Greece travel

Athens by night

With more than 5000000 people in the Athens basin including Piraeus and the suburbs, Greece's capital Athens and the surroundings have a very active night life. Especially in September when the Athenians are coming back from the party islands having still memories from the wild Mykonos nightlife and Ios the parties are continued in many upmarket Athens clubs especially along the Athens Riviera from Hellenikon until Glyfada and Vouliagmeni. Like almost every big city in Europe, Athens has everything to offer for the young and wild as well as for the older generations. The young ones prefer clubbing in numerous bars the so called "barakia" in Greek (barakia are pub style places with loud mainstream music or latest Greek modern music) and clubs in many areas of Athens, while the older generations will prefer the famous Bouzoukia (live Greek music clubs) where sometimes a bottle of Whisky will cost you an arm and a leg.

The Bouzouki night clubs a few decades back was a place mostly visited by the working class and the underground world and they where the places where the Rebetika songs where sang. After the second world war and there was a slow increase in the standard of living and Bouzoukia became famous even for the middle classes. In those years almost every Greek film had almost a half an hour with a scene at the bouzoukia with famous Greek singers and bouzouki players of the time presenting their songs. George Zambetas was even writing songs for each specific film. The Greek cinema has been in those days the bigger promotion of the nightlife in Athens and the Greek popular music Laika and the films of the Greek cinema where the main entertainment for all ages during the 50's and 60's. During the late sixties and seventies a new name was given to many of those live music places to separate them from the dissent ones, the name was "Skyladika" that means Dog houses, probably for the extreme loud music and the low quality of the singers. There are Skyladika even today in some of the neighbourhoods of Athens.

The new type of those clubs though, has nothing to do with the old ones . Light effects, loud music, ballets, fancy clothes and expensive prices. In the old Bouzoukia you could enjoy the most famous singers and bouzouki players with the whole family with a kilo of retsina and some lamb chops or a bottle of 3 stars cheap cognac, today you must pay over a hundred euro for a bottle of whisky, some fruits and nuts. That's why many Greeks when go to bouzoukia usually they will share the bill. As an alternative to bouzoukia there are many live music stages with modern Greek music and many restaurants and taverns that have a couple of musicians, usually a bouzouki and one guitar player where you can enjoy all kinds of Greek music while dinning. Unfortunately live music in those places you will find mostly on weekends.
One type of nightlife entertainment that you wont find easy in Athens are the Cabarets with strip shows, this kind of clubs where famous until the 70's mostly in the former red light district of Piraeus the famous Troumba. Since the close down of the area and its transformation as a business centre those Cabarets where closed. A few strip shows clubs though are located in Sygrou avenue (Nea Smyrni) , Poseidonos Avenue and Haidari.

For the tourists the main places of night life is the area of Plaka and the area of Psiri and Gazi near the Acropolis and near Pireos street, in Plaka, once the centre of the Athenian nightlife from the begging of the 20th century, still some restaurants offer syrtaki and bouzouki shows mainly for the tourists. Psyrri a former scruffy area of any kind of handicraft shops next to Monastiraki flea market, became during the late 90's the replacement of Plaka with numerous restaurants, taverns and bars attracting a huge part of the Athens night life, another place of nightlife with many bars and upmarket restaurants is the Thission area , mostly for the younger generations and the area of Gazi in Pireos street.

A good magazine about knowing events, places, clubs, restaurants and all kind of entertainment in Athens is the Athinorama. Within this magazine you will find all the addresses and telephones of all kind of entertainment like bars, clubs, restaurants, theatres, music halls etch.

Though the Television has almost vanished the Greek Cinemas slowly but steadily more and more movies attract the cinema audients of Athens. There are many multi screen theatres in many areas of Athens like the "Village world" Cinemas in Marousi and Faliro and in Rentis at the junction of Rali and Thivon street.

During the summer there are many open air concerts and festivals held on the Lycabettus theatre, the Rocks theatre and even in the Olympic stadium with world famous artists.


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