The Ultimate Guide to Nightlife in Athens

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Athens is notorious for having an uproarious nightlife scene with countless music venues, bars, and drinking joints opening their doors at sundown and not letting any steam out until the very first hours of the morning.

The kind of entertainment you can expect to find when exploring Athens by night largely depends upon what area you choose to visit, as every neighborhood in Athens has its own distinct culture and attracts the respective crowds.

So here’s your ultimate guide to nightlife in Athens that will help you decide which nightlife scene suits you best and set you out on the most splendid night out in Athens city.

Nightlife in Exarchia

Exarchia is one of the most popular neighborhoods of Athens when it comes to the affairs of cheerful drinking, partying, and spending all night on a dancefloor.

The area is home to virtually hundreds of bars that all have a unique style and yet all share the same distinctive off-beat aura.

You’ll be surprised to discover that even the smaller bars and pubs have their own DJs that often seem to cater to very specific music tastes. No matter how niche your favorite musical genre is, just ask around and you’ll soon find a place playing it.

Exarchia is an ideal option for younger and older travelers who want to quickly get in the city’s vibe and spark up a conversation with the locals.

athens exarchia nightlife
Bar in Exarchia, Athens. Courtesy: Alexandrino Cafe Bistrot

Before embarking on your nighttime venture, make sure to visit one of the many restaurants at Exarchia for a typical Greek pre-party warmup of mezedes and wine.

Nightlife in Psyrri

Psyrri is perhaps the oldest nightlife hotspot in Athens.

For decades now, it has been accommodating younger local people on their first nighttime escapades and providing a serene refuge for everyone looking to get away from the city’s hustle and bustle and spend some time unwinding.

It’s located right next to Monastiraki and its meandering streets hide all kinds of hidden spots.

Taverns with traditional food and live folk music, funky bars, concert venues, and street food stalls have Psyrri’s alleys filled with people of all ages every day of the week until sunrise.

Here you’ll get the chance to witness what a traditional Greek friendly gathering looks like. Enjoy delicious treats under the sound of a swinging bouzouki and then head over to one of the hip bars to finish off your night with a refreshing cocktail.

athens nightlife in psirri
Locali Bar is a great place to enjoy your drink in Psyrri. Courtesy:

Nightlife in Syntagma

At first glance, visitors might think that Syntagma is more of a commuting center and a shopping district than it is a nightlife spot.

Indeed, Syntagma’s charms are well-hidden and it’s only by walking its streets after nightfall that you’ll start noticing large groups of people disappearing in small alleyways and narrow pedestrian streets.

Syntagma is actually full of pubs and bars of all kinds, but since the main street Ermou is primarily occupied by stores and shops, you’ll have to dig around to find the right one for you.

There are several small cafes with outdoor seating to start the night off with a cool glass of local wine or beer before heading over to the main course.

In Syntagma you’ll find more sophisticated bars that serve top-shelf drinks, many of which specialize in only one specific kind of liquor.

nightlife in Syntagma
In Syntagma you’ll find a lot of sophisticated bars. Courtesy: The Clumsies bar

Fancy whiskey bars, extravagant gin bistros and elegant rum lounges with expert bartenders and tens of labels on offer are waiting to be discovered just around the corner.

Nightlife in Gazi

Gazi is the newest addition to Athens’s sprightly nightlife scene.

It was once the site of the old gas factory that gave power to street lights all over the city, a working-class residential area with an infamous backstreet culture.

Once the need for the gas factory was deemed outdated, however, the neighborhood started transforming rapidly. While the kilns were still cooling off, a different type of crowd started swarming the streets of Gazi.

Gazi Technopolis

The concerts and events that were being organized on the premises of the old factory were very popular with locals and soon many bars and nightclubs started popping up. 

Today, that exact spot is named Technopolis and it hosts various events and concerts all year round and Gazi is probably the most popular place in Athens for a fun night, filled with pubs and clubs that are full of both locals and tourists.

Most of the smaller bars are around Persefoni square, while the larger nightclubs are located on Iera Odos, an avenue just a few minutes away.

athens gazi nightlife
When in Gazi, enjoy your drink with a great view of Acropolis. Courtesy: Gazarte

Nightlife in Metaxourgeio

Similar to Gazi, Metaxourgeio has only just recently become one of the trendy neighborhoods of Athens to wine and dine at.

It was only after Gazi’s boom that it saw a significant rise in visitor numbers as well. Yet, Metaxourgeio has developed a totally different character and identity than its neighbor.

Metaxourgeio is an ideal place to head for if you want to skip the clubbing and partying crowds in favor of a relaxing night with moderate drinking and lighthearted conversations.

Here you’ll find some hybrid places that are both taverns and bars with outdoor seatings, serving traditional food and drinks at great value for money prices.

Metaxourgeio is the place locals escape to when Monastiraki and Gazi get too hectic for live music, socializing, and tasty tidbits.

athens nightlife
Α beautiful courtyard in Metaxourgeio to taste ouzo or wine. Courtesy: Κεραμειο BAR

Nightlife in Kolonaki

Kolonaki might share a border with Exarcheia, but that does not necessarily mean that the two neighborhoods also share a similar identity.

On the contrary, Kolonaki might just be the poshest place in Athens, famous for its affluent crowds, prosperous shopping streets, and plush eateries.

If you’re looking for an opportunity to dress up during your visit to Athens, Kolonaki will provide the perfect excuse.

An array of fancy bars and restaurants around the square make for a busy catwalk through which habitués leisurely move from one place to another with a dazzling see and be seen attitude.

athens nightlife kolonaki
When in Kolonaki try a coctail at Mai Tai Bar. Courtesy: Mai Tai

Kolonaki is frequented by local celebrities and prominent figures and offers a great chance for visitors to get in touch with the more luxurious side of Athens where you least expect to find it – hidden in plain sight in the heart of the city center.

Acropolis view from Dexameni Square, Kolonaki

Nightlife in Koukaki

It comes as no surprise that Koukaki is one of the top places in Athens for nightlife. After all, who would mind enjoying a refreshing cocktail after a long day of sightseeing without having to walk more than five minutes?

Koukaki is conveniently located right next to Acropolis hill and it has got everything you could ask for an entertaining night.

Considerably more upscale than either Exarcheia or Metaxourgeio, but still more laid back than Syntagma and Kolonaki, Koukaki offers the best of both worlds. Cozy bars and mellow taverns filled with local patrons are found across the street from ritzy wine bars and flashy gourmet restaurants.

athens nightlife koukaki
Lotte cafe-bistro in Koukaki may be tiny, but its details are so unique.
Courtesy: Lotte cafe

In essence, Koukaki is a great place to test the waters of the Athens nightlife scene and get acquainted with the way locals spend their nights in Athens city before starting to explore every other neighborhood.

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