Earlier this year, I spent ten days in one of the most historically important cities on the planet – Athens, Greece. Before I went, I must admit I was quite sceptical about what beer I could expect on my trip – Fix, Keo and Mythos immediately sprang to mind. However, after doing some research beforehand and my own experiences whilst there, the beer evolution I’m delighted to say has also hit Greece too. Below you’ll find information on venues I visited and beers tried, at the bottom of this post I’ve made available a Google map I made in preparation – it has the bars below plus many others I had shortlisted but didn’t get chance to try. So, here’s my beer tourists guide to Athens!
On the trip, I stayed in Piraeus which is south of Athens and is more famous for its huge shipping ports and Olympiakos FC. My research for beer here was a little less fruitful than Athens itself, but there was one particularly good bar that had available a few beers brewed by Greek microbreweries, supported by a vast range of international beers. My first recommendation is Bibere.
As soon as you see Bibere, it stands out as a beer drinkers heaven. The walls are strewn with memorabilia and inside is a wall of bottles and cans of beer that have been featured in this bar. One thing the Greeks like to do is feed you, so as soon as your dinks are ordered, they pop over with a snack to accompany your refreshment – usually free of charge. For my first foray into Greek microbreweries, I sampled some beers from Santorini Brewing Co. Namely, Yellow Donkey and Red Donkey (there’s a theme developing already!). Due to the locality of this bar this bar to the whole, it became a frequent stop.
If you’re going to Athens for a short stay, then it’s unlikely you will check out Piraeus as there is enough to keep you busy in Athens itself. Fortunately, there are a lot of great bars near major landmarks.
The first bar visited in Athens was Athens Beer, just a few minutes’ walk away from the centrally located Syntagma Square. This place was immediately welcoming, with great staff and superb décor. As with Bibere, there was lots of beers available, including more from Greek microbreweries. Beers to look out for here are 8th Day by Septem Brewery which is a 7% American Double IPA, and Friday’s Pale Ale, also by Septem which is a session pale. In fact, if you come across anything by Septem, I urge you to try it as all the beers I had from them were supreme in quality and taste.
If you find yourself in the Mount Lycabettus area, then there are a couple of bars not far from the foot of the mountain to check out. Firstly, Hops Beer and Burgers delivers on its name! They do a tasty range of food with focus on burgers, supplemented with a good choice of beers alongside. Here you can find more from Septem and I also tried IPA by Ali Microbrewery of Thessaloniki, a 5% American IPA.
Just around the corner from there is Ο Μπαμπάς (BABAS Café Bar). This is a quirky venue that doubles up as a small bottle shop. The music and style is eclectic, it was a comfortable and nice venue. Here, I tried a 6% rauchbier from Chios Brewery called BBQ Beer, followed by Horiatiki a saison from Σόλο (Solo).
Arguably my favourite bar of Athens is Beer Time, a short walk away from Monastiraki metro station. This bar opens from 4pm, so make sure you plan accordingly if you were expecting it to be open from lunch! A small downstairs bar area is supplemented with a large outdoor seating space in a busy square which is a fascinating spot for people watching. They have a huge catalogue of beers here and are the only bar I came across that does a tasting board of beers for a set price. I visited this place a few times and amongst the great beers was Ionian Epos Winter Barleywine by Corfu Microbrewery. Also look out for beers from Elixi, Cretan and Zeos. They also specialised in European beers and the HofBrau Doppelbock was particularly flavoursome.
If you do your own research on beer in Athens, you will probably see Barley Cargo crop up more frequently than others. I visited this place once – the décor was in the style of a Brewdog bar and the beer range was good. However, whether it was just an off day for them, the staff didn’t make it a particularly welcoming environment so I didn’t stay long.
Also found in the Monastiraki area is Six D.O.G.S. This is a wonderful venue set outdoors with lots of trees and foliage acting as the ceiling. There are various levels and lots of comfy seating, it is a truly unique environment. Here I tried Athineo #08 Lager & Ginger from Athineo Microbrewery.
Next up is Lazy Bulldog near Technopolis which is a major cultural area of Athens. This bar was certainly heavily influenced by the British pub; multiple keg lines and hand pulls were available, including a locally brewed cask ale – Δίνη (Whirpool) by Σόλο (Solo). The Bulldog is also the Athens hub for Brewdog, with 6 taps dedicated to the brewery and special events hosted to help showcase their beers. This was like home away from home, although it is a top venue and would be a regular of mine if it were in Leeds!
Finally, just off the main Syntagma Square is Beer Corner. This is a bottle shop with some bar and outdoor seating. This was a real gem of a find, showcasing lots of Greek beers. This one is well worth seeking out and the only slight disappointment is that I didn’t find this sooner into the trip.
So, there we have it, hopefully you’ll find this blog post useful if you’re going to Athens. Remember, this is only as up to date as when I went to Athens, so it will be worth taking the time to your own research too. Finally, as promised, here’s the interactive map I created for my trip.
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