Athens is filled with punk and indie bars where commercial hits are never heard, beer is flowing and good music is cranking. With a tacit ‘no suits allowed’ policy, these bars, ranging from the purest dive bars to small holes in the wall, are among the top bars playing metal, punk, hardcore and anything indie. Here is our guide to the best in the city.
Bar, Bistro, Restaurant, European, Greek, Mediterranean
The ‘Holy Goat’ Bistro in Petralona is a collectively run bar serving creative cocktails, imaginatively named after punk songs or bands. Theio Tragi’s gourmet food is delicious and exquisite and the punk and rock music is simply rad.
Run by Oi! skinheads, the Local Pub is located in Halandri near the Olympic Park. It features a great selection of beers, ales, ciders and more, and serves pub-meets-American-food. With its dark wood décor, extensive beer choice and punk music, the Local Pub is a welcoming and warm space that any self-respecting beer addict should know.
Located in Psirri, the Handlebar is an all-day café that’s open every day of the week. Originally aimed to be a space for cycling addicts, it soon became a popular joint among the rest of the locals as well. Offering breakfast and lunch options with a British twist, the bar is open into the night while offering a variety of house cocktails, local and British beers. This cool indie hub is another address you need to remember in Psirri.
Booze Cooperativa is the ultimate indie bar. Situated on Kolokotroni Street, the bar has an upstairs space for art shows and intimate DJ sets, and different rooms infused with a relaxed and laid-back vibe. You can spend endless nights here drinking tasty concoctions while listening to the best indie DJs in town.
This bar, also collectively run, is located in the anti-conformist area of Exarcheia. With vintage and alternative sounds, Locomotiva welcomes DJ sets every Friday and the occasional live performance. On Wednesdays, DJ Alexis Kalofolias, The Last Drive’s bassist and singer, plays garage music and rock ‘n’ rolls into the wee hours. The drinks are good and cheap, and the place also has an exhibition and event area upstairs.
Pleei Play Café Bar is a cool bar where one can play backgammon and other board games while sipping on a fresh beer. Set in Agia Paraskevi, the bar, which has expanded over the years, offers an array of drinks and snacks, and probably its biggest bonus point is the charming outdoor space in the back. It also hosts various DJ sets and live gigs, even during the week.
The oldest goth club in Athens, Rebound plays dark, new wave, punk and post-punk music, and sometimes even some good old rock ‘n’ roll. This original place, which is, as expected, very dark inside, only opens on Saturdays after midnight.
With its vocation of being a meeting place for arts and media, Bios in Gazi is a multifunctional and multi-level space which serves as a bar, a theater and a performance venue at the same time. It hosts numerous gigs, activities and events, and in the summer, the best place to be is on the rooftop.
Located in Halandri, right across from the Komboloi traditional café, Kommotirio (literally ‘hair dresser’) is a cool and chilled bar where cheap but honest cocktails and tasty beers are served in a casual atmosphere. Playing rock, dub music and reggae, this place is an ideal stop for a relaxed drink with friends. Be careful, one drink leads to another and you’ll be surprised when you’ve suddenly stayed until closing time.
With its exotic décor with a 1960s vibe and one of the most comprehensive cocktail menus in town, TIKI BAR is a beloved punk and lounge bar in the city. The bar is famous for its DJ sets and live sessions; besides, everyone knows that a drink at TIKI never ends before the sun rises.
Formerly known as the Blue Bar, Big Mouth has lost a bit of its punk edge but still offers a blues-rock feel with a cool roof garden at the top of a winding staircase. And even if you didn’t come for the music, the place serves top-notch pizzas and mouthwatering cocktails. When you mix a punk-rock bar with an ‘on-point restaurant, you get Big Mouth.
The Intrepid Fox is a well-known name in the underground punk scene in Athens. With its poster-covered walls, its pool table and its various live shows, the Fox is a place where the party goes on until late in the morning. The bar even has its own tattoo and piercing parlour.
AlcoHole is one of those small, unassuming bars where the laid-back atmosphere even seeps outside onto the street. Beers and cocktails are good and dirt cheap and the music – punk, rock and hard core – can be loud but will get you rocking. If you get there late and the bar is too crowded, don’t be scared to find a nearby bench.