Category: Bars & Cafes (page 1 of 2)

Athens nightlife: Where to party with the locals

Millenium GAZI club in Athens

Scenes from Millenium GAZI, one of dozens of clubs, bars, restaurants and cafes within walking distance of the Karameikos metro station in the buzzing Gazi entertainment district of Athens

 

After dark: Wondering where to find a great party scene while you’re visiting Athens? Check out the article Athens nightlife: where do locals go? published recently on the Odiporikon travel tips website.

Written by an Athens-born blogger, the article notes that Athens offers “a very rich variety” of places to enjoy a night on the town. “Avoid the tourist traps and try out places a little further from the usual path,” the article advises.

To that end, it describes the top Athens party districts and how to reach them using the local public transit system and taxis.

Areas listed in the blog post include:

♦ Thissio

♦ Ag. Eirini Square

♦ Kolokotroni Street

♦ Gazi

♦ Psirri

♦ Exarcheia

♦ Chalandri

♦ Glyfada, and

♦ Mikrolimano

Be sure to bookmark the guide to keep on hand for your trip to Athens.

OPUS Inner Pleasure Glyfada

OPUS Inner Pleasure is one of many hot hangouts in the Glyfada coastal suburb of Athens. It’s a restaurant-cafe by day and a party club at night.

 

Top smoke-free Athens bars and restaurants for non-smokers

Mama Roux Athens

The open-air terrace at Mama Roux is shown in a  photo from the restaurant’s Facebook page. Mama Roux is among 10 top Athens cocktail bars & restaurants that expressly forbid smoking on their premises, according to an article from the Greece Is culture and gastronomy website.

 

Breathe better: From a visitor’s point of view, there are very few negative things I can say about Greece. I love going there, and wouldn’t publish this website if I didn’t. But like any place on Earth, it’s not a perfect paradise and it does have some drawbacks. The biggest, from my personal perspective, is the wide prevalence of smoking — not just by locals, but by tourists, too.

I’m seriously allergic to tobacco smoke — it makes me intensely nauseous, and it hinders my breathing. It also stings my eyes and sticks to my contact lenses, leaving them scratchy and uncomfortable. And it doesn’t matter if I’m inside a building or outdoors — if someone lights up nearby, the impact of their smoke is just as severe.

It seems I have plenty of company: I’ve received messages from other people with smoke allergies, and I’ve spoken to numerous travellers (mainly from the USA and Canada) who have commented on the pervasiveness of smoking even in places where it’s supposed to be illegal. 

Happily, I have found cigarette smoke less of a nuisance in recent years than it was during each of our Greek holidays prior to 2009. That was the year Greece enacted legislation to ban smoking in many public places, and though the law has often been ignored since it took effect, I have encountered far fewer people puffing in places where I can’t easily escape their smoke, such as in shops, restaurants and hotels, or on public transit. I still have occasional problems, but I breathe much easier in Greece now than I did up to 2009.

Nevertheless, a meal in a restaurant or a coffee break in a cafe can be ruined for me if another customer or someone on staff lights up. No matter how far away I sit from a smoker (and I actually have changed tables to avoid some), their smoke will waft in my direction and give me grief. 

 

Since I’ve often wondered if there’s anywhere I could go where I could be guaranteed someone wouldn’t be smoking at the table beside me, I was glad to find an article entitled Athenian Hangouts Without Smoke, which was published at the end of March on the excellent Greece Is culture and gastronomy.

Written by Maria Coveou, the article profiles 10 Athens restaurants and cocktail bars “which are smoke-free in theory and in practice, and where exceptions are never made.”

I haven’t been to any of the establishments yet (though I have walked past one — the legendary Zonars restaurant and lounge), but I have bookmarked the article to keep on hand for my next trip to Athens.

If you’re planning to visit Athens and you’re a non-smoker yourself, click here to read Maria’s article and save it for future reference. 

And if you happen to know of other bars and restaurants in Athens (or anywhere else in Greece) that steadfastly forbid tobacco smoking on their premises, please let me and my non-smoking readers know by adding a comment to this post (simply click on the word “comments” under the headline at the top of this article, and write your response in the “Leave a Reply” box.) Those of us with cigarette smoke allergies will be immensely grateful for the information!

