Pity us. Keeping up with Athens’ electric bar scene - where new urban hangouts literally pop up overnight - is almost a full-time gig. But we really wouldn’t have it any other way. If further proof is needed that the Greek capital is designed for barflies, here’s just three of the latest arrivals causing a stir downtown - including the summer sensation that’s poised to become the city’s first nomadic cocktail bar. Exploring Athens is thirsty work (don’t say we didn’t warn you).
The Beer Bar - Blame the Sun
One of the most fun spots in the city right now, Blame the Sun is a chilled space in bar-lined Koukaki with a jaunty aesthetic (think beers stored in bird cages) – and a few surprises up its tattooed sleeve. Inspired by the west coast philosophy (beach life & punk rock vibes), this pioneering taproom is the venture of three friends (a food scientist, a brewer and an exceptionally experienced bartender) who have taken Athenians by storm with their tropical beers. There’s Beach Bum, with exotic fruit, ginger, lime; and Puppenhouse, a hells lager (traditional German pale lager) with intense cereal aroma and lemongrass aftertaste. Sample draft beers on the spot or ask for the live canning (they make a great souvenir, as does the cool merch). If you are beer-curious, reserve the coveted couch in the back for a tasting session with the masters. After something harder? Investigate their beer-based cocktails.
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The Cocktail Bar - The bar in front of the bar
This chameleon-like bar in a pedestrianised lane below Syntagma Square is as unpredictable as Athens. The cocktails change daily. Even the location is up for grabs. The bar in front of the bar started life this summer as a pavement pop-up with a few stools on Petraki street. Despite its runaway success, the plan is to move on when the regular bar-in-the-making behind it is ready to open. After working for years in London in various drinking dens, the founders Alex and Konstantinos, along with partner Simeon, wanted to create something wholly unexpected: a cocktail bar that switches up its menu daily. Everything (from gins to bitters; juices and jams) is made from scratch by the trio themselves in their backstage lab. Choose from six idiosyncratic cocktails per day, created with a zero waste ethos (your Americano might contain left-over espresso machine coffee). They also wheel out two classics to remind younger drinkers – and themselves - of forgotten gems like Pina Coladas. Head down (before they up sticks) to soak up the groovy pavement scene while you read their catchy LED quotes borrowed from bars around the world. Like this one: “People like you should drink with people like us.” Quite. Track it down
The Wine Bar - Manouka
You had us at the view. This earthy and relaxed wine bar on the roof of the new Athens Utopia hotel flaunts an almost 360 uninterrupted panorama of the Athenian urban landscape from its mega-terrace. So you can tick off major landmarks while you imbibe: the Acropolis, Lycabettus Hill, the National Observatory and Parliament Building. And the wine? Head sommelier and manager Vassilis has amassed 100+1 selections that represent the finest Greek drops, displaying his deep love for local viniculture. Every single one can be enjoyed by the glass, so try as many as you dare for a broader exposure to Hellenic wines (Vassilis can hook you up with your perfect match). Manouka delivers well on food too with a Mediterranean menu that’s a notch above most wine bar fare. Track it down