beers and enjoys discovering new localities, Athens is proving to be an ideal destination.
The Watering Holes
In the west of the city, the beer lovers of Peristeri head to Zabaob, which opened just a few months ago on a quiet pedestrian way. It is the first taproom in the area with Greek and foreign beers on tap which are frequently rotated. There is also a wide choice of canned and bottled craft beer.
Nearer the center, Jonathan Spanos and Nassia Kyriakou recently opened SlowDown, again the first taproom in its area, this time Petralona, where they serve their beer of the same name which is produced at their nanobrewery at Evdilos on Ikaria. At SlowDown you will find beers on tap which are made on the island but also others produced by Greek microbreweries. It is quite amazing how the country’s craft-brewing community support each other’s efforts, promoting quality beer drinking overall in a non-competitive spirit. At SlowDown there is also a choice of natural wines from some of the smallest wineries in the country.
Tapfield in Psirri provides a wonderful opportunity to visit the city-center neighborhood that for many years was the most popular and is now once again on an upward trajectory as it aspires to become the number one entertainment hub that it was two decades ago. At this small taproom, owner Miltos Piskopos serves beers from 23 different taps, along with just as many in cans and bottles. The astronaut mural certainly catches the eye and provides an excellent background for great instagrammable moments, while the attractive wooden bar entices you to sit for hours. Miltos is more than willing to answer any questions about his beers and frequently renews the offerings on tap, which can also be accompanied by some delicious tapas.
In the Koukaki neighborhood, in the welcoming Blame the Sun or just outside on the sidewalk, you can enjoy a good selection of craft beers straight from the barrel, with emphasis on new arrivals, which they change every week. We like it in particular because here we can try all the latest releases. You will also find an interesting selection of chips and their own extra hot sauces.
Also in Koukaki, the Strange Brew Taproom & Bottleshop was opened by the – until then – ‘nomadic’ microbrewery of the same name and was among the first taprooms to open in Athens. From the outset, it offered the most exciting Greek craft beers on tap but also in bottles and cans. Here, beer aficionados gathered to try the latest creations and exchange opinions, something that continues today. If you want to chat with some of the members of the Greek craft beer community, spend an evening at one of the poseur tables on the pavement outside.
Zabaob, 37 Megalou Alexandrou, Peristeri, Τel. (+30) 210.573.0139
SlowDown, 39 Kidantidon, Petralona, Tel. (+30) 22750.324.63
Tapfield, 4 Navarchou Apostoli, Psirri, Τel. (+30) 210.322.1923
Blame the Sun, 60 Veikou, Koukaki, Τel. (+30) 210.921.3523
Strange Brew Taproom & Bottleshop, 86 Falirou, Koukaki, Τel. (+30) 210.923.2146
Further north in Marousi, three friends from school – Ilias, Zisis and Aris – recently opened the bar they had dreamt about since sitting at the back of the class, hence the name, Last Row. The bar’s 16 taps offer a selection of craft beers mainly from Greek microbreweries, but also a choice of imported brews that you are unlikely to find anywhere else. The beers on tap are changed regularly, while the refrigerators stock more than 40 labels in cans or bottles to enjoy in-house or take to go. Another plus is the range of snacks, including nachos with spicy sauce, three types of hot dogs, and a delectable brisket burger.
Moving south to Ilioupoli, the Paragon Brewery & Taproom is set within the concrete walls of an old blacksmith’s shop. Only a large glass window behind the bar separates customers from the cooking vessels, in which three young brewers perfect their recipes and constantly experiment with new, intriguing versions. The taps at Paragon are renewed on a weekly basis not only with their own beers but also with others just released on the market and older brews now considered to be classic.
Last Row, 10 Themidos, Marousi, Τel. (+30) 210.802.0905
Paragon Brewery & Taproom, 3 Lemesou, Ilioupoli, Tel. (+30) 698.194.7030