Two types of places exist in the world: ones we visit when there is an event that we are interested in, and the ones that are always there, just being cool, ready to tend to us. An inveterate traveler will surely find “what’s hot tonight” – via FB, posters or whatever – but, what about these other places, when we find ourselves outside our turf, notably in a big city? The apps that rank the places can be misleading and are usually incredibly dull, especially compared to real human experiences and recommendations – written or told.
In one of our previous texts, we tried to share the impressions; here, we are going to introduce you to some of the coolest places hidden in Athens.
Souvlaki Elvis - Plateon 29, Metaxourgio
Tender, crispy and juicy, Elvis is the King of Souvlaki. One kalamaki – traditional Greek pork or chicken skewers – comes along with fried potatoes, rustic bread and lemon for just 1.70 euro. Exactly what you need, after a hardcore nightout in this hip area of Athens.
Feyrouz - Agathonos 2, Psyri
Exotic, spicy and arousing, Feyrouz is the Eastern Princess of Lahmajoun. With beef, smoked bamboo, yoghurt and salad, or with a bold mixture of vegetables, herbs, spices and hummus, you will be hosted like a sultan, and this princess asks for just around 3 euros.
San Francisco - Keramikou 99, Metaxourgio
Experimental, queer and delicious, this boy reinvents what we imagine waiting between the two pieces of bread. From sliced turkey with grilled mushrooms, peppers and Cappadocian salad, to avocado with baked feta, honey and mustard, sandwiches go around 4-7 euros and guarantee a full price’s worth.
Vromiko – Dim. Soutsou 3, Mavili
Greasy, sticky and blood-clotting, this dirty old bastard has been the cause of many tears flowing about pimples. Imagine a pastry – irrelevant which type – and fill it with everything: ham, cheese, potatoes, mayo, ketchup, tzatziki, sausage, whatever, for 3 to 4.5 euros; if you are there, you are probably drunk. No wonder Greeks are so fa… such fantastic cooks.
Avli - Agiou Dimitriou 12, Psyri
Smoky, white-blue and plaid, the hairy Greek chef has nothing but a small yard, yet what a crowded tasty world he has built. Meat balls, fried cheese and other heavily fried beauties, as well as house wine, beers and tsipouro come very cheap, if you are lucky enough to find the door… not to mention a table.
Sintrimi - Amfiktyonos 33, Thissio
Sundry, ample and dainty, it presents itself a ruin; witty deception by someone huddled in a picturesque atrium of a very old Athenian house. Giant beans, smoked pork, grilled porcini, carob bread and other specialties will keep the wine lakes in bed for an unmatched price.
Laini – Artemisiou 40, Mataxourgeio
Tart, frisky and brittle, the Cretan “pappous” carefully hovers over the corner bringing local raki – a strong alcoholic grape shot – followed with dry barley bread crust garnished with tomatoes, feta, capers and olive oil; pickled artichokes; snails in vinegar, rosemary and olive oil, fennel pie and many more specialties from the mythical island.
Syggrouomeno - Falirou 57, Koukaki
Dedicated, abundant and dandy, the Contributor is good on itself. Hidden on the southern side of Acropolis, an exhilarating choice of mezedes is sure to impress. Don’t miss the vinegar pickled small-fish in olive oil and spices.
Kouklaki - Papanikoli 88, Chalandri
Kinky, fit and lustful, this young man is ladies’ favorite servant. When in mood to swallow some gourmet genitals or lick sweet icy you know what, there is hardly a better place. Waiters are all handsome men that will make lascivious jokes, so there are reasons for both sexes not to bring their other half.
Little Kook – Karaiskaki 17, Psyri
Mystical, powdery and enchanting, the ever-transforming wizard holds some of the sweetest secrets in downtown. His specialty are sweet delights, but dwelling in his castle doesn’t come at a low price.
Black sheep – Arrianou 31, Pangrati
Gentle, raw and seasoned, the self-proclaimed reject attracts food lovers of all sorts and no one seems to write him off anytime soon. Breathtaking meat creations, inventive salads and melting sweets, along with modernist décor and a cool line of tables on the sidewalk guarantee it a long and wooly life.
Fill the Glass
Au revoir - 28is Oktovriou 136, Patissio
Old, groomed and heavy, the cult Athenian boozehound will take you somewhere back in time and into a place that is a definition of a bar. Packed until the last square tile, it offers coziness, not comfort. One of the rare places in Greece that make you want to shoot up a whiskey.
Anglais - Kirikiou 6, Monastiraki
Smiley, candid and sunny, the roof top gardener will tend to you with cocktails and an unforgettable view of the Acropolis. Don’t bring any palm trees, there’s plenty, but do pack up the sunglasses and the sunscreen, if you tend to burn.
Booze cooperativa - Kolokotroni 57, Monastiraki
Dark, tribal and woozy, the Artist far outreaches an ordinary sit and drink kind of experience; instead, he takes you through places and spaces, galleries and stages. Groovy staff, great ambient and all kinds of artistic events make it one of the most revered places in town.
Seven Jokers - Voulis 7, Syntagma
Checkered, colonial and empurpled, the Caribbean enticer rolls the dice with every mixed creation. One would be amazed how far he is ready to go if you just ask him, with a good reason. Whatever they might conjure, it will probably seem like drinking from the interior itself.
Cabezon - Keramikou 110, Metaxourgio
Tucked, relaxed and jazzy, this Fish is a favorite pick of local cinema circles, and a good point for those in search of creative work in Athens. Maybe not the best choice for food, but still one of the coolest city retreats for drinks in this area.
Black duck – Ioannou Paparrigopoulou 7, Syntagma
Ancient, secluded and idyllic, the old Athenian lady offers a bird’s chant instead of a roaring boulevard. Natural juice and freddo espresso work just fine in this oasis, although the food is lovely, and sweets even better. Funny how we all look clumsy in our jeans, walking through this garden where the sun recklessly breaks through leaves and bounces off the plaster busts.
Noel - Kolokotroni 59B, Psyri
Marry, cheerful and jingling, Santa Claus owns this place… just in case we are feeling like having Christmas on a random day. Guess the Christians didn’t manage to take all the fun out of it after all.
Bios - Pireos 84, Metaxourgio
Electric, urban and narrative, this form of life hunts and gathers at night. While the moving pictures tremble on a rising brick wall, Acropolis looms over the hedonist souls drinking at this blessed terrace.
Up all night...
Teddy boy - Taki 18, Psyri
Deviant, pale and heretical, he walks the slow step of post-punk, yet people catch up to him slowly. He stays awake long and loves to drink, never chasing his companions away before they are done.
Cantina Social - Leokoriou 8, Monastiraki
Simple, effective and irresistible, like a legendary underground musician, it doesn’t need billboards and invitations – everybody knows where to come. Various genres can be heard echoing out of this concealed atrium, along with a constant film projection on its urban wall; so sharpen your senses and sniff it out.
...and half of day
Off the chain - Zoodochou Pigis 25, Exarcheia
Hellbound, kicking and screaming, this wild child rings a church bell over a fuckin’ breakdown. Please, forgive me, there is still a part of me that is a headbanging, tongue-and-horns-showing metalhead.
Rebound - Mithimnis 43, Patissio
Deep, dark and under, the strange beast lives to feed on restless souls tirelessly looking for another misty thrill. You’re either bound or rebound.
Loras - Dim. Soutsou 7, Mavili
Random, surprising and saving, Vromiko’s best friend is there to hear your final words before execution. As the song says, “you can check out any time you like”…
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