Athens’ Hippest Neighborhoods: The Understated Cool of Pangrati
One colourful design studio has painted the town red, pink, yellow and purple – here’s where to find the area’s best culture and cuisine
This off-piste enclave is really moving the needle in the Greek capital, a humdrum hood that’s suddenly swinging. Traditionally, students and artists moved to this scruffy inner-city district for the affordable rents and crazily cheap tavernas. Now the tightly wedged apartments are a hit with the Airbnb crowd, but the area still has plenty of authentic grit.
At barrel-lined tavernas such as Karavitis and Marathonitis, lamb chops and impromptu bouzouki jams come with clouds of cigarette smoke. Inevitably, hipper-snapper hangouts are popping up here. Archelaou Street sums up the new scene: beardy locals line the pavements day and night, tucking into charcoal-activated pizza at Tre Sorelle, vegan cheesecake at Ohh Boy and mezze with shots of raki at Trigono. Those who can’t get a table hit Plateia Proskopon, a mellow square lined with cafés and wine bars, Cupola for flawless tagliata and Negronis, or BabaGhanoush for falafel wraps and roast beets with hummus and sumac.
Over the road, punters play darts, retro Super Nintendo and pinball at Superfly, a dive bar decorated with vintage toys. Nearby Chelsea Hotel draws a younger, noisier crowd to tiny tables squeezed between sleeping stray dogs. After hours, everyone piles into Elvis, a souvlaki joint and shrine to The King, for spicy beef skewers served on butchers’ blocks.
Creatives haven’t been priced out yet; local designers Studiomateriality are behind many of the city’s most playful interiors, such as Hallelujah and Pink Brown bakery, and FokiaNou is the first in a flurry of artist-run galleries in Athens. With the new Goulandris Museum just openr – five floors filled with works by Picasso, Matisse and Klee – Pangrati won’t be under the radar for much longer.