Small But Perfectly Formed
Gay Athenian Nightlife
by Leonidas Dadikos
The Athenian gay scene is an odd but captivating mixture of European-type of bars and clubs and others which have a more middle-Eastern feel to them.
Gay bars often teem with people, but only relatively few of them are out. Likewise, there are many bars that dread being labelled gay, even though their clientele is 100% gay or lesbian; some have even sued or threatened to sue anyone who lists them as gay. On the other hand, as the Greek gay community begins to come out of the closet, more and more bars are daring to follow suit and come out themselves, but it is a slow process.
There are also some bars that cater to the lesbian community, but none of them are exclusively female. In the following list, those frequented by lesbians are mostly Aroma, Fairytale, En Merei, So Bar So Food, Sodade and Troll.
During the Olympic Games, watch out for our Gaymes, a series of fun parties with some of Greece's best DJs, which will take place in various clubs throughout Athens. See here for dates.
Apsendi, (210 7240087) Amynda 4, Agalma Truman. Open 11am-1am daily.
Not far from the marble stadium, this is a cosy cafe-bar where with seating under the shady trees on the square across the road. All ages.
Blue Train, (210 3460677/www.bluetrain.gr) Konstantinoupoleos 84, Gazi. Open 8pm-4am daily.
Cafe that plays the latest hits and opens out onto the street, with the tables right by the rail tracks where you can watch the trains - and the boyz - go by. It turns into a bar as the evening progresses and is perfect for an early drink before you hit the other clubs in the area. All ages, but mostly a youngish crowd.
Cafe'n'cafe, (210 3638980) Skoufa 47-49, Kolonaki. Open 9.30am-2.30am daily.
Gay-friendly cafe & lounge bar in Kolonaki, in the heart of fashionable Athens; ideal for a refreshing drink, a fancy cocktail or a delicious meal after shopping therapy in the nearby swish shops. All ages.
Dadee, (210 7777367) Sinopis 8, Pirgos Athinon. Open 10am-1am daily.
A delightful cafe decorated a la Almodobar with a very friendly atmosphere, where you can enjoy a variety of coffees, a light meal or a cocktail over a board game. There is an Octapus shop inside, selling all kinds of adorable knickknacks. Mostly young crowd.
En merei, (210 8223105) Stournari & Kapnokoptiriou 5, Kendro. Open 11am-1am daily.
A fairly new gay & lesbian cafe in the centre of Athens. Situated in a neoclassical house with a charming courtyard and a Greek island feel. You can start with coffee around 11am and move on to ouzo and mezedes (a rich selection of starters) until late at night. Very close to the National Archaeological Museum, so itís ideal after you visit the Museum.
Enidrio Internet Cafe, (210 9212050/www.enydrio.gr) Singrou 13 & Lembesi, Makrygianni. Open 8pm-1am Mon-Thur; 24hrs Fri-Sat; 5.30pm-1am Sun.
The perfect spot to go online and read your emails or arrange a hot date, while having a light snack, lunch, dinner, ice cream or a drink.
Kirki, (210 3466960) Apostolou Pavlou 31, Thisio. Open 10am-2pm daily.
Open-air cafe with a mesmerising view of the Parthenon, an ideal place to relax after a stroll on the stunning pedestrian street below the Acropolis. Less popular with the gay & lesbian crowd than it used to be.
Wunderbar, (210 3818577, Themistokleous 80, Exarchia. Open 9am-3am daily.
Hip gay-friendly cafeteria in Exarchia square, where you'll see every single Athenian tribe.
Alekos Island, Tsakalof 42 (basement), Kolonaki. Open 11pm-3am daily.
A historic Athenian gay bar, where scores of gay men have taken their first steps in gayness. Owned by the ever-witty, one and only Alekos. Ideal for an early drink, as it is one of the few bars where you can meet people before midnight. Bear sanctuary and over-25s.
Almodobar, (6946 457442/www.almodobar.gr) Konstantinoupoleos 60, Gazi. Open 9.30pm-very late daily.
Small but impressive gay-friendly bar with a mixed crowd, playing pop and electro. It often hosts live shows with fine artists from the Greek electro scene. On August 12-13, 2004 DJ Savage, from the German Tresor, will be at the decks; on August 20, 2004 the Greek band Pallyria will performing.
Big, (210 3474781) Falesias 12 & Iera Odos 67, Gazi. Open 9pm-2am Mon-Thu, Sun; 9pm-late Fri-Sat.
The first Athenian cafe-bar aimed exclusively at bear-types and those who love them. Very friendly atmosphere.
Granazi, (210 9244185) Lembesi 20 & Kallirois, Makriyanni. Open 6pm-4am daily.
Relaxed bar with predominantly Greek music for the generally older crowd. There is an indoor terrace, and it's a great place to get a taste of Greek men singing along to their favourite tunes.
Fairytale, (210 330 1763/ www.fairytale.gr) Koletti 25, Exarchia. Open 11pm-3am daily.
Small, low-key friendly bar with mixed music, also favoured by lesbians. In the lively Exarchia area, within walking distance of Aroma Club.
Inoteca, (210 3246446) Platia Avissinias, Monastiraki. Open 2pm-2am Tue-Sun.
A cool, gay-friendly place to while away an evening to the sounds of lounge, free-style, ambient and trip-hop, in one of the most theatrical settings in Athens, amidst the old flea-market antique shops, it turns into a jiving bar scene after sundown.
So Bar So Food, (210 331 0907) Evripidou 65, Psirri. Open 9.30pm-3.30am Mon-Thu, Sun; 9.30pm-5am Fri-Sat.
