Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Thessaloniki by night

"People in Thessaloniki rarely stay at home on Saturday nights. The city’s roads become very busy after the sun sets!"
Thessaloniki is a big city with a large student population and people with a work-to-live attitude. Hence, the crowd out at night is surprisingly huge. Furthermore, the fact that Thessaloniki doesn’t live from tourism, gives you the opportunity to avoid Greek-island-like situations and to experience authentic night life. Things are classy, honest and loud.

We are also very proud for Thessaloniki being in Lonely Planet’s top 10 Ultimate Party Cities for 2010! Thessaloniki Lonely Planet.
Some general remarks:
  • People go out late. Especially during summer. Expect going out for drinks no earlier than 22:00, but expect a bar crawl to start after 23:00.
  • Night spots close at 04:00 (or earlier) on weekdays and keep on until morning on Fridays and Saturdays.
  • Drinking is not cheap: beers are at 5-7 €, straight drinks are at 6-8 €, cocktails and malt whiskies are at 7-10 €. If you are a large party of people, you might consider buying a bottle of your drink, as a bottle costs about € 80, makes 12 drinks easily and it comes with refreshments and some nibbles.
  • If you pay for admission, it includes a straight drink.
  • Of course you won’t need to learn Greek to order. Menus are in English as well and the staff knows good English. That’s except bouzoukia, of course.
  • Smoking is officially banned indoors in bars and clubs, but policing this is impossible.
  • Getting heavily drunk is frowned upon, unless of course you are in a “my girlfriend dumped me” situation. So, you won’t see any people shouting, urinating in public or doing stupid things just because they went out for some drinks.
  • Don’t expect any plate smashing anywhere! It has been banned decades ago!
  • Police are often doing alcohol-tests and driving with alcohol levels over the limit (0,05 mg/l) might cost you your vehicle and your license for some months.
Places to spend your nights out drinking in Thessaloniki are divided into 3 distinct categories: Bars, clubs and bouzoukia.

If you are going out for a beer, expect a selection of about 6-10 beers in any high-street bar, of which 1 or 2 might be draught (ask for varéli). Don’t consult the menu; ask the server, they know better. Amstel and Heineken can be found everywhere. Popular Greek brews are Mythos lager and Fix lager. Lager (if not all beer) is served ice-cold.

Cocktails are becoming rather popular during the last years. Expect every respectful bar to have their own decent Mojito and Cuba Libre, but don’t ask for too much on crowded nights. Whisky lovers are highly respected and you will find an impressive collection of malt whiskies in every bar.

Clubs have been a popular choice among the younger ages, but their number has been declining rapidly over the last 5 years. The club area during winter is to the west, at the Sfagìa district, while during summer the club scene migrates to the east, close to the airport, next to the casino. Some rock clubs and Greek music clubs exist in the Ladadika district.

Bouzoukia are the epitome of Greek night life! They are (in their present form) large clubs with tables and proper seating, but no food, with live Greek pop and folk-pop music. You may either sit at the bar and have a drink or book a table, for which you’ll have to order a bottle of spirit per 4 people. Bouzoukia are a very interesting matter, for which we have a whole article devoted to: Bouzoukia in Thessaloniki.


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