With high temperatures, even the iciest cocktail can get to your head, so a chilled glass of wine can be the perfect alternative. By today, Greece nationally produces over 3,000 wine labels, and Athenians have embraced the drink of choice of their ancient ancestors to the fullest. As a result, it’s now easy to find sophisticated, hip and elegant bars in the heart of the capital where you can taste a wide variety of top quality Greek – and definitely not only – wines, often with reliable guidance from well-educated, passionate and inspiring owners and staff.
Cinque Wine Bar & Deli
Agatharchou 15, Psyrri
Relish in the familial vibe at this dinky, discreetly elegant and jovial hangout with hot pink walls, located on a Psyrri side-street. With not more than 30 seats inside and out, coziness is the name of the game at this charming spot. Highly esteemed by wine connoisseurs and amateurs alike, Cinque especially draws wine lovers who are keen to sample the lesser known, more interesting labels that have been passionately sought out and tested by the expert owners. Cold cuts, chutneys, cheese platters and freshly made sandwiches make for a gratifying accompaniment to your choice of wine, while the owners are always keen and available to recommend the perfect pairing.
By The Glass
Filellinon and Georgiou Souri 3, Syntagma
High-profile and refined, this bistro-wine bar uses the Coravin system, which allows you to drink wines sourced from a bottle without the cork having to be removed; this means you can try more pricey or vintage wines by the glass that you would perhaps not be able to afford or want to have by the bottle. Very central, it is set in the attractive Rallis arcade facing the Russian Orthodox church and has a sophisticated air that makes it ideal for a business meeting or a glamorous get-up. You can choose among 250 Greek and global wine labels (50 of which can be served via the Coravin system) and pair your choice with a satisfying selection of stylish Mediterranean finger foods, appetizers or main courses.
Vintage Wine Bar
Mitropoleos 66-68, Syntagma
Another wine bar that uses the Coravin retrieval process, Vintage is impressive both outside, with its upmarket-New York-style grey marble facade and glossy black doorway and window frames, and within, with its simple, modern and stylish decor and low lighting that calls you to hide out and indulge any time of the day. Serving a choice of over 300 wine labels from Greece and abroad, this place has also made its mark for its exquisite dishes, such as a sandwich with crispy bacon and salted chocolate sauce, tantalising Tapas dishes, delicate seafood plates like lobster sliders and ceviche and many more including Korean tacos and parmesan fries that can also be ordered in threes or sixes at a set price.
Fokionos 2 & Petraki 30, Monastiraki
This is the kind of sidewalk wine bar where you’re likely to see someone sipping wine while writing – or perhaps simply reading – their novel during the early afternoon, a bunch of giggling girlfriends catching up over a good bottle at sundown and other relaxed back wine-lovers sitting late into the night over wine while watching the world go by in this laid-back pocket of busy Monastiraki. Known for its quite original wine list as well as for housing a good supply of all the favourite classics from Greece and abroad, it renews its wine list at the start of each month, which makes it even more charming to revisit. Pair your wine with cold cuts, a cheese platter, home-baked quiche, and pies.
Athanasiou Diakou & Porinou 2, Makriyianni
Just around the corner from the Acropolis Museum and its small tables with high stools are always taken because of its high-quality service and intelligent concept. Winepoint introduces customers to a different Greek winery and its products each month, featuring top-notch wines from different regions, accompanied by an informational pamphlet introducing the winery, the region it’s in and its history and culture – why not learn something new as you sip? There is also a standard wine list featuring over 200 labels to pick from and a few options for light dishes like a cheese platter to accompany your glass or bottle of choice. The bar also hosts occasional live music events that get the place buzzing.
Anastasiou Zinni 36, Koukaki
Created to be a hangout rather than yet another wine bar, Bobo is located in one of the centre’s most “in” areas – Koukaki, a neighbourhood that looks like nothing special on the surface but with a little searching is filled with hidden gems like this place. With a decor inspired by both urban industrialism and charming 60s vintage (very much along the theme of Koukaki itself), this bar- bistro serves over 180 wine labels from Greece as well as – quite uniquely – cocktails made with Greek wines. The food menu is sophisticated and made with what they describe as ‘pure’ products. You’ll find various types of ceviche, roast beef with truffle sauce and homemade mayo, stuffed figs with caramelized onion and creamy goat cheese and bruschetta with Greek cheeses. Honouring the Hellenic element is important to the owners, who want to showcase the best of Greece’s wine and food products in a stylish setting.