Best Cocktail Bars in Athens

Two of the best cocktail bars in Athens, MoMix Kerameikos and The Clumsies, are making creative cocktails using that most Greek of Greek spirits, Metaxa.

The Clumsies
All Photos (c) Mike Gerrard

If you look at the economic reports you'd be forgiven for thinking it was still all doom and gloom in Greece, but it's boom in one respect: cocktail bars. Partly fuelled by a steady increase in tourist numbers, Greece is following the world trend for creative cocktails and mad mixologists, especially in Athens.

The Outdoor Patio at MoMix Bar Kerameikos

Look up Kerameikos in most guidebooks and you'll be told about the famous cemetery there, that this was once the home of ceramicists and is where we get the very word ceramics from. But it's also where you'll find the MoMix Bar Kerameikos, which opened in November 2012 and has been so successful there's now a MoMix in the seaside suburb of Glyfada, joined this summer by MoMix Bar Santorini.

Aris Chatziantoniou

It's in the Kerameikos original that you'll find MoMix co-founder Aris Chatziantoniou performing the molecular mixology that gives the bar its name. The cocktail menu is a cube that lights up when you move it and has such weird wonders as cocktail bubbles, cocktail tubes, magic needles and a Saganaki Cocktail. 

Grecophiles will know that saganaki is fried cheese, and the photo on the menu certainly looks like a piece of fried cheese in a frying pan. The 'cheese', though, turns out to be a block of cream mixed with the Greek brandy Metaxa, which is soaked with a mixture of citrus and spices and then flambéed. It's a cocktail that you eat with a fork.

'How about a Greek MaiTai?' Aris asks. 'I use Metaxa instead of rum, with Cointreau Blood Orange, lime and peach bitters.'

I'm surprised at the use of Metaxa, which has been around forever and is as Greek a drink as ouzo or retsina. I ask Aris if he uses it a lot.

'Of course,' he says. 'It's a very versatile spirit. It is also a taste of Greece, and we should be using our Greek spirits. I use it in my version of a Negroni – a Megroni! I also like using mastiha, which is a mastic that comes from the island of Chios. It's used as a chewing gum and for medicinal purposes but it also makes a good liqueur with an unusual taste, and I make a mastic foam for some cocktails.'

Like a mad scientist, leaping around with great enthusiasm, Aris takes what appears to be a blob of mastic jelly and floats it in a giant cocktail glass containing some kind of blue liquid. After a few seconds he removes it on a spoon, takes a syringe and injects the jelly with a few drops of Metaxa. He pours some passion fruit juice over it, adds some orange and Fernet-Branca, and offers me the spoon. 

The 'cocktail' explodes in the mouth, with the tart fruitiness of the passion fruit, the slightly minty taste of mastic and a surprisingly strong taste of brandy, considering he used just a few drops. I can't quite believe that he charges only €4 for this and a range of other cocktail bubbles that he's created. I can believe it when he tells me he has a laboratory upstairs where he spends hours playing with flavours, and where he also offers training and seminars.

Vasilis Kyritsis at The Clumsies

Aris is far from being the only mixologist making his name on the Greek cocktail scene. A ten-minute walk from Syntagma Square, a bar called The Clumsies opened in 2014. In less than a year it was ranked number 22 on The World's 50 Best Bars list, and later had rocketed to number 6! That's not so surprising when you learn that it was founded by two award-winning Greek bartenders, Nikos Bakoulis and Vasilis Kyritsis.

The Clumsies also has a Historic Spirits Collection

The Clumsies' cocktail list runs to several pages and even has a name: Genesis. That's because 'All of our ingredients originate from the Greek soil.' Each cocktail has its flavour profile listed (sour and sweet, dry, sweet and salty, umami...), and international spirits like Tanqueray Gin and Ketel One Vodka are accompanied by Greek flavours such as Skinos Mastiha Spirit, Samos Vin Doux Dessert Wine and Metaxa 7 Star.

