A Local’s Guide to Athens Nightlife is part of a series collaboration with Spotted by Locals Athens

Travellers, visitors and locals agree: one of the most attractive aspects of Athens is its vibrant nightlife. First-time visitors often find it surprising that, for a country that’s seen better days in financial terms, there’s just as much life on the streets at night in the Greek capital as there is during the day. People are looking for little excuse to roam, go out for a drink and socialise, and if in dire financial straits, will give up many other things before limiting their evening excursions. The particularly forgiving Athenian climate, increasingly so in the colder seasons, makes it an even more attractive proposition.

Interestingly, the historic centre of the city is surrounded by and included in the areas the locals frequent at night, which might make finding the perfect place(s) to visit a bit tricky. That said, here are some suggestions to experience the city’s multifaceted nightlife in the centre of Athens like a local, right next to the sights one would be likely to visit during the day.

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Krikos Bar

This co-op cafe-bar just south of Philopappou Hill and bordering popular Koukaki is the perfect all-day chill-out spot. The lighting and decoration are to the point, and in the evening Krikos becomes a great place for early drinks with friends or to start the night with tsipouro or local beer.

Local's Guide to Athens Nightlife

Areios Pagos

Offering “fabulous Acropolis views”, Areios Pagos used to be the Supreme Court in Ancient Athens. Today, the rocky lookout point is the perfect spot for botellon (consuming beer, wine or other kinds of alcohol obtained at a kiosk, supermarket or alcohol shop while sitting in a park or other public area), especially on those clear, warmer autumn and winter nights. Greece’s lax attitude towards public alcohol consumption makes this and many other spots around the city ideal for a drink – and a cheap one at that. The breath-taking views over the sea of lights and apartment buildings are just the icing on the cake of this local favourite.

Local's Guide to Athens Nightlife

Tiki Bar

If you’re not familiar with the Tiki concept, it has a lot to do with ‘50s-’60s Polynesian decoration, exotic jungle motifs and (strong!) drinks served in statuettes and figurines. On top of that, the Athens Tiki Bar is a self-proclaimed “lounge punk” venue, known for its live music nights that support local, up-coming artists. Don’t miss the unique handmade chili syrup cocktails.

Local's Guide to Athens Nightlife

Brettos Bar

Brettos year-round Christmas tree-like bar and the fact that it was once the oldest distillery in the city’s modern history is almost all you need to know about this bar. Deceptively located in one of the central pedestrian streets in ultra-touristic Plaka, the sheer variety of ingredients they use to make alcohol coupled with the delightfully mixed clientele are the highlights of this must-visit Athens nightlife venue.

Local's Guide to Athens Nightlife

Cantina Social

In Athens, some bars are just opening their doors when those in other cities are closing for the night. Despite its popularity among locals, Cantina Social is still considered the quintessential underground spot in Athens. Perhaps due to its growth through word-of-mouth or because it hasn’t strayed from its unpretentious beginnings. In any case, the simple yet strong decoration, the outdoor bar caught between high-rise buildings and the offering of cheap Russian beer leave no doubt where this spot’s heart lies.

Local's Guide to Athens Nightlife

six d.o.g.s.

six d.o.g.s. is one of Athens’ most well-frequented multi-use complexes. As well as a gig space where there’s something going on almost every night across a wide spectrum of energy levels, there’s also the chill backyard area and even space out front, where many locals gather for a drink on the side street that’s devoid of cars at night.

A Local’s Guide to Athens Nightlife photos by Nico TrinkhausKrikos BarPanoramioBovary, Brettos Bar, Spike Art Magazine and six d.o.g.s.

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Dimitris Hall

Dimitris Hall

Dimitris Hall is the editor of Spotted by Locals, city guides featuring insider tips by locals in nearly 70 cities around the world. Half-Greek, half-Australian and an Athens insider ("Spotter") himself, he enjoys writing about local travel, sustainability and where culture, nature and technology meet.

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