Dance, Theater, and Music
“Concerts, book launches, screenings, art performances, progressive music––the new alternative arts space in Athens.”—Fotis Georgeles, editor, Athens Voice. Vintage decor, eclectic events. Piraeus84; tel. 30 210 342 5335. www.bios.gr
Known as skyladika, or doghouses, devotees flock to these temples of kitsch (many lining Piraeus Street and Iera Odos) to worship a modern pantheon of Greek pop stars. “A noisy but uniquely Greek experience. Go late for the headliner; choose the singer, not the venue—Vasilis Karras, Yiannis Ploutarhos, Natassa Theodoridou, and Katy Garby have staying power.”—Diane Shugart, author, Athens by Neighborhood.
Herodes Atticus Theater
“Sitting in this ancient, open-air theater under the Acropolis on a moonlit summer evening, watching modern dance or an opera, is one of life’s great experiences.”—Sofka Zinovieff, author, Eurydice Street: A Place in Athens. When Pausanias visited Athens, he described the ‘Herodion’ as “the finest building of its type.” Dionysiou Areopagitou; tel. 30 210 324 1807. www.greekfestival.gr
“A highlight of summer evenings. Scented by jasmine, watched by neighbors on their balconies, attended by all ages who eat, drink, and smoke their way through the movie. You couldn’t be anywhere but Athens and wouldn’t want to be.”—Sofka Zinovieff. Venues all over town. Open May-Oct.
Stoa ton Athanaton
“Right in the central market, great for anyone who wants a rembetiko (Greek blues) experience, but is not a late owl.”—Diane Shugart. Created by disillusioned, dope-smoking refugees from Asia Minor. Sophokleous 19; tel. 30 210 321 4362.
“Relaxed local haunt, stylish but not contrived.”—Diane Shugart, author, Athens by Neighborhood. Delicious gravadlax and broccoli soup in case a quick drink turns into a long night. Platia Proskopon and Ptolemaion, Pangrati; tel. 30 210 724 1116.
Fabulous garden for downtown drinks on a summer night. “Like a private party in a grand old mansion. Great cocktails, glamorous older crowd.”—Theodora Mantzaris, design director, 2004 Athens Olympic Summer Games. Tsoha 27 and Vournazou, Ambelokipi; tel. 30 210 644 1215. www.balthazar.gr
Bar Guru Bar
“Timeless and sexy. No door policy, yet always has right blend of people; groovy musical mix and match reflects this mix.”—Kimon Frangakis, editor, Status magazine. Tasty Thai food, occasional live jazz in top floor club. Platia Theatrou 10, Psiri; tel. 30 210 324 6530.
“An absolute classic, with original fittings intact since the early ’70s. Immaculate bartending. Try the Manhattan.”—Angelos Frantzis, film director. One for connoisseurs, hidden in an old-fashioned arcade near Syntagma Square. Stadiou 10, Syntagma; tel. 30 210 322 7733.
Predominantly gay bar with mean mojitos, overflowing tables on pedestrian street. “Always buzzing day or night. The narrow bar stretches the length of the block so you don’t miss a trick.”—Angelos Frantzis. Aiolou 33, Monastiraki; tel. 30 210 324 3740.
“Louche lair for architects and media types who sip martinis in red leather booths. Small, plush cinema with occasional screenings—great for watching football matches.”—Kimon Frangakis. Agisilaou 61B, Keramikos; tel. 30 210 346 2077. www.nixon.gr
Tiny, cozy, and crammed, especially after hours when free shots are downed and inhibitions abandoned. Voulis 7, Syntagma; tel. 30 210 321 9225.
February-March. Greek Orthodox Carnival, with roots in ancient worship of wine god Dionysus. Two weeks of late-night revelry, pranks, and meat eating, before the 40-day fast for Lent.
June-September. Artistic Director since 2006, Yorgos Loukos has introduced lower ticket prices, new venues, and an adventurous lineup of international performers, including Peter Stein, Fiona Shaw, and Bob Wilson. www.greekfestival.gr
Athens Classic Marathon
Early November. Athletes retrace the 26-mile (42-kilometer) route run by a soldier in 490 B.C. to announce Athenians’ defeat of the Persians in the battle of Marathon. He died on the spot. Finish line at Panathenaic Stadium, venue of the first modern Olympics in 1896. www.athensclassicmarathon.gr
June 21-23. Free al fresco concerts all over town, from folk musicians to Greek pop bands to music from the city’s ethnic communities. www.musicday.gr
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