It’s also fair to say the lines between cafes and bars are quite blurred in Athens; bright homely places where you might go for lunch and a catch-up seem to transform as the sun sets into dark, atmospheric spaces where the music gets louder and the drinks get significantly stronger.
So, here are my top five.
1. The Art Foundation- Monastiraki Metro Station
‘TAF’ is a bit of a challenge to find; located around the back of Monastiraki on a small laneway. This of course makes the whole experience of actually getting inside all the better – the cafe section is set up in a beautiful outdoor courtyard (covered over in winter) surrounded by old townhouses housing art installations, which you are free to wander through while enjoying any number of strong cocktails or a spirit-fuelled hot chocolate.
2. The Black Duck – Panepistimio Metro Station
A self-proclaimed ‘multiplarte’, the Black Duck is a slightly classier kind of establishment, with a cafe on the ground floor, a restaurant on the first floor and a gallery in the basement. This kind of place, you could feel very comfortable spending hours typing away on a laptop, then meeting friends for coffee followed by food and wine.
3. Pure Bliss – Syntagma Metro Station
Bliss is just marvelous; a caring, sharing, brightly coloured, slightly hippish kind of place serving Indian yoghurt, buckwheat muffins and ‘theraputic’ herbal teas. The cafe is a riot of pinks and oranges with tables covered in what seemed to be fruit inspired wrapping paper, while the back section is all big comfy cushions and low tables.
4. Floral – Exarchia, Omonia Metro Station
Housed in a Bauhaus inspired blue building on the corner of Exarchia square, Floral is part cafe, part university common room. The place is usually packed with students from the Polytechnic enjoying standard cafe staples like omelettes, crepes and of course good coffee, while the alternative bookshop downstairs gives the place an intellectual vibe.
5. Labbar- Floral – Panormou Metro Station
A very wellcoming district cafe/bar, fancy decorated, although it was near Panormou street -an overcrowded road-, can be offer to everybody a calm and quiet corner to chill out. The cocktail menu, has been accomplished completely, and includes marvelous and imaginative choices. The hot spot of the town: Lab’s unique yard!