 

Zonars restaurant Athens Greece

One of the city’s most famous restaurants and lounge bars, Zonars is another establishment where non-smokers can enjoy a drink or meal in an environment free of tobacco smoke. This street-view photo of Zonars was shared on Facebook by Aspasia Taka Architects.

Mykonos set for 2015 season with over 100 new places to eat, drink, shop, sleep and party

Cayenne Mykonos restaurant logo

Located at Tourlos, just a short walk from the New Port, Cayenne is among dozens of brand-new businesses on Mykonos this year. 

 

[Updated October 30 2015]

 “Crisis? What crisis?” That’s a question many regular visitors to Mykonos will probably ask when they see the more than 100 new and completely-renovated businesses that have opened on the island this year.

While Greece shudders through its sixth straight year of devastating economic turbulence,  Mykonos appears to be in a different world altogether, virtually unscathed from the recession that has ravaged the rest of the country.

Last year, the island enjoyed a record year for tourism — receiving more than 2 million visitors — and some longtime local residents told me they could not recall ever seeing the island as crowded and busy as it was during July and August. Hotels were filled to capacity, flotillas of luxury yachts were common sights at many beaches, and champagne flowed by the caseload at bars and restaurants across the island. As I reported in a July 16 2014 post, hotel rates reached higher levels, too, with the international online travel firm Trivago noting that prices had soared as much as 61% over the previous year.

 

 

International brands flocking to Mykonos

In anticipation that even more tourists with thick wallets will arrive in 2015, local and international companies have been pouring millions of Euros into the construction of new hotels, shops, bars, clubs and restaurants, as well as the renovation or upgrading of existing properties. Indeed, since late last autumn, Mykonos has been experiencing an unprecedented building boom as small armies of contractors swarmed around the island in a rush to finish dozens of projects. Global business brands flocked to the island in droves, scooping up any available real estate for their new Mykonos outlets.

With many of the new enterprises aimed at affluent travellers, Mykonos mayor Konstantinos Koukas has told local media he’s confident that the island is now well-poised to compete for a bigger share of the the world’s luxury travel market, and will successfully lure big spenders who usually flock to other Mediterranean hotspots like St Tropez, Monaco and Ibiza.

To see what’s new on Mykonos this year, please click on the convenient quick links below:

Click here for page 2 to read about new and newly-renovated restaurants in Mykonos Town,  Tourlos, and the Ano Mera area.

Click here for page 3, which describes  new and renovated beach restaurants, as well as the island’s two big new beach clubs, Monarch and Scorpios.

Click here for page 4, which highlights new and renovated nightlife venues in Mykonos Town, including bars, nightclubs, and shisha lounges; and

Click here for page 5, which introduces you to the island’s new spas, retail shopping establishments, and hotels.

 

Food Mall Mykonos image from the restaurants' Facebook page

More than two dozen new restaurants opened on Mykonos for 2015, and five of them can be found under one roof at the Food Mall Mykonos on the highway between Mykonos Town and Ano Mera.

 

Aerial view of Scorpios Mykonos

Widely recognized as the hippest new beach club on Mykonos for 2015, the Scorpios Beach Restaurant and Bar became one of the most popular places on the island within weeks of its opening in an “idyllic haven” on a peninsula between Paraga and Platis Gialos. 

 

Monarch Restaurant & Beach Club at Kalo Livadi Mykonos photo from its website

Another new beach club and restaurant is Monarch at Kalo Livadi, which boasts cuisine designed by a Michelin-starred chef, comfy beachfront lounge chairs, and occasional special events and big parties. 

 

Buddha-Bar Beach restaurant and bar at Santa Marina Resort Mykonos photo from the resort Facebook page

The world’s first Buddha-Bar Beach restaurant, bar and beach club opened on May 20 at the Santa Marina Resort at Ornos. 

 

Ling Ling Mykonos entrance

One of the most eagerly awaited new arrivals on Mykonos was Ling Ling, a Hakkasan-branded Cantonese fine dining restaurant and  uber-chic nightspot.  It opened in July in the premises that had been occupied for decades by the famous Philippi Garden Restaurant, which closed a few years ago after its owner died. 

 

Bonbonniere Mykonos nightclub

June 27 saw the launch of yet another new nightclub when Bonbonniere Mykonos threw its opening party in the ODE Mykonos club in the Tria Pigadia area of Mykonos Town. It’s a summer “pop up” version of the world-famous Bonbonniere club in London whose owner, Joe Fournier (wearing the white polo shirt) is pictured after signing a contract to bring Bonbonniere to the ODE space for the season.

