Athens doesn’t do quiet. Whether you’re looking for authentic Greek music, classic rock tunes, or something a little more alternative, these places pump with live music all week long.
By Paul Pervanas
Gone are the days when flutes and lyres were the soundtrack to everyday life in ancient Athens. These days, Athenians still enjoy live music, whether it’s in ancient theatres like the Odeon of Herodes Atticus or their contemporary counterparts like The Athens Concert Hall and the Greek National Opera. There are plenty of intimate bars and thumping clubs where you can catch live bands in Athens too. Scroll on for some of our favourite venues.
A bar, a café, a garden, a concert venue, an exhibition space—and soon a restaurant—are all rolled under six d.o.g.s' roof. The Gig Space is where the music magic happens with DJ sets and live performances by homegrown and international acts, mostly from the electronic and indie music scene.
Six d.o.g.s has everything you could want under one roof.
Courtesy: six d.o.g.s
A crowd outside of Romantso.
Formerly the printing facility of a pulp magazine, this industrial building is now a hangout for Athenian hipsters and creatives. By day, they drink endless cups of coffee hunched over the laptops. As night falls, the space morphs into a platform for performances, DJ sets, and noisy gigs by up-and-coming acts.
An ideal club for small and mid-sized gigs. Temple is religiously loved by Athenian rockers for its great—and loud—sound system, affordable prices and anything goes vibe. The club's stage hosts metal, dakrwave, punk and rock acts but is also home to powerful techno, drum and bass and IDM DJ sets by local and international artists.
This popular concert space at Liossion Avenue is one of the leading ones in Athens. To its core, Gagarin's soul is rock, but its bookings vary from contemporary UK jazz, oldschool US hip-hop, darkwave, psychedelic as well as local rock and rap acts.
Come here to catch up and coming bands before they hit the big time. These guys have a knack for booking emerging talent across all kinds of musical genres, from metal to electro pop. The club's solid sound and light system are a bonus.
You could catch the next big band (before they're big) at Fuzz.
St. Paul’s Anglican Church
Right in the centre of Athens, just a five minute walk from Syntagma Square lies St. Paul’s Anglican Church. It has been there since 1843 providing a safe space where international families can practice their faith. Since 2016 it has also been the home of St. Paul’s Sessions, an unorthodox—pun intended—platform of live events that showcases a flawless curation of some of the most visionary and innovative musicians of the ambient, electronic and post-classical genres.
Athens' live music scene has something for everyone.
Photo: Pinelopi Gerasimou
Athens' oldest rock joint is, naturally, located in the edgy Exarchia neighbourhood. Hard rock and metal bands have ravaged their guitars here for over 30 years, as well as any act with an attitude audacious enough to take on this historic venue.
Bourbon is a great option for live music by the sea.
One of the hottest nightlife spots in the southern, seaside suburbs of Athens. Bourbon not only takes its spirits seriously, but its music as well. The bands performing here are mostly local and the gigs range from rock, to rock'n'roll, blues and funk.
“This legendary club is where Athenians first heard the sounds of Jimi Hendrix, Frank Zappa and The Velvet Underground.”
Kyttaro is almost half a century old. This legendary club is where Athenians first heard the sounds of Jimi Hendrix, Frank Zappa and The Velvet Underground. Since then, Kyttaro has become the mecca of Greek rock. But you’ll catch the occasional band playing rebetika (the Greek blues) here, too.
Underflow is a live music venue, record store and gallery, all in one place.
Courtesy: Tassos Vretos
Underflow Record Store & Art Gallery
This atmospheric record store and gallery hosts live music most Friday nights, from gypsy jazz to Bengali folk music and everything in between. Marble floors and high ceilings, an incredible selection of avant-garde jazz, world and electronic vinyl, a laid-back bar and an acoustically-treated basement for live gigs—there is no place like it in Athens.
Don't be fooled by the picturesque Greek island exterior. Inside, Afrikana is painted black, much like the musical culture it supports with live performances by local and foreign bands every night. Known for its friendly atmosphere, quality drinks and smoke-free environment, Afrikana is a must-visit for jazz, soul, and funk aficionados.
“As to finding the place, we won't give away the secret.”
The Speakeasy Athens
Kind of an oxymoron to be registered on Google maps with a name like Speakeasy, but that doesn't make it any easier to find this hidden bar in the heart of Athens. Straight out of the prohibition era, Speakeasy offers strong cocktails served with loud, live jazz, funk, gospel, blues, and soul (and clouds of cigarette smoke). As to finding the place, we won't give away the secret; it's best you contact them on Facebook.
Live music venues in Athens are bound to get crowded.
Photo: Pinelopi Gerasimou
The Bar at Didotou Live Stage
Entekno is to Greek music what fado is to Portuguese music: lyrical acoustic songs (usually played on the guitar, piano, and wind instruments), with a melancholy strain and lyrics often inspired by Greek poets. This cosy venue is one of the oldest live music bars in Athens and a great place to discover the genre.
Come check out a show on any of Stavros tou Notou's three stages.
Courtesy: Stavros tou Notou
Stavros tou Notou
Originally established in 1995, this legendary live Greek music venue has evolved to encompass three stages. The Central Stage mainly hosts with live shows by well-known entekno (lyrical Greek folk) artists, while The Club and + (Plus) focus on pop and ethnic music.
One of the best live stages in Athens, Gazarte provides a platform for musical and theatrical performances by Greek and international artists. There are three stages, including one on the roof with stunning city and Parthenon views.
Also known as Megaron, the Athens Concert Hall stages operas, classical music, theatre, and dance performances throughout the year. And there’s live music in the lovely secret garden in the summer months.
This cabaret-like space is housed in a three-storey listed building. Red velvet drapes, baroque furniture and ornate chandeliers are the first things that catch your eye. Potent cocktails are served at the bar, while the live stage and the theatre stage on the second floor are occupied by singers, actors, and DJs almost every night.