Best Bars in Athens

Bar Hopping at Night Makes a Favorite Pastime in Athens

Athens bars come in various styles and categories. Swanky, trendy locales in Kolonaki, alternative, bohemian around Monastiraki,  elegant avantgarde around Syntagma and Karytsi square, all time classics like Galaxy Bar and Restaurant at Athens Hilton, with a spectacular view, favorite location with the Athenian jet set,  or recent favorites like 42 bar close to Syntagma,   awarded Baba au Rum attracting a fashionable crowd who are looking for excellent quality, prize winning Gin Joint is the hang out for nostalgics and trendsetters, which are reference points in the city. Low Profile is an all time classic favorite, Jazz in Jazz is the hangout for jazz lovers, Ippopotamos has a faithful clientele of students and intellectuals, at The Underdog in Thissio you can also taste freshly roasted coffee, Noel on Kolokotroni street has a festive atmosphere all year round, at Rock & Balls the atmosphere is vibrant day and night. Many bars are all day venues, with coffee and snacks in the morning and drinks later on, while others are exclusively cocktail bars, serving drinks after 19.00 p.m.  Bars go in and out of fashion, attracting different kinds of crowds and becoming popular by word of mouth. Most pay great attention to quality and originality, always looking out for something new to suggest to customers and bartenders are stars in themselves. When deciding where to pass the evening, choose according to your individual taste and your mood for the evening.


Rock & Balls
Photo courtesy of Rock & Balls

Rock & Balls on lively Agias Irinis square is a popular hang out with industrial design, Bauhaus style, an imaginative menu and original cocktails. Open from morning for coffee and observing the world go by, for a tasty lunch break or a casual evening out, with music as the main focus. The menu includes also Asian tastes and a favorite are the meatballs in the oven, in interesting variations, such as classic beef, chicken chili, smoked paprika beef, pork chorizo and vegetarian, with the sauce you prefer and accompanied with fresh salad. Taste the Asian specialties at the Balls & Rolls asian b corner. The high point of the evening is the cocktail bar, where the bartenders will prepare the cocktail of your dreams. Vibrant music, a happy crowd under the neon sign at the bar and every night is a party.

Recommended for Bars because: The high point of the evening is the cocktail bar, where you can taste the cocktail of your dreams.

Nelly's expert tip: Meatball specialties and original cocktails in a vibrant atmosphere

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The Underdog
Photo courtesy of The Underdog

Underdog on Irakleidon pedestrian street in Thission, is one of the most successful new arrivals on the Athens day and night scene. Its opening confirmed that Irakleidon street is one of the most hip places in town. Located in a beautiful neoclassical building, which was renovated with respect to its initial style, Underdog is approached going up a narrow staircase which opens onto a space full of light, open horizon and positive vibes. At Underdog you can enjoy excellent coffee, imported from the farms and roasted daily on the premises, and superb cocktails. The list includes imaginative tastes with original ingredients and combinations. Many of their names are inspired by films or songs which refer to the underdog element, such as "Happiness", "Project Mayhem", "Suzanne" and many others. In this warm and friendly environment, special attention has also been given to specialization in beers, from all over the world, many of which can be tasted exclusively here. In the patio, the garden is a main attraction, with an interesting graffiti on the wall. The influence of "Star Wars" is evident, both in the decor and the accessories , giving this special place an even more special atmosphere.

Recommended for Bars because: Many of their names of cocktails are inspired by films or songs which refer to the underdog element,

Nelly's expert tip: A cocktail bar, a micro-roastery (with third wave coffee shop services) and an alternative beer bar

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Photo courtesy of Noel

At Noel, on central Kolokotroni street, customers are welcomed as guests, in a warm atmosphere. A team of experts pooled their experience and created a bar/restaurant with unique style in this atmospheric arcade. The cocktail list, with twenty one different selections, is based on seasonal and Mediterranean ingredients, and the menu is inspired by Italian tastes, with original appetizers, pasta, pizza, bruschette and salads. Special blends of coffee are served and the music is mainly Cafe Paris and gypsy jazz in the afternoons, jazz soul and funk in the evenings. Offering a special and personal note on the service, the group of fifteen bartenders, except for their classic role, also serve at the tables, on rotation. At Noel Etage, on the first floor, cultural events, live and group events are hosted.