Vasilis suggests a cocktail called Hypnotic. It blends Bulleit Bourbon with figs, some goats' cheese, Metaxa 7 Star and Roots Herb Spirit. This is made from a Cretan mountain plant called dittany, which locals also use to make tea which they drink to cure headaches and other ailments. The sweet and sour mix of Kentucky and Crete, of figs, cheese and Metaxa, is both potent and delicate. It's Greece in a glass, and at €7 is half the price it would be in London. He then makes us his take on a Ramos Gin Fiz.

'We don't use egg whites,' he says, 'because Greeks don't like egg whites, but instead we use aquafaba. This is the water left after you've cooked chickpeas, and we turn it into a foam. We use Metaxa 7 Star instead of gin, so the drink is basically Metaxa with chickpea icecream!'

In the Play Room at The Clumsies

Like Aris at MoMix, Vasilis also has his upstairs laboratory, which he calls The Play Room. Here he and his team experiment, throwing together different flavour combinations and coming up with ever-more-inventive ways in which you can make cocktails. As far as Greek cocktails go, it's far from being a recession.

More Information
The Momix Bar Kerameikos
Open Sun-Thu 8pm-3am, Fri-Sat 8pm-4am

The Clumsies
Open Sun-Thu 10am-2am, Fri-Sat 10am-4am

These creative bartenders were making some cocktails with that unique Greek spirit, Metaxa.  Greece Travel Secrets was lucky enough to enjoy a private tour of the Metaxa Distillery in Athens, and you can see our slideshow on our YouTube channel.

Where to Stay in Athens

Other Athens pages

  • A Drive around Attica

    This drive around Attica offers visitors high hills, beach resorts, small villages and classical sites like Marathon and the Temple of Poseidon at Cape Sounion.

  • Piraeus

    Piraeus is the port of Athens from where many ferries to the Greek islands depart, and it also has an Archaeological Museum and the Hellenic Maritime Museum.

  • What Is Metaxa?

    What is Metaxa? Metaxa is an amber Greek spirit combining brandy made by distilling wine, sweet wine from Samos and a secret recipe of Mediterranean botanicals.

  • Where to Eat in Athens and Piraeus

    If you're wondering where to eat in Athens and Piraeus we have a few suggestions including some favorites around the Acropolis, Omonia Square, and Syntagma.

  • Zacharioudakis Winery

    Greece Travel Secrets visits the Zacharioudakis Winery near Ancient Gortina in southern Crete, and does a vineyard tour arranged by our guide from Go Crete.

  • Zakynthos Winemaker

    Antonis Maroudas is a Zakynthos winemaker who lives on the 'wine road' and is one of the people who make Zakynthos.

  • How to Make Petimezi

    How to make Petimezi, the sweet Cretan syrup made from wine must, is explained to Greece Travel Secrets.

  • A History of Athens

    A History of Athens from the first people to live on the Acropolis through the Golden Age of Pericles and Alexander the Great to the military junta.

  • Greek Retsina

    Greek retsina is a dry white wine made and drunk all over Greece with a distinctive pine and resin flavour that people usually either love or hate.

  • Greek Ouzo

    Greek ouzo is an aniseed-based aperitif made all over the country but especially on Lesbos, tasting like a Greek pastis or arak and usually drunk with water.

  • Greek Feta Cheese

    Greek feta cheese is the most popular cheese in Greece, usually made from sheep’s milk, with a soft texture and salty taste and used to top off a Greek salad.

  • Greek Architecture

    This beginner's guide to Greek architecture explains how to tell your Ionic from your Doric columns, and what to look for in temples and Byzantine churches.

  • Greek Alcoholic Drinks

    Greek alcoholic drinks include distinctly Greek drinks such as ouzo, Metaxa, retsina, raki, tsikoudia and tsipouro, but also Greek wines and Greek beers.

  • Goules Taverna Crete

    The Goules Taverna in Goulediana, south of Rethymnon, has been called one of the best tavernas on Crete and Greece Travel Secrets recently visited them.

  • Entertainment in Athens

    There's all kinds of entertainment in Athens whether you're interested in theatre, dance, classical music, jazz, Greek music, rock music, disco, opera or movies.

  • Easter in Athens

    Easter in Athens is, like everywhere in Greece, the biggest religious celebration of the year and this page tells you what to expect over the Easter weekend.

