In Athens the line between cafe and bar is blurry. Most places segue from coffee to drinks, and maybe music and a DJ, at night. There is almost always food – although places that serve only drinks are more common in the economic crisis (in which case, you can bring your own snacks). The smoking ban is often ignored.
In summer, much of the city’s serious nightlife moves to glamorous, enormous seafront clubs radiating out from Glyfada. Many sit on the tram route, which runs to 2.30am on Friday and Saturday. If you book for dinner you don’t pay cover; otherwise admission ranges from €10 to €20 and includes one drink. Glam up to get in.
Top Nightlife Tips
- Bars begin filling after 11pm and uually stay open till 2am, or 4am on weekends.
- Transit stops or slows after midnight, but cabs are very cheap.
- Athenians drink plenty, but public drunkenness is rare and looked down on. If you're visibly intoxicated, you're a clear target for pickpockets or worse.
- Gazi and Kolonaki tend toward slick and bigger-budget clubs. For cheaper drinks and live music, head for Keramikos or Exarhia. Monastiraki and north of Syntagma are the best central areas for more interesting bars.
- For the best dancing in summer, cab or tram it to beach clubs along the coast near Glyfada – city locations close earlier.
Athens has some of Europe’s most expensive coffee (between €3 and €5 in popular neighbourhoods) – think of it more as the price of feeling entitled to sit for hours, as locals do. On the other hand, alcoholic drinks are relatively cheap, with beer and wine for €3 in many places. You can spend more on cocktails (€10 or so), but you'll want to, as Athens bartenders are gaining global attention for their creativity and devotion to craft.