Recommended for Bars because: The cocktail list, with twenty one different selections, is based on seasonal and Mediterranean ingredients

Nelly's expert tip: A warm and welcoming location in an atmospheric arcade

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Photo courtesy of Ippopotamos

Ippopotamos is the oldest functioning rock bar in Athens and can be found in the same location since 1978 when it first opened. Situated on the ground floor of a neoclassical building from the beginning of the 20th century, the courtyard has vintage black and white tiles, a palm tree, and unique atmosphere. From the start, Ippopotamos became a favorite hang out for students of the nearby university, artists and intellectuals, many of whom are still faithful customers. The casual, counter culture atmosphere and the privacy the separate rooms offer, make this bar ideal for all ages, who enjoy the jazz, blues, rockabilly, soul and funk music. In the mornings enjoy a traditional Greek coffee, an iced frappe or an espresso prepared with selected blends, accompanied with home made cake or a sandwich prepared on the spot. In the afternoon you can choose to taste the Greek bottled or draft beer, with a snack such as a salad, a savory tart, a cheese and cold cuts variety or the famous guacamole. The evening is the ideal moment for ouzo from the island of Chios or raki from Crete, which can also be enjoyed in special cocktails.

Recommended for Bars because: The evening is the ideal moment for ouzo from the island of Chios or raki from Crete.

Nelly's expert tip: Since 1978, this bar has a faithful clientele of students, intellectuals and artists

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Low Profile Coffee & Whiskey

The history of Low Profile started in 1996, when a small butcher shop on Lykavittou street in Kolonaki was transformed into a Whiskey Bar which immediately attracted people from all over Athens and all age groups and social classes, who enjoyed clean drinks and good all time classic music. At the end of 2014 they moved to the Bolani arcade, off Voulis street, where their faithful customers now meet. At Low Profile more than sixty whiskey labels are available, which are accompanied by snacks. The music is jazz, Blues and rock n'roll. The atmosphere is friendly and this bar remains an all time classic. It is interesting to note that several contemporary Greek writers have mentioned Low Profile in their articles and short stories.

Recommended for Bars because: More than sixty whiskey labels are available, accompanied by snacks.

Nelly's expert tip: All time classic meeting point with a faithful clientele from all age groups

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Jazz in Jazz
Photo courtesy of Jazz in Jazz

Jazz in Jazz on Deinokratous street, on the way up to Lycabettus hill, is unique in its kind and a reference point in the neighborhood for an eclectic public. This family business, which initially opened at Agia Galini, in Crete, moved to Athens in 1996 and since then has made history. This atmospheric bar, created with love for the original jazz culture, is frequented by people who share this passion and appreciate the concept. You will not find cocktails on their list, only straight drinks, such as single malt, many varieties of rum, beer and wine by the glass. The decor is reminiscent of New Orleans, with many photographs of famous jazz musicians, musical instruments, mementoes. The music is jazz and blues from the twenties to the sixties, creating an authentic atmosphere. Try the special accompaniment for the whiskey, made with figs and citrus fruit.

Recommended for Bars because: A reference point in the neighborhood for an eclectic public of jazz lovers

Nelly's expert tip: Jazz music and jazz atmosphere in a unique bar in Kolonaki

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42 Bar
Photo courtesy of 42 Bar

The choice of name is certainly interesting, 42 is the answer to the ultimate question of life, according to Douglas Adams A Hitchhikers Guide to the Universe. Located in an atmospheric alley, with a shady plane tree and an intimate interior space, this successful bar has become a favorite in Athens, from the first day it opened. Professional expertise is definitely one of the main reasons, with a cocktail menu which is renewed four times a year, presenting blends for every different season. At 42, they make their own syrups, serve five different kinds of ice depending on the drink of your choice, and present cocktails in different shapes and sizes of glass or cup. Recipes are extremely creative, including various herbs which combine ideally with the liquor and other ingredients.