The club opens only on weekends. Gay-friendly and very popular with trendy lesbians. Usually under-30s, but, frequented by all ages. A mixture of Greek and non-Greek music ranging from chart pop to house. The fabulous garden is a big plus during the summer months.
Prosopa, (210 3413433) Konstantinoupoleos 84, Gazi. Open 8pm-2am.
A gay-friendly restaurant in the gay village, with a fine, cool ambience, excellent service and deliciously innovative food with a Mediterranean flair. Reasonably priced, too. Perfect for a romantic dinner for two, or a meal with your mates before you hit the bars and clubs that abound in the area. There is also seating outdoors, right by the railway, just next door to Blue Train.
Cou Cou, (210 3831955) Themistokleous 66, Exarchia. Open 1pm-1am, daily, except Sunday.
Modern and starkly decorated, Cou Cou is a central, gay-friendly restaurant in the bustling Exarchia area offering a delicious and inexpensive culinary experience.
Aroma, (18.104.22.1685/www.aromaclub.gr) Tsamadou 15, Exarchia. Open 10.30pm-3.30am Tue-Thu, Sun; 11pm-very late Fri-Sat.
The only downtown club, in a neoclassical building on a lively pedestrian street that never sleeps. A must if you want to see Greek men & women letting their hair down; easy-going ambiance, with a delightfully mixed crowd and all kinds of music. Favoured also by lesbians.
Conne, (210 3458118) Triptolemou 35, Gazi. Open 11pm-5am daily.
Small, but always packed and pumping, Conne covers all tastes. Mainstream music apart from Mondays, when it's Greek and oriental night.
Flying In, Harilaou Trikoupi 34, Piraeus. Open 11pm-5am Fri-Sat.
The only gay bar in Piraeus, friendly and cutely depraved, with a penchant for Greek music.
Fou Club, (210 3466800) Iera Odos & Keleou 8, Gazi. Open 11pm-5am daily.
One of the latest bars to open in the new gay village, the only one to proudly fly the rainbow flag. Mostly mainstream music, but also techno, electro and house. Don't miss the hot "wet" shows every Friday and Saturday around 1am.
Kazarma, (210 3460667) Konstantinoupoleos 84 1st floor, Gazi. Open midnight-5am Wed-Sun.
Above Blue Train, this is the club to go and dance your arse off, among the preponderantly young crowd swaying to the mix'n'match music.
Koukles, Zan Moreas 3, Koukaki Open 11pm-5am Wed-Sun.
The best drag show in town at weekends, this is the place where most transvestites and their admirers hang out.
Lamda, (210 9224202/www.lamdaclub.gr) Lembesi 15 & Singrou 9, Makriyanni. Open llpm-4am daily.
This Athens classic is an unmissable experience, particularly at weekends when it can get packed. On two floors, with a dance floor upstairs playing the latest hits, and a more cruisy area downstairs, which also sports a backroom - the only one in Athens.
Play My Music, (210 3411141) Konstantinoupoleos 78, Gazi. Open llpm-5am daily.
In the heart of the gay village, this fun club plays great music by top DJs. Its garden with the white benches creates a wonderful ambience. Very good air-conditioning.
Playback, (210 3317105) Aristofanous 11, Psirri. Open 11.30pm-6am Thu-Sun.
Sleek and huge, this club is a must for the coolest clubbing in town. It's the Athens version of the legendary Pierros in Mykonos. Lounge decor and upbeat house and progressive music. Go-go boy shows at weekends and lots of great guest DJs.
Sodade, (210 3468657) Triptolemou 10, Gazi. Open 10.30pm-6am.
You're bound to be swept off your feet to the best dance music in town in one of its two stages, which are connected by a corridor where men and women are only too happy to rub shoulders, and other body parts, with you. Currently, the most successful club in Athens, where the city's gays and lesbians are sure to visit on a Saturday night.
Troll, (210 5158920/www.troll.gr) Alikarnassou 7, Kolonos. Open 11pm-5am.
One of the latest appearances in the gay scene, it has already become popular.
Fantastiko, Aristotelous 37. Open 10.30pm-3am Mon-Fri, Sun; 10.30pm-5am Sat.
Small and cosy, with loud music and daring go-go boys from former Eastern bloc countries strutting their stuff on the makeshift stage every Friday and Saturday around 2am.
Sammi's, (210 8822134) Filis 34. Open 11pm-5am Wed-Sun.
Of all alternative bars, this is definitely worth a visit for its multiethnic gay boys and their fans, who party long and hard on Saturday nights into the wee hours.
Strass, (210 9221622) Odissea Androutsou 32, Koukaki. Open 10.30pm-4am daily.
Popular with drag queens, transexuals and their admirers.
Test Me, (210 8226029) Pipinou 64, Platia Victorias Open 10.30pm-4am daily.
A meeting place for the older crowd and their fans, with sweet young things from former Eastern bloc countries and Asia.
Fri 13 August Gaymes @ Free2Go Club 22
Sat 14 August Gaymes @ Free2Go Club 22
Sun 15 August Gaymes @ PlayBack
Mon 16 August Gaymes @ BlueTrain
Tue 17 August Gaymes @ Play Club
Wed 18 August Gaymes @ Sodade Club
Thu 19 August Gaymes @ Conne Club
Fri 20 August Gaymes @ Free2Go Club 22
Sat 21 August Gaymes @ Free2Go Club 22
Sun 22 August Gaymes @ Playback
Mon 23 August Gaymes @ BlueTrain
Tue 24 August Gaymes @ Play Club
Wed 25 August Gaymes @ Sodade Club
Thu 26 August Gaymes @ ConneClub
Fri 27 August Gaymes @ Free2Go Club 22
Sat 28 August Gaymes @ Free2Go Club 22
Sun 29 August Gaymes @ Playback Club