From morning to night, and from the darkest drinking holes to the sparkliest cafes, chilly and contemporary Athens is a great place to see in the New Year
The television is on at full blast, as we listen to – and vociferously echoe – the countdown to the New Year. Grandmothers, uncles, cousins and friends are all gathered together cozily for a family dinner that will perhaps be followed by a game of cards. Kisses and hugs are exchanged, with glowing wishes for a new beginning, as the words “Kali Hronia” resound around the house. But that’s only the beginning. Next there are congested roads to drive along as we head out to loud clubs with celebrity DJs, glittering trendy bars and house parties, and in the morning, some great brunch cafes to start the new year.
On New Year’s Eve →
Crowds gather for the countdown at Syntagma Square, right now (somewhat surreally) bedecked with its very own ferris wheel, compliments of the City of Athens. Romantics may grab a bottle of bubbly and drive up to Lycabettus Hill, from where the panoramic views of the lit up metropolis are spectacular, but for more refined options one can sip a cocktail with a view while listening to DJ Alexandros Christopoulos at the Hilton Hotel’s Galaxy Bar or reserve a table for New Years dinner at a scenic restaurants like Le Grand Balcon at St George Lycabettus Hotel, the Winter Garden Lounge at the Grande Bretagne or the new, which after its festive feast will be hosting a dance party at its Above Rooftop Bar Restaurant.
The club and bar party options are endless. This year Romantso (a multi-space) will host a Giant NYE Party with two stages, Wild Club near the Hilton is hosting a groovy house party, Gazi Music Hall is bringing in the year with laser, glam, dancers and special effects and Six D.o.g.s will star a stream of DJs on therir decks. If clubbing isn’t your thing, have an awesome cocktail created by award-winning mixologists and served in beautifully designed interiors at Noel (where it’s Christmas all year round), The Clumsies, 42 bar or The Gin Joint, or discover the action on plugged-in Ypitou St or classic party zone Mavili Square. It’s guaranteed that Gazi, Monastiraki, Exarcheia, Petralona and Psyrri will all be partying hard into the early hours.
The Day After →
If you are still at The Clumsies at daybreak you might as well order breakfast as they are known for their excellent breakfast/brunch menu too, but there are also numerous other options. One of the old, greasy traditions was Papandreou in the Athinas Meat Market, where dishes like Patsa never failed to rescue one from a dire hangover, but millennials prefer cleaner options like It in Kolonaki, Barreldier in Syntagma, Bel Ray in Koukaki and Kyrios Xou (as in Mister Who) for its bacon Bloody Mary in Petralona.
Back to Life, 2017 →
With the holidays over, it’s now time to start the new year by discovering some of the newest things in Athens. Some of the top things to do in Athens to kick off 2017:
Learn the olive-oil-inspired Potato Test →
After all that bar-hopping, why not start 2017 in the “Big Olive” by going to the city’s first ever olive oil bar? Yoleni’s bio store and restaurant have created an olive oil tasting bar in cooperation with Gaia products on the third floor of their flagship store, and are running tastings and seminars there Tuesday-Sunday.
Visit the brand new Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Centre→
That stands magestically over the sea. January is a month for children to sail, paint, dance, act and learn at the SNF and for adults to try out Tango, Swing and memory enhancibng classes, brush up on gardening skills and hear talks.
Sip an elaborate hot chocolate in one of Athens’ fairytale-themed cafes →
Cap Cap changes appearance by the season, convinces you that you are living in a colourful animation and serves giant cupcakes, Fairytale, decorated entirely in honour of its name has cakes with names like Wicked Stepmother and Rabbit Hole and Little Kook, which has cueues outside iuts door before it opens on any weekday morning and is currently expanding next door, immerses one entirely into any childhood fantasy dessert devotee’s gnarly fairytale paradise.
Time travel 5000 back at the Cycladic Art Museum →
Thanks to an important collection of 98 artefacts from across Greece, we can now peek into the everyday lives, customs, beliefs, rituals, handicrafts, jobs, politics, history and medicine of Cycladic society 5000 years ago. Parallel to this one can also see an exhibition of American photographer Robert McCabe’s mid 1950’s evocative portraits of islander’s lives in a time of innocence and ancient sights near the Aegean sea when they still lay as untouched as the 19th Century traveller’s accounts described them.