Recommended for Bars because: Favorite nightlife hangout in downtown Athens,attracting a public of all ages

Nelly's expert tip: Try the Perfidia cocktail at 42 Bar, with lime, tequila, chili and diktamo herbs

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City Center
Gin Joint
Photo courtesy of Gin Joint

Centrally located in Karitsi Square, one of the most beautiful hidden corners near Syntagma Square, the Gin Joint is a small bar for "serious" drinks. Stepping inside you will come across a marble tile floor, antique wall lights and a huge painting of Humphrey Bogart sitting at the bar, wondering why of all the Gin Joints in all towns in the entire world she walked into his, from the famous film 'Casablanca'. The focus is on Gin and with an extensive list of 90 labels and counting, the Gin Joint is proud of serving the Perfect Gin and Tonic in many different versions. But it is not actually all Gin here. The drinks menu includes all the classic cocktails served in vintage crystal and a good number of house recipes-more modern serves- all prepared using top quality spirits, homemade infusions, liqueurs and syrups and the most aromatic herbs and spices. The Gin Joint is voted as one of the Best Cocktail Bars in Europe for 2012 in the European contest Cocktails & Spirits held in Paris in June 2013. Music ranging from jazz and swing to rock 'n roll tunes, crowd ages 25 and up, al fresco seating on the street sidewalk.

Recommended for Bars because: Retro atmosphere and music, with classic cocktail recipes, in the nightlife district of Karytsi

Nelly's expert tip: More than 90 gin labels from all over the world at the Gin Joint

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Baba au Rum opened in 2009 and was the first bar which approached rum and the cocktail culture in a completely different way. A cocktail Mecca for locals with drinks which range from 19th century classics such as crustas and juleps to the more recent experiments with cutting edge techniques. Homemade syrups and bitters and one of the most outstanding rum collections in Europe, combined with exotica and alternative music. The clientele is a happy crowd from 25-45 with many faithful customers. Baba au Rum has been awarded the prize of the best cocktail bar in Athens and is the only bar in Greece to be included in the Worlds 50 best bars

Recommended for Bars because: Popular downtown bar with its own cocktail culture, attracting a happy crowd

Nelly's expert tip: The first bar in Athens which approached rum and the cocktail culture in a different way

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Galaxy bar and restaurant on the rooftop of the Athens Hilton is a wonderful place to pass the evening, with a breathtaking view, elegant atmosphere and high quality service. Modern and ultrachic, the décor includes wooden decking and a glass top bar and is very popular with jetsetters and visitors at the Hilton. In the evening you can enjoy the stylish air with cocktails and boutique brand drinks, whilst listening to hip electro music and later on appreciate one of the most fashionable venues in town with vibrant ambience. Galaxy bar and restaurant has been a favorite for many generations of Athenians, following fashion and trends over the years. The summer 2015 menu includes delicious dishes such as Dynamic Shrimp Duo and Salmon Avocado and a mini BBQ at your table. Dont miss the signature cocktails Andromeda Secret , with rum, ouzo and almond syrup, Molecular Cloud with vodka, mandarin and almond liquor, Metaxa Passion with grape juice and jasmine tea, and all time classics gin tonics in many original variations.

Recommended for Bars because: A breathtaking view from the rooftop, fashionable and stylish

Nelly's expert tip: Galaxy Bar and Restaurant is an all time classic Athenian favorite

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Meet Nelly Paraskevopoulou

Born and bred in Athens, Nelly went on the move after finishing high school and spending some years working in textiles.  For her, Italy was the next chapter. But, after 12 years, it was back...  More About Nelly