It’s wild, colorful and impossible to forget. For most Greeks, this is a full-time job that must be fulfilled with seriousness and dedication. This is why Athens is the place with the most cafes, bars, theaters, clubs, discos, restaurants and bouzoukia clubs. Do you know how to party hard in a bouzoukia club?
The answer to this is not that complicated taking into account that the Greek nightlife is hotter than Ibiza’s, more cosmopolitan than Barcelona’s and more exciting than the one in Paris. So even if you are not a party animal you will be sucked into the rhythm by the locals. Their way of life reflects the principle ‘if you die tomorrow, die without regrets,’ so you can be sure of the fact that you will dance and have fun as if it were your last day on earth.
Little known ways to enjoy bouzoukia clubs
- The best time to visit Athens is from April to July. The best days to visit bouzoukia clubs are Friday and Saturday.
- Eat well before coming to a bouzoukia. The only type of food you will receive here is represented by nuts or seeds and maybe (if you are charismatic enough) pretzels and fruit. Good foods to nibble on but for some extra strength throw into your stomach some souvlaki before you join bouzoukia.
- Souvlaki is not the only thing that you will be throwing for the night. Normally, people buy baskets of carnations to throw them on stage as a sign of appreciation for the singer performing live at the moment. This delicate practice has replaced the popular ‘plate throwing’ one that used to injure singers. Thank God!
- If you don’t enjoy standing, reserve a table. But make sure you do it approximately one week in advance. The prices may vary between 100 and 160 Euros depending on the number of persons and the bouzoukia that you decide to visit.
- You will find here a different repertoire of music with lots of influences from pop, reggaeton, jazz, dance and blues. So make sure you bring your dancing shoes because your feet will catch on fire a bit.
- And speaking of shoes, be careful what you dress. Most bouzoukia clubs impose a certain dress code, so it’s not unlikely to see women dressed in night gowns, wearing beautiful make-up or men wearing elegant suits.
- Bouzoukia clubs open around 23:00 and the live acts come on stage from 00:30 until 02:00 a.m. But they don’t stop here. The singing and dancing goes on until 06:00-07:00 a.m. with very few breaks. The singers present on stage are both newcomers and famous artists. Some of them have wonderfully organized orchestras that create the atmosphere of concerts, but without the same restrictions. Meaning that you are allowed to come up on stage and dance with the artists if you are in the mood to do so.
- If you have forgotten your camera at home, don’t worry. There are professional photographers in almost all bouzoukia clubs. They take beautiful pictures but not because they want to have a catalog of all their customers but because they will come and sell it to you after developing. While you have the liberty to refuse the offer, most customers choose to buy it as a nice souvenir.
- Be prepared to dance. And I do many dance!! Greeks dance a lot and everywhere, so after a couple of drinks the floor, the table, the chairs or the stage will be the same to them. And to you, of course!
What is a bouzouki?
Bouzoukia is a music instrument, very popular in the Greek culture. This is strongly associated with the Rembetika songs (simple songs sung by plain people). The need to have fun, enjoy life and live in the moment might be explained by the rough conditions of life that the Greeks had to endure (wars, poverty, etc.). So instead of becoming a bitter and frustrated people, the Greeks adopted the opposite perspective. Or as the lyrics of a Greek song say: ‘We have only one life, so we have to celebrate it.’
Share your pictures and experiences with us and let us know how wild you partied in some of the best bouzoukia clubs in Athens!