It’s no secret that Athenians like to stay out late. And we do mean late. Nightlife in Athens is not all about sophisticated wine bars and cutting edge cocktails. The city’s underground clubs draw their own crowd, who find their happy place among sticker-covered walls, hypnotic lights, loud music and low ceilings. These basement dives are the places where you somehow wind up at 4 am for that ‘one last drink,’ before you hunt down a 24-hour restaurant, and call it a morning. That’s why they’re known as afteradika, a Greek idiom for late night clubs that derives from after, as in ‘after hours.’ Follow us down the stairs to some of Athens’ most happening underground clubs.
Is it a pizzeria? Yes. Is it a night club? Right again. Stop in for a delicious New York-style slice on the ground floor of Crust, then take the stairs down the rabbit hole to a small space. Depending on the night you can catch live jazz acts, open mic stand-ups or some proper techno, house and disco grooves spun by some of the city’s most trusted DJs. Crust is located on Psirri’s trendiest street, Protogenous. If you can’t squeeze in, there are plenty more bars on the doorstep for your night out in Athens.
Russian Disco Meteorit
The first thing you need to know about this long-running basement near Syntagma Square? It’s a legend on the Athens underground club scene. Once named “-40°C”, this was where Athens’ Russian crowd used to gather to reminisce about the motherland over movie screenings and vodka shots. But then it was discovered by DJ duo Amateurboyz and became a shrine for unfiltered, late night shenanigans. The second thing? It only opens on special occasions. So if you’re lucky enough to be in Athens for one of their pop-up parties, don’t miss it.
“It only opens on special occasions. So if you’re lucky enough to be in Athens for one of their pop-up parties, don’t miss it.”
If Prohibition was ever a thing in Greece, The Speakeasy would probably be the birthplace of the resistance. In the spirit of the illicit drinking dens of the 1920s, there’s no illuminated sign or doorman to lead you to this hush-hush bar, located within an ordinary-looking apartment building near Syntagma Square. Only word of mouth (or their Facebook page) reveals which doorbell will get you inside (if they’re not already full, they will let you in). Entrance granted, you’ll be rewarded with cocktails, malt whiskeys and live jazz until the sun rises.
While at EKEI (meaning “there” in Greek) you are faced with a tough choice: do you want to party ekei kato at the basement (meaning “down there”) or ekei pano ("up there") at the first floor? This two-storey building among the silverware shops of Lekka street in the Historic Centre is regularly packed with young Athenians throwing shapes on the dance floor. It’s especially rammed on Saturday nights when “Issues”, a weekly club night, takes place on both floors with trap, hip-hop and EDM anthems.
“This two-storey building hidden among silverware shops is packed with young Athenians throwing shapes on the dance floor.”
“You are what you dance”, reads the neon screamer over the DJ booth at Skullbar. You’ll find this infamous Athens dance club that never closes in the graffiti-lined streets of Exarchia. Look for the skull-shaped sign above a black door. People pitch up in this basement at 8 am on a Sunday, after an all-night bar crawl across Athens. Or fresh from a good night’s sleep and craving a boogie with their morning coffee.