 

Caprice Bar Mykonos photo from inmykonos dot com website

Mykonos residents and visitors weren’t just buzzing about new business openings this spring — people were also chatting about the abrupt closure of the enormously popular Caprice Bar (pictured above) and its surprise reopening a few weeks later as Caprice, a restaurant-bar located just a few doors down from its old place at Little Venice. 

 

Mykonos No 5 Villas luxury apartments photo from the hotel website

Mykonos No.5 Villas is one of the island’s newest hotels, offering a selection of seaview apartment residences, lofts and maisonettes in the Kanalia district 3.5 kilometers from Mykonos Town.

 

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Tuesday food & drink promotion kicks off at bars, restaurants & cafes in Central Athens

Have Fun in Athens poster

The Have Fun in Athens (Βγαίνουμε Αθήνα) food and drink promotion launched today at 39 participating establishments in the city center

 

 

Cheap ‘n’ cheerful: More than three dozen restaurants, bars and cafés have teamed up to offer special food and beverage discounts every Tuesday as part of a City of Athens initiative to boost local business and enliven the city center.

The Βγαίνουμε Αθήνα promotion, which translates as “Going out in Athens,” is a weekly event that will take place every Tuesday starting today.

Participating establishments will be offering special tasting menus at a price of €10, coffee beverages for €2, drinks for €5 and bottles of wine for €12. The specials are available all day on Tuesdays, and each restaurant will offer its own menu.

 

City staging a comeback from the economic crisis

With Βγαίνουμε Αθήνα, the City aims to maintain momentum in the ongoing revival of its historic and commercial center, which has been staging a remarkable comeback from the financial crisis that devastated the country’s employment and economy for five years.

The goal is to draw more people into the city’s central core to further animate and enliven the area and enhance social and economic activity.

Though just under 40 businesses have signed up so far, the City is actively encouraging more establishments to participate. Click here to see a list of places already in the program.

Click here to read an announcement about the Βγαίνουμε Αθήνα program, in Greek, at this page on the City of Athens website. (I have written to the City’s press office to ask if information about the program is available online in English, but haven’t heard back yet. However, you can use a program like Google Translate to read a reasonable translation of the program description.)

 

Athens bounces back: NY Times travel report sees rise in Greek capital’s confidence & creativity

 Click the arrow to view 36 Hours in Athens by The New York Times

 

 

On the rebound: As tourists continue pouring into Athens in record numbers, visitor statistics aren’t the only things on the rise — so is the city’s self-confidence and creativity, The New York Times reports.

That surge in local pride is in turn reflected in the city’s burgeoning arts and culture scene, where new shops, restaurants, bars and, museums and cultural venues have been popping up all over Athens, Joanna Kakissis notes in a travel piece published by the venerable American newspaper.

 

New cafés & restaurants revive city squares

“After years of dreadful press that defined Athens as a broken-down capital prone to fiery riots, the city’s self-confidence and creativity are stirring again. Enterprising young fashion and graphic designers are opening shops celebrating the classic lines of ancient Greece and the anarchic wit of modern times. In reviving city squares, there are new restaurants and cafes serving native delicacies like Cretan sausage and sheep’s milk yogurt with preserved quince. The five-year-old Acropolis Museum is consistently rated one of the top museums in the world, and the National Museum of Contemporary Art is set to move into a new building later this year. Even rough times have silver linings,” she writes in 36 Hours in Athens, published this week.

The article chronicles a weekend visit Joanna paid to the city, describing the various landmarks and tourist attractions she visited, the restaurants and bars where she ate and drank, and the shops and cultural centers she discovered.

 

36-hour weekend visit

The informative travel feature includes a map showing the locations of places referred to in the article, plus a “details” list of addresses and websites (where available) for the various venues.

The article is accompanied by the video I posted above, which includes insightful brief interviews interspersed with colourful scenes of city streets and attractions. The video was created by the team of Fritzie Andrade, Max Cantor, Chris Carmichael and Aaron Wolfe.

Click here to read the complete article by Joanna Kakissis in The New York Times‘ online travel section.

 

 Heteroclito wine bar Athens

One of the places The New York Times visited was Heteroclito cav & bar à vin, seen here in a screen capture from the newspaper’s 36 Hours in Athens video

 

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