Basically, just a good, friendly pub, usually with live music which can vary from excellent to dreadful and OK food. Gets quite lively at weekends, and has a nightclub next to it which is one of the few of its kind in the city where a group of women would feel comfortable.
Location: Hilton Abu Dhabi, Corniche Road, Al Khubeirah, Abu Dhabi
Tel: 02 681 1900
This is a fairly standard hotel bar six days a week, but there is live jazz here on Fridays, and while fairly mainstream, it's about as good as you will find in the UAE, where all too often, "jazz" is understood to mean some flat voiced woman singing "Strangers in the night" backed by a cheesy pre-programmed keyboard. There is a core of four regular musicians and when they are all there, the music can be very good indeed, and it is also a very friendly atmosphere.
Location: Novotel Centre Hotel Abu Dhabi, Hamdan Street
Tel: 02 633 3555
The old town was badly damaged when the Assad regime put down the uprising by the Muslim Brotherhood in 1982, but what is left of it still retains plenty of charm. The noria are large waterwheels that used to lift water from the Orontes River into a system of aqueducts that supplied the city and adjacent farmland. The wheels themselves have been restored, even if the (now thoroughly cleaned up) remaining sections of aqueduct are no longer in use. They are very impressive, and there are lots of pleasant gardens where you can sit close to them and have a coffee or snack. All in all, a fascinating and unexpectedly beautiful sight.
Just head for the town centre.
Basically, nearly every village in Greece has a church named after a saint, and when it is that saint's day, the village usually has a party.
Ikaria is justly famous for its panagiria, which tend to start at midday and end when the last musician drops off his/he chair from exhaustion, some time around dawn the next day. Food is usually basic: roast goat, rice, chips and salad, with wine or beer to wash it down. Music (always live) tends to be predominantly nisiotika (traditional island music) with a fair amount of rebetika thrown in. All ages attend (at one, the youngest person at our table was my daughter, then aged 6 months, and the oldest, my wife's aunt aged 102!).
You will drink and you will dance, even if you normally do neither. Fantastic fun, and a great chance to participate in a folk culture that is very much still alive.
Ask around when you get there or check this site:
Pleasant live music venue, featuring local jazz and "world music" musicians, along with some more interesting contemporary Greek acts.
Popular jazz trio Human Touch are highly recommended, although they do not play here as often as they used to. Armenian Haig Yazdjian is another regular who is always worth hearing.
Konstantinoupoleos & Agiou Orous, Kollonos,
Post code: 10447
Live Jazz venue at the music school run by outstanding bassist Giorgos Fakanas. Apart from his own band, who are usually outstanding, I have seen acts there such as Allan Holdsworth, Wallace Roney, Mike Stern and Birelli Lagrene. Highly recommended to all jazz fans.
3 Poseidonos Ave., Neo Faliro,
Tel 210 4813605
The Vorres Museum consists of a complex of buildings, gardens and courtyards, covering an area of 80 acres. The museum has been donated, in the form of a cultural and artistic foundation, to the Greek state by the Vorres family.
It is mainly a museum of modern Greek art, which presents important works of art and sculpture created by Greek artists of the second half of the 20th-century. A general survey of the works clearly shows the significant influence of classical, Byzantine and folk tradition.
Good collection of work by artists who will be unfamiliar to most but none the worse for that. Beautiful setting, and can be combined with a visit to the impressive Peania Cave which is within walking distance if you are feeling energetic.
1 Parodos Diad. Konstantinou, 190 02 Paiania, Attica;
tel: 210-6642520, 6644771
Saturday-Sunday 10.00-14.00, Monday-Friday: please contact with the museum
A small fishing village at the extreme eastern end of the Gulf of Corinth, about two hours’ drive from the city (in normal traffic conditions) it is possibly the most beautiful spot a day out at the beach in the vicinity of Athens. There is an imposing bay, with steep, pine-forested mountains sloping down to the sea, with the spectacular ruins of ancient Aigosthena immediately behind the largest beach.
The Psaropoula fish tavern has excellent food, and is far cheaper than a comparable fish tavern in Athens would be. If you feel like staying over night, there is the somewhat run down but beautifully located Hotel Egosthenion and a number of rooms for rent, but if you have a car it is easy enough to go back to the city at the end of the day. There seem to be buses that will get you there too, but I do not know their schedules.
Hotel Egosthenion, tel: 0263/41 226
The most atmospheric concert venue in the city. A genuine ancient (Roman) theatre situated just below the Acropolis, which can be clearly seen from most seats. Spectacular indeed, especially on a night with a full moon. Concerts of every imaginable kind. Artists I have seen there include the Japanese Kodo Drummers, Paco Pena, Vladimir Ashkenazi conducting the EU Youth Orchestra, the Boston SO, Jan Garbarek, and the late Dizzy Gillespie.
Dionysiou Aeropagitou Str, Acropolis Metro;
Up and coming friendly jazz club, featuring local Greek musicians such as the outstanding tenor player Dimitri Vassilakis, and where you can also find international names such as Soweto Kinche and Andy Sheppard.
Upstairs at the Bar Guru,
Platia Theatrou 10, nearest metro probably Omonia
www.bargurubar.gr/jazzupstairs.htm Tel: 210-3246530
This club is a little out of the way but often puts on some of the more interesting rock concerts to be found in the city. I have seen people such as David Thomas and Two Pale Boys and The Residents there in recent years.
Liosion 205 near the Attikis Metro station; tel: 210 8547600
Predominantly a music venue in a truly spectacular setting on top of the Likavitos Hill in central Athens. Worth going just for the incredible view, but also puts on many fine concerts in the summer months, with acts ranging from top Greek performers to first division international jazz musicians (McCoy Tyner, Jan Garbarek, Branford Marsalis etc.) rock acts such as the recently reformed Van der Graaf Generator and other international performers (Italian singer Milva gave a spectacular concert of songs by Astor Piazolla recently, and Salif Keita has performed there).
Above Kolonaki; tel: 210 722 7209 (box office)
Intimate live music venue with a great atmosphere where you can see some of the better local musicians on the jazz and ethnic jazz scene in the city. Particularly recommended acts include Human Touch, Takis Barberis, Nikos Kapilidis, Mode Plagal and Haig Yazdjian, all of whom play there on a regular basis. Closed during the summer.
Damareos 78, Pagkrati;
tel: 210 7560102
The main Athenian venue for classical music, and perhaps one of the best of its kind in Europe. Top orchestras and top conductors, with pretty near perfect acoustics, and more adventurous programming than you would find at, say, the Festival Hall.
Vas. Sofias & Kokkalis. Has its own metro station.
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