Athens

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. Half Note Jazz Club

    Pangrati | Music Clubs

    The original and best jazz venue in town is this place for serious music sophisticates. It's a good idea to reserve a table ahead of time, especially...Read More

  • 2. Iera Odos

    Gazi-Kerameikos | Music Clubs

    Local pop and bouzouki stars regularly appear at this popular nightspot delivering all the joyous frenzy expected of a Greek-style night out...Read More

  • 3. Neos Rigas

    Plaka | Music Clubs

    At this traditional music taverna you can get a taste of folk dances and costumes from throughout Greece. At the end of the night the music...Read More

  • 4. Palia Taverna

    Plaka | Music Clubs

    This taverna has everything: good food, barrel wine, an acoustic duo with guitar and bouzouki playing old Athenian songs in an 1882 house. In...Read More

  • 5. Six d.o.g.s

    Monastiraki | Music Clubs

    You can choose to lounge at the bar or squeeze yourself into a bopping crowd to watch a top DJ or alternative electronica band do their thing...Read More

  • 6. Stoa Athanaton

    Monastiraki | Music Clubs

    Arcade of the Immortals" has been around since 1930, housed in a converted warehouse in the meat-market area. Not much has changed since then...Read More

  • 7. Taximi

    Exarcheia | Music Clubs

    At one time or other, most of Greece's greatest rembetika musicians have played at this old-time live venue housed in an elegant neoclassic...Read More

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