So here is me, being out with friends for the best part of last week. We went for drinks, we went for food, we went all over the place, even to the open-air cinema; the screens have started opening their doors the past couple of weeks. It’s been a while that I wanted to do a best of list of places for going out in Athens and I am always met with indecisiveness – there are too many places with gorgeous views to the Parthenon, scrumptious food and delectable cocktails. My lists are growing long, very long indeed but here are a few gems I visited last week that I will definitely recommend to anyone stopping by Athens for a long weekend.
So let’s start with food: Aster, in Petralona, Αστέρ, Troon 48, 11852
In our very traditional manner of mezze dining, Aster is showcasing the best of Cretan cuisine. Of course all the mezze go exceptionally well with raki. The deco gives you this cozy feeling of entering a 60’s home. I noticed a formica table that could once have been my gran’s and a few school chairs (the comfy type). The guys and girls at Aster have very tastefully integrated the best from the kitchen of the Greek grandma, both the dishes you are served and being served on. Wonderful atmosphere, very good service and I think one of the best rakis I have tried in Athens. Apparently it comes straight from Archanes in Crete, our Mecca when it comes to raki.
So once you have a happy tummy and perhaps feeling a little merry from the raki, I would recommend a coffee up the hill: Plaka. Klepsidra is one of the places I used to frequent as a student. It’s still as charming as it used to be, its seats anchoring on the uphill paved street, giving you glimpses of Athens. It’s a little out of the way from Mnisikleous, which should be the busiest street of Plaka with all the taverns, coffee places and what not. Don’t expect to find Klepsidra empty though, it still gets quite busy but is certainly worth the climb.
It also has a lovely second hand bookstore just across it, so you could perhaps grab a summer read if you haven’t already.
Coffee time: Klepsidra, Thrasivoulou 9, Plaka
Now for the evening, I guess you will need to quench your thirst. We do beer, as we do wine, ouzo, of course and also raki, all of them very well, but what we do even better is cocktails!
Couleur locale has one of the loveliest terraces, with a long list of cocktails and selected modern style tapas. You might need to go on a hunt to find this. It is hidden in the backstreets of Monastiraki, but I certainly recommend a stroll up there, if only to get a glimpse of the view.
Couleur Locale, Normanou 3, Athens, 105 55
Now if this is busy, worry not, we never stay in one place for drinks, head up from Monastiraki towards Agia Irini, leave the square behind you, tempting as it might be, and keep walking up Athinaidos street for 3 blocks until you reach Thissews (left hand side). Number 11 is what you want – it’s IPPO bar, great cocktails, great music and did I mention great cocktails?
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But I think enough with inebriation, there are ways to entertain oneself whilst remaining sober in Athens. My favourite activity for a quiet summer night in the capital is a film at the open-air cinema. We have plenty, each neighbourhood has its own very special screen. I went to one of the most central, in Plaka and also the oldest: Cine Paris.
In Cine Paris you are just under the Sacred hill. And yes, I had a bit both, Strawberry sorbet and salty pop-corn!
with love from Athens!by