Despite demanding working hours, significantly tighter budgets, and family obligations, Athenians simply refuse to stay home, and will always find good reasons to sit out with friends at a bar until the middle of the night. Athens's heady nightlife starts late. Most bars and clubs don't get hopping until midnight and they stay open at the very least until 3 am. Drink prices can be rather steep (about €9–€13), but the pours are generous, and in recent years the cocktails have become exciting and sophisticated. Often there is a cover charge on weekends at the most popular clubs, which also have bouncers (aptly called "face-control" by Greeks because they tend to let only the "lookers" in). For a uniquely Greek evening, visit a club featuring rembetika music, a type of blues, or the popular bouzoukia (clubs with live bouzouki, a stringed instrument, music). Few clubs take credit cards for drinks.

Nightclubs in Greece migrate with the seasons. From October through May, they're in vast, throbbing venues in Central Athens and the northern suburbs; from June through September, many relocate to luxurious digs on the south coast for moonlit beach views. The same spaces are used from year to year, but owners and names tend to bounce around. Before heading out, check local listings or talk to your hotel concierge, especially during the summer. One way to avoid both lines and cover charges—since partying doesn't get going until after 1 am—is to make an earlier dinner reservation at one of the many clubs that have restaurants as well.

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  • 1. O Kyrios

    Ilisia | Bars/Pubs

    Unlike Briki next door, where the younger generations go to flirt and down shots, O Kyrios caters to an older, more deeply glamorous crowd seeking...Read More

  • 2. 360 Cocktail Bar

    Monastiraki | Bars/Pubs

    With a menu of more than 70 cocktails and an extensive wine list, there is something for everyone at this rooftop bar in the heart of lively...Read More

  • 3. Alexandrino

    Exarcheia | Bars/Pubs

    This elegant Parisian-style bar and café is frequented by fashion personalities, academics, and thespians alike, who come to unwind over a few...Read More

  • 4. Baba Au Rum

    Monastiraki | Bars/Pubs

    Rum is the star at this trendy, popular bar in the heart of Monastiraki. All the liqueurs, syrups, and essences to flavor highly original and...Read More

  • 5. Balthazar

    Ilisia | Bars/Pubs

    Athenians of all ages come to escape the summer heat at this stylish, upscale bar-restaurant in a neoclassical house with a lush garden courtyard...Read More

  • 6. Baraonda

    Ilisia | Bars/Pubs

    Beautiful people, breakneck music, and a slightly gaudy VIP vibe have made this club-restaurant a perennial city favorite all year-round. The...Read More

  • 7. Booze Cooperativa

    Syntagma | Bars/Pubs

    Laptops, coffee mugs, and chess sets cover the long wooden tables in this Central Athens joint by day. By night, chatty partygoers squeeze—booze...Read More

  • 8. Brettos

    Plaka | Bars/Pubs

    With walls adorned with brightly lighted bottles in all colors of the spectrum, Brettos is a dated choice for most locals and is mainly popular...Read More

  • 9. Briki

    Ilisia | Bars/Pubs

    On hot summer nights, the fountain in Mavili Square, spreads coolness over the tables of café-bars like this one, enjoyed by the most flirtatious...Read More

  • 10. Couleir Locale

    Monastiraki | Bars/Pubs

    This youthful, scenic, and modish bar offers a different kind of local color than the usual walk-in or street-level place, as you'll have to...Read More

  • 11. Hotel Chelsea

    Pangrati | Bars/Pubs

    Not a hotel as its name suggests but instead a bar where the crowds spill out colorfully onto the sidewalk tables every night of the week. Its...Read More

  • 12. Kapnikarea Cafe

    Monastiraki | Bars/Pubs

    The ideal refreshing lunchtime spot to relax at after shopping on busy Ermou Street, Kapnikarea is named after the sunken Byzantine church that...Read More

  • 13. Klimataria

    Psirri | Bars/Pubs

    On Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturday evenings, a rembetika or traditional laiko band plays sing-along favorites much appreciated by the largely...Read More

  • 14. Minnie the Moocher

    Kolonaki | Bars/Pubs

    Just two minutes walk from Kolonaki Square, this sleek, Prohibition-era-themed bar is always kicking with a mixed crowd sipping excellently...Read More

  • 15. Rock n' Roll

    Kolonaki | Bars/Pubs

    This legendary bar from the 1980s and '90s, Rock n' Roll has reopened its doors a couple of hundred meters from its original location. Athens...Read More

  • 16. Sodade2

    Gazi-Kerameikos | Bars/Pubs

    This gay-friendly bar-club-lounge attracts a standing-room-only crowd every weekend. The draw is the great music, the joyous vibe, and the very...Read More

  • 17. The Clumsies

    Psirri | Bars/Pubs

    Located between Syntagma and Psirri, this innovative bar-restaurant is among the best and most popular in Athens. The impressively decorated...Read More

  • 18. To Parko Eleftherias

    Ilisia | Bars/Pubs

    With low-key music and a romantic setting, Parko is located in the hilly park above the Megaron Mousikis (Athens Concert Hall) and the U.S....Read More

  • 19. Aliarman

    Gazi-Kerameikos | Bars/Pubs

    Hidden in one of the tiny backstreets of the popular district of Gazi is this cozy treasure. The converted workers' house has a fairy-tale vibe...Read More

  • 20. Cubanita

    Psyrri | Bars/Pubs

    Brazilian and Cuban tunes—and cocktails—create a lively, carefree atmosphere in this much loved Latin club of the capital which, every summer...Read More

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