  • Crete Olive Oil Tour

    For a Crete olive oil tour Greece Travel Secrets visits Biolea, one of the few olive oil factories on Crete that you can visit.

  • Corfu Food and Drink

    Information for travelers on Corfu Food and Drink including restaurants and tavernas, Corfiot specialties, desserts, wine and other Greek drinks like ouzo.

  • Corfu Beer Festival

    The First Corfu Beer Festival took place in Arillas in North West Corfu and celebrated the beer of Bavaria and of Corfu, in the Ionian islands of Greece.

  • Cape Sounion and the East Coast

    The beach resorts of Athens are easily reached from the city and also close are Cape Sounion with the Temple of Poseidon, ancient Marathon and Rafina's port.

  • Corfu’s Special Cuisine

    Corfu’s special cuisine includes dishes like sofrito and pastitsade and the chance to try ginger beer and kumquats.

  • Corfu Olives

    Corfu olives are an important part of this Greek island's economy, with an estimated 3-4 million trees producing olive oil of exceptional quality.

  • The Best Things to Do in Athens

    The best things to do in Athens, Greece, include top archaeological sites like the Acropolis and must-see attractions such as the National Archaeological Museum

  • Athens: Travel Information and Advice about Athens, Greece

    Athens is a top vacation destination. The Greece Travel Secrets Athensguide has information on hotels, museums, Athens airport and all the best things to do.

Enjoy this page? Please pay it forward. Here's how...

Would you prefer to share this page with others by linking to it?

  1. Click on the HTML link code below.
  2. Copy and paste it, adding a note of your own, into your blog, a Web page, forums, a blog comment, your Facebook account, or anywhere that someone would find this page valuable.

Latest Posts

  1. Traditional Pies from the Windy Aegean Isles

    Islanders make a huge variety of pies. They roll out sheets of pastry like silk or make fluffy pockets of dough, and fill them with wild greens and delicious cheeses.

    Read More

  2. Discovering “Handcrafted Crete,” a New Coffee Table Book

    A new coffee table book by travel writer Isabella Zambetaki presents the enormous variety and wealth of Crete's handicrafts, past and present.

    Read More

  3. Mini Guide: Essential Tinos

    Read on for the best summer hangouts on charming Tinos, from village cafes and tavernas to spectacular beaches and cultural tours, in one mini guide.

    Read More

  4. Multifaceted Greek Experiences From Delphi to Nafpaktos

    From lush and historical natural sites with jaw-dropping views to shopping, dining and fun activities, this route offers a cornucopia of things to discover.

    Read More

  5. Kythnos: The Outsider of the Cyclades

    Even though close to Attica, Kythnos knows how to stay under the radar. This carefree island is the ideal destination for our first summer excursions.

    Read More

  6. 5 Amazing Spots To Enjoy Sunset In Athens

    When thinking about summer in Greece, one of the first things that pop into your mind, except for the sandy beaches and turquoise waters, is the unsurpassed sunsets of the Greek islands. Indeed, sunse…

    Read More

  7. Rivers In Greece That Offer An Incredible Swimming Experience

    Sun-drenched beaches with crystal-clear waters and fine sand are what Greece is mostly known for all around the world. And, justifiably so, since Greece has a coastline of a whopping 13,676 kilometers…

    Read More

  8. 15 Fun Holiday Activities To Enjoy With Your Kids

    Summer is already here, and the summer holidays are fast approaching. So, if you plan to enjoy them with your family, it would be great to have some activities planned. As you know, children (and adul…

    Read More

  9. 11 Shipwrecks Now Accessible to Divers

    Greece’s Ministry of Culture announces its decision to make 11 wrecks accessible to divers, under the supervision of the Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities.

    Read More

  10. Monemvasia: Europe’s Oldest Continuously Inhabited Castle Town is in Greece

    Monemvasia, on the southeastern shores of the Peloponnese, Greece is Europe’s oldest continuously inhabited castle town. Founded in 583 by inhabitants of the mainland seeking refuge from the Slavic an…

    Read More