Three cocktail bars putting Athens on the map
With as many bars as Milan and Tokyo on the World’s 50 Best 2021 list, and more than Paris, Madrid and Seoul, Athens is having a moment.
For those familiar with the Greek capital’s cocktail bar scene (and who have been paying attention to global bar lists these past few years), this hardly comes as a surprise, but it doesn’t make its rise to the global stage any less of a strong feat.
And as luck will have it, most of the city’s premier cocktail destinations are located in close proximity to each other, so you’ll have ample opportunity to sample all it is that Athens’ nightlife has to offer within walking distance. Starting with The Clumsies and Baba au Rum, the city’s two stars of this year’s World’s 50 Best Bars list, respectively standing at #4 and #14, and Barro Negro, which has entered the 51-100 list at #74, situated right between the two.
A self-described all-day bar, The Clumsies is the brilliant brainchild of two world class Greek bartenders, Vasilis Kyritsis and Nikos Bakoulis, who teamed up to combine their unique pouring and people skills, creating something truly special in their nation’s capital along the way. The Clumsies takes the all-day bar mantra seriously, as the interior of the bar was designed to be bathed in natural light, with light woods, whites, and turquoise fixtures accentuating the light and airy feel, making enjoying a casual drink in the afternoon – or a morning coffee and breakfast before that – feel completely natural. As the day progresses and changes into evening, the mood changes with it to become more on the sophisticated side, when a cocktail list you would expect from champion bartenders takes center stage.
Baba au Rum
Baba au Rum (which handily abbreviates to B.A.R) has been an Athens nightlife highlight since opening 13 years ago. Situated south of the parliament square, cocktails are taken seriously here, with owner and manager Thanos Prunarus driving a savvy mix of tradition and modernity. Given the name, it’s no surprise that rum drinks dominate the list — the continuously evolving Spicy Baba has been the most popular drink on the menu since 2010 — but between perfectly executed classics and original creations, other spirits are also brilliantly highlighted. The mood is pleasantly laid back: this is not an all out party place, rather a bar to linger and savour good drinks, made with the highest care.
In their own words, “Barro Negro is a tequila and mezcal bar created by 2 passionate friends, bartenders, and agave spirits lovers who have been traveling around Mexico and back to Athens for some years with one mission only — to learn the story and culture of their favorite spirits.” Meaning “black clay”, the name of the bar is inspired by the black pottery style of Oaxaca, where their journey first began. The sleek and modern space invites revelers to discover over 120 different tequilas and mezcals in a lively and contemporary atmosphere with a sophisticated Mexican feel.