Small yet mighty Sifnos packs a lot within its shores. You’ll find some of Greece’s cleanest beaches, endless juniper-covered hills and over 360 whitewashed churches to explore. But, if you’re looking for something a little sinful – sit back and be serenaded in the port of Kamares, climb to the rooftop bars in tiered capital, Apollonia, or dance the night away in beachside Platis Yialos. Whatever your vibe, you’ll wish the Cycladic night would never end in some of the best bars in Sifnos, Greece.
Just a five-minute stroll along the seafront from the ferry terminal – you can go barefoot in the sand if you like – YOUME is a gentle introduction to Sifnos’ bar scene. Locals rate this relaxed all-day beach bar for its pillowy sunbeds and photo-ready swing seat and even claim it has the best coffee on the island. All five senses are stimulated here, but taste reigns supreme – order the potent martini, which is garnished with two green Greek olives, naturally.
Even closer to the Kamares jetty is the Old Captain, a Sifnos stalwart where you may find a sailor or two hanging their hat over the pirate-themed bar. It’s got a sense of humour – try the tingly red grape concoction, which is served in a busty figurehead glass with a steering-wheel stirrer. Even without the booze, you’ll find nights here are great fun: the Old Captain stays open until 3am and regular live music gets everybody – including the staff – dancing a jig.
Steno – a crazy-paved Apollonia alley – has more bars than anywhere else on Sifnos. Step through Doloma’s crimson double doors to experience its old-fashioned charm and sample its newly-renovated cocktail menu: pair the juniper Etsu Japanese gin with fizzy lemonade or freshly squeezed local orange juice to taste Sifnos’ best-known flavours. You’ll find an expert selection of beers and ales here, too – and with rock music thumping on the stereo until 4am, you’ll be able to jam until dawn. Well, nearly.
A few steps away is Botzi 93, where a crowd of fashionable Greeks can be found reclining on the bougainvillaea-covered rooftop terrace, admiring the breathtaking view of Sifnos and listening to world jazz. Ask for a bottle of Papra winery’s award-winning, Alegria – an organic Greek Moscato – it’s cool enough to provide relief from the sun, bubbly enough to lighten your mood and comes with just the right amount of sweetness.
Steno’s Cosi is the place to go for something a little unusual. Large tables encourage mingling and the cocktail menu certainly breaks the ice – as they’re mostly made with spirits unique to Greece. You’ll have a laugh with the Spicy Clown: Cycladic souma (saffron moonshine) is mixed with mastiha liqueur, a resiny flavour from Chios. Then, it’s vigorously shaken with homemade and home-grown chilli syrup, pink peppercorns and cooling cucumber. Hot, cold and Greek all over.
This Cuba-crazy joint in the fortress town of Kastro is eccentric, to say the least – countless Havana Club bottles spill out from behind the bar, which is manned by multiple Che Guevara icons and the bearded owner, also nicknamed Che. He’s been running the place for as long as Kastro can remember and whips up a variety of Caribbean cocktails: you can’t go wrong with a whole-sprig minty mojito while overlooking the Mamma Mia-esque Chapel of the Seven Martyrs.
On the southern coast of Sifnos is Platis Yialos, a sheltered cove with an arch of golden sand. Lost Bay blends into its seaside environment perfectly, with nautical cocktails forming part of the 200-drink menu, curated by a world championship bartender. Not sure what to choose? Try the Pirate Queen – a tarty grenadine, vodka and lime cocktail with a tweezered-on hibiscus garnish. If you need more time to get through Lost Bay’s extensive menu, no fear: they host beach party nights that go until the small hours.
On the sands of Platis Yialos, chilled café-bar Notos comes with a shower, so you can easily switch from beach day to night out. If you can keep the drinks, coffees and tasty meals coming, the staff will let you stay all day, so you can dip in and out of the sea. You’ll find all the classic cocktails here, but some have a distinct Sifnos twist – the lady-in-red Strawberry Dream is made with ambery, botanical Metaxa brandy and is utterly divine.