Long gone are the days when I had to travel to London or Berlin for an exquisite cocktail made by a real mixologist (as opposed to alcohol being slugged into a glass with ice, topped with something fizzy and served up)
Crisis or no crisis, Athens has evolved into a world-class, sophisticated destination for dining and drinking, and some of its cocktail bars have been awarded among the finest on the planet. Greeks will never lose their extrovert drive to head out to a buzzy bar with friends on any day of the week, but now they are doing so at these very classy joints.
An all-day hangout with a varied and elegant menu, and cocktails served from 3pm until the early hours, The Clumsies was created in 2014 by barman Vasilis Kyritsis (awarded in 2012 as World Class Greek Champion for his mixology skills) and a team of his colleagues. A year later the multi-level venue, which even has a private room where clients can order bespoke drinks, was awarded among the world’s 50 best bars. Highly popular, bang in the centre of town and attracting people of all styles and ages, The Clumsies is decidedly unpretentious. Kyritsis has said: “One of the reasons we named the bar The Clumsies is that I have always had a touch of clumsiness… Clumsies means something more comfortable for our guests. It makes you feel more comfortable again. Nobody likes perfect people.” Cocktails are awesomely unique, progressive and unfortgettable.
A. 30 Praxitelous
Tel. (+30) 210 3232682
Embrace the Arthur Dent persona in you as you enter the dimly-lit, elegant venue with a long red bar, jazz soundtrack, studded red leather stools. There is no cigarette smoke in the air – although there may be nitrogen smoke rising from your cocktail – as the highly creative and zany menu, which changes every season, includes drinks with names such as Zombie and Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster inspired by the Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Universe. 42 creates its own syrups and infusions, while also serving drinks with four different types of ice.
A. 3 Kolokotroni, Syntagma
Tel. (+30) 213 0052153
Baba Au Rum
Cozy, retro-hip and chilled out, rum-loving Baba Au Rum in Monastiraki is often described as being at a friend’s house (a friend who happens to be an incredible mixologist with an inconceivable pantry, that is). Like The Clumsies it has been voted one of the world’s 50 best bars, and trying any of its refined cocktails will immediately reveal why; unsurprisingly, the bar makes its own liquers, syrups and infusions and uses fresh, seasonal ingredients such as organic local herbs and spices. The menu has categories like Avant Garde, Rum Society, Rum & Chocolate and even H20 with homemade artisanal sparkling water flavoured with rose, lemon, ginger or masticha and drinks are made using cutting edge techniques and old fashioned philosophies both.
A. 6 Kleitiou
Tel. (+30) 211 7109140
An arcade where it’s the season to be jolly all year round, or where you might feel like you’re in a mall at Christmas time, all the time, depending on how much you enjoy having giant candy canes dangling over your head, Noel has become one of Athens’ most “in” venues more due to its ambiance, epicurean Mediterranean food and crowd than its sophisticated drinks menu. Saying that, the drinks are pretty good, and there are 21 one of them to choose from, all of them inspired by Mediterranean ingredients and flavours. The “Etage” first floor area is used for hosting cultural events and performances while the outside dining area is always full.
A. 59B Kolokotroni, Kourtaki Arcade
Tel. (+30) 210 324 0944
The motto is: ‘In short we do gin. It’s our thing’ and with over 90 gin labels to choose from, we believe them. Multi-awarded (FNL Best High End Bars 2015, FNL Best Spirits List Greece 2015) Gin Joint is seriously glamorous, and yet its complex, sophisticated menu (with cocktail names like Hanky Monkey and No Strings Attached) full of humourous twists and turns. Its cozy, vintage charm, accentuated by a a sparkling bar and a painting of Humphrey Bogart, make it a great hangout for escaping into a luxurious gin haze.
A. 1 Christou Lada, Karytsi Square
Tel. (+30) 210.321.8646]