Category: Bars & Cafes (page 2 of 3)

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

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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

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 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

 

Summer’s top drink on Mykonos: champagne

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Bubblesgallery Champagne-Cocktail bar

Just as this photo from the Bubblesgallery Champagne-Cocktail Bar Facebook page suggests, champagne is the top beverage choice for Mykonos visitors celebrating important occasions or special holiday moments …

 

 Super Paradise beach Mykonos

… but at some of the island’s notorious party beaches, champagne is meant to be shaken and sprayed, not drunk, as this photo from the Super Paradise Beach Facebook page illustrates

 

 Sip it or spray it: Seems like only yesterday that mojitos were all the rage on Mykonos.  Everywhere I went a couple of summers ago, whether in Mykonos Town or at one of the island’s world-famous beaches, I saw people sipping mojitos.  Dozens of different drinks are more in favour now, but social media postings show that the most popular alcoholic beverage on the island this summer isn’t a cocktail — it’s champagne.

I regularly follow Mykonos events on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and elsewhere, and have been astounded by the vast number of photos and videos of champagne that have been published so far this summer.

The images confirm that Mykonos tourists will drink thousands of cases of bubbly this travel season, but also suggest it’s possible that much of the sparkling French wine sold on the island won’t even touch people’s lips.

Many visitors will order bottles of bubbly to toast an important occasion or mark a special holiday moment, of course, but countless more will purchase champagne with absolutely no intention of ever taking a taste. For them, it’s only meant to be shaken and sprayed — at other people, especially sexy bikini-clad young ladies.

 

Bars at two of the island’s top party beaches — Paradise and Super Paradise — have been stocking champagne by the truckload this summer to supply revellers who want to shake things up and get wet, wild and sticky after spending their afternoon frolicking in the sun and sea.

While dowsing people with drinks sounds like something one might expect to see only at beaches where 18- to 35-year-old partygoers gather to get totally trashed, champagne showers have been recorded even at classy high-end Mykonos dining and drinking establishments, like Nammos Restaurant by the Sea at upscale Psarou beach.

If you’re travelling to Mykonos this season, turn to page 2 of this post to discover some of the best places to enjoy champagne — whether you prefer to sip it or spray it.

  CONTINUED ON PAGE 2

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An Athens hidden gem: the TAF art space & café

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The Art Foundation in Athens

An art installation in one of the cool gallery spaces at metamatic: taf

 

 

Cool spaces: If you’d like to have a coffee or drink in a cool and truly unique setting, and have the opportunity to view contemporary art exhibitions at the same time, make plans to visit metamatic: taf (formerly called TAF: The Art Foundation) next time you’re in Athens.

One of the most fascinating cultural venues we’ve ever seen, metamatic: taf is an incredibly innovative multi-purpose facility that features cool gallery and performance art spaces along with a fabulous courtyard-café bar that received praise in the New York Times Magazine last year.

metamatic: taf is secluded inside a rustic old building at 5 Normanou Street in the Monastiraki flea market neighbourhood of Athens, and is so inconspicuous from the dingy, dark street that it’s almost hard to believe more than 200,000 people visit each year. Until you see what’s inside.

 

Our friend promised to show us something amazing

A friend showed us the place last October while we were on our way to a birthday party in the nearby Psirri neighbourhood. Leading us along a series of dark and narrow cobblestone streets, she promised there was something “amazing” that we just had to see while we were in the area. (Of course, we couldn’t help but wonder where the heck she was taking us, since the streets were practically vacant and everything appeared to be locked up tight.)

We had absolutely no idea what to expect when we stepped through a pair of wrought iron doors into a stone-walled, ground-level room that was almost empty.  The room had a few pieces of furniture, including two televisions that were both turned on, one displaying the words “super cool” above an image of a ceramic owl. We walked up a flight of stairs, turned a corner and found ourselves on a walkway overlooking the impressive courtyard café. I distinctly remember saying “Wow!” and thinking what a great place it would be to have a drink.

Our friend led us down the walkway, where windows and doors offered views into rooms housing a variety of interesting and provocative contemporary art installations. The works reminded me of art projects we had seen during some of the annual Nuit Blanche events back home in Toronto. After we spent a short period of time checking out the art displays, our friend led us through the courtyard — which was buzzing with dozens of people enjoying conversation over wine, beer and cocktails — and eventually back out to the street.

 

Look for a small, illuminated logo next to a doorway

When I asked “how the heck would anyone even know how to find this place,” our friend pointed to a small illuminated metamatic: taf logo on the wall next to the entrance gate. If we had been trying to find the place on our own, I think we probably would have walked past without even seeing the sign. Of course, it was obvious once it was pointed out to us.

Unfortunately, we didn’t have time to stay for a drink and enjoy the atmosphere because we had to join other friends for a birthday dinner celebration at a taverna. But next time we’re in Athens, we’ll see if we can find our way back.

If you need to be convinced that metamatic: taf is worth a visit, consider that it got good press in the New York Times Magazine. The magazine’s April 7 2013 food and drink edition included the feature A World of Secret Watering Holes, in which overseas-based New York Times reporters described “their most memorable drinking spots.” Correspondent Rachel Donadio’s pick for Athens reads: “It’s on a gritty street in downtown Athens, under the shadow of the Acropolis. At night, you have to wander through a shuttered flea market to find it. But inside, the Art Foundation, or TAF, is a hidden garden — a courtyard where trees are strung with lights; an oasis, young and alive.”

metamatic: taf also was profiled in an October 11 2013 article that Nelly Paraskevopoulou wrote for USA Today’s 10Best Travel Advice for Travelers website in October 2013.

You can obtain more information about the venue and its events by visiting the metamatic: taf Facebook page.

 

metamatic: taf in Athens

A small illuminated logo marks the location of the entrance to the metamatic: taf galleries and café-bar at 5 Normanou Street

 

 

metamatic taf in Athens

Televisions we saw inside the gallery & café entrance

 

 

metamatic: taf in Athens

The cozy courtyard café and bar

 

 

metamatic: taf Athens

A daytime view of the café courtyard. I found this photo on the metamatic: taf blog. The gallery and performance spaces are contained in the two level structure that encloses the courtyard. The rickety building looks like it’s ready to crumble, but its dishevelled appearance enhances the courtyard’s ambience and atmosphere, thanks to the café’s subtle nighttime lighting.

 

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