A guide by Gina Lionatos
It’s 11pm on a Thursday night in Athens. The central square is buzzing with chatter, as children run around and play in front of the local church of Agios Nikolaos. While families and large groups enjoy dinner at one of the many restaurants in the area, the local bars are spilling over with revellers who show no signs of heading home anytime soon. You could be forgiven for thinking you’re in downtown Athens, but this bustling hub of activity is 20 minutes out of the city, in the northern suburb of Halandri.
Just under 10km from the city, and accessible by the Blue Metro line, Halandri (or Chalandri) has always been an important area for locals and nearby office workers, however in recent years has blossomed with new eateries, bars and places to visit that now make it a popular destination for visitors from all over Athens (and the world).
Where to eat.
Before we look at the endless modern eateries and bars in Halandri, let’s take a step back in time. Tradition abounds at the homely and charming Bakalotaverna, where dishes like village sausage with feta, Kalamata olives, and sun-dried tomatoes can be enjoyed al fresco on the roof or courtyard. If hearty comfort food is what you’re after, get lost in the tempting menu and feel-good tunes at Penny Lane Comfort Food. For the self-confessed burger addicts out there, no trip to Halandri is complete without a cheeky stop at Butchers Burger and Steakhouse for prime cuts of meat and bad-ass burgers, day or night. At the end of your eating expedition, cap it all off at the famed Solo Gelato, where locals have been enjoying artisan gelato (including vegan and sugar-free recipes) since the 1950s.
Bakalotaverna | +30 21 3025 8011 | Thoukididou 10, Chalandri
Penny Lane Comfort Food | +30 21 0680 0217| Thoukididou 10, Chalandri
Butchers Burger and Steakhouse | +30 21 0689 0500| Agias Paraskevis 17, Chalandri
Solo Gelato | +30 21 0681 3622| Leoforos Papandreou Andrea 44, Chalandri
Where to drink.
Halandri’s answer to the world-class cocktail bars found downtown is the ever-popular Theory Bar & More. Theory’s list of refined and well-made cocktails (and solid spirit selection) is complemented by a great bar food menu and fairy-lit courtyard that doesn’t seem to stop from morning until night. Nearby, Mr Peacock is a colourful all-day bar/restaurant famed for their cocktails and…pancakes! For more fun vibes, head to Big Mouth and vie for a coveted spot on their rooftop, followed by pizza and cocktails in a lively setting at 30 Something.
Theory Bar & More | +30 21 0680 1633| Platonos 14, Chalandri
Mr Peacock | +30 21 0680 0390| Katsoulieri 7, Chalandri
Big Mouth | +30 21 0681 5505| Gyftopoulou 8, Chalandri
30 Something | +30 21 0689 9227| 8 Iroon Politechniou, Chalandri Square
Cocktails aside, there’s something for everyone in Halandri. Beer lovers all flock to The Local Pub to get schooled on small-batch American, English and Greek beers in a friendly, laid-back setting. The combination of coffee, baked goods, and live performances is an unexpected one, but it makes Kokkini Svoura a favourite with the locals. If you’re looking to hit your daily vitamin quota, To Bazaki has you covered with certified organic cold-pressed juices and tailor-made juice cleanses.
The Local Pub | +30 694 086 4443| Chaimanta 25, Chalandri
Kokkini Svoura | +30 21 1012 5454| Agiou Georgiou 17, Chalandri
Nomad | +30 21 0685 1051| Thoukididou 3, Chalandri
To Bazaki | +30 21 0680 0067| Aristotelous 33, Chalandri
Where to play.
Fresh air and greenery aren’t often associated with Athens, but nearby Mount Penteli makes for a picturesque afternoon of trekking (be sure to check out Penteli waterfall and the view of Athens from the Observatory). If shopping is your idea of cardio, walk your way through Halandri’s streets lined with retail franchises like Oysho and independent boutiques like Anthologia Humana.
Escape rooms have become a favourite past time for young Athenians, and Halandri’s own Mindtrap Escape Room is among the top escape rooms in Athens. For a slightly less nerve-wracking experience, enjoy a film under the stars at the unique Cine Athina Piscines Ideales.
Mindtrap Escape Room |+30 21 0689 9245| Kosta Varnali 10, Chalandri
Cine Athina Piscines Ideales | +30 21 0685 5860| Solomou 18, Chalandri