Exarchia After Dark: Where to Party in Athens’ Hippest NeighborhoodBy Jessica Bateman
No visit to Athens is complete without a trip to Exarchia. Famously known as the “anarchist district,” the neighborhood has long been home to Athens’ artists, activists and intellectuals. It’s also the site of the Polytechnic University, where a student uprising helped bring down a military junta in the 1970s.
Travelers often come to check out the area’s incredible street art, but that’s not all Exarchia has to offer. During the day you can browse the many record, comic and book stores, as well as take in a gallery show at Hot Wheels or CHEAPART, but it’s nighttime when this area really comes alive.
There are so many bars and tavernas in Exarchia — usually with crowded tables that spill over onto the sidewalk — that your problem isn’t going to be finding a place to have a drink, but deciding which one to choose from. Here is a guide to the best of Exarchia after dark.
An Early Drink
Start your evening with a relaxed drink at a traditional bar. Chartes is open all day for coffee and food (try the egg baguette), but by evening it transitions into a cozy spot to enjoy a drink with friends. Grand Au Zinc, which is reminiscent of a Parisian café, draws crowds for both its delicious crepes and carefully selected wine list.
Athenians head out late in the evening to eat at tavernas and tend to stay for hours, and Exarchia has a slew of excellent traditional hangouts sandwiched between the hipster bars and graffiti murals.
One of the best loved is I Kriti (Veranzerou 5), hidden down an old-school arcade and serving mouth-watering Cretan food at bargain prices. If you fancy something a bit more upmarket, head to Ama Lachei, which serves simple yet delicious Greek dishes in a gorgeous courtyard setting.
After you’ve filled your stomach, it’s time to take your pick of Exarchia’s many late-night drinking spots. Warehouse‘s contemporary industrial design sets it apart from the more casual-feeling bars that fill the neighborhood, and a fashionable crowd gathers on the tables outside most evenings to enjoy its mind-bogglingly extensive wine list.
New kid on the block Santarosa has only been open a few months but is already packed most evenings thanks to its cool ambience and chic decor.
Let’s Go Dancing
Real night owls will want to check out Decadence Club — a legendary club housed in the home of a former military junta leader. It’s renowned for its surreal, themed nights and has attracted the likes of Nick Cave and Leonard Cohen to its dance floor over the years.
Catch a Movie Under the Stars
If you don’t fancy dancing, try spending an evening at an outdoor cinema. Head to Vox’s gorgeous rooftop cinema that’s open from May till October, often with late-night screenings.
Movies are usually in English with Greek subtitles.
Fans of punk, rock and metal are spoiled for choice in Exarchia. For dirt-cheap drinks and a lively atmosphere, head to AlcoHole, a hidden hole-in-the-wall bar with 5-euro cocktails and music that goes on until the early hours.
Nearby Locomotiva is cooperatively run, in keeping with the neighborhood’s independent spirit, and serves a wide selection of local craft beers.