World's Best Bar Crawls

by Darrell Hartman


What's on tap: A nightlife tradition where dancing on the tables is encouraged

Why it's worth a shot: Athenians love their nightclubs, but the traditional music venues known as bouzoukia are where they really let their hair down. The cramped, smoky venues of yore have evolved into posh cabarets where Greece's biggest pop stars perform, but some customs die hard: By the end of the show, most of the audience members are dancing on their chairs or onstage.

Booze route: Warm up with some afternoon rebetika (blues with origins in Asia Minor) at Stoa Athanaton, a bouzoukia in the Central Market. See the early show so you can avoid the crowds, then take a short walk south to the rejuvenated bar district of Psirri, which is packed with spots for mezes (appetizers) and drinks. For the night's main event, book a table with bottle service at Rex (pictured) or Romeo, two of the big-time bouzoukia. Look sharp, and don't worry about showing up until around midnight. Then let the mix of jangly ballads, dance music, and booze cast its spell. Once upon a time, the audience would have shown its appreciation for good music by hurling plates on the floor. These days, you're expected to buy carnations and throw them onstage.

Hangover cure: Hit up a gyro joint or (the more fashionable option) a crêpe stand before stumbling back to your hotel.

Stoa Athanaton
Tel: 30 210 321 4362

Tel: 30 210 381 4591

Tel: 30 210 894 5345

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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.



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