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The quirky Meerkat Cocktail Bar with its safari-inspired decor.
NEIGHBORHOOD GUIDE

A guide to local favorites in Koukaki

The quirky Meerkat Cocktail Bar with its safari-inspired decor.
  • By Omaira Gill
  • Photos by Myrto Papadopoulos
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Koukaki
Athens
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Koukaki is a once-quiet corner near downtown Athens that used to be home to families and, later, to an older generation of Athenians. Their grandchildren have since moved in and brought an injection of vibrancy, creativity and new ideas that have revitalized the neighborhood. Today, it’s where the city’s artistic types are most likely to be found, or just those who know where the good bars are tucked away.

Meet Omaira Gill

Omaira moved to Athens from the U.K. after meeting her husband at the 2004 Olympics. When she’s not writing about the Greek economy, she’s writing about her beloved city, cosplaying at gaming and comic conventions, and raising her two sons. Her favorite places in Athens are the rapidly vanishing ungentrified streets around the main market.

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Koukaki

National Museum of Contemporary Art (EMST)
Relocated a couple of years ago to its new home in a former brewery, the EMST showcases contemporary art from Greece as well as international collaborations. Pieces go back to the second half of the 20th century.
Kallirrois Avenue and Amvr. Frantzi Street, Athens, 117 43
Bel Ray
A former car-repair shop is reincarnated as a quirky ’50s-style diner, giving us Bel Ray. Sample the cocktails, drinks and brunches as you watch the world go by.
Bel Ray, Falirou 88, Athens, 117 41
State of Concept
Drop in to this nonprofit art gallery — the first of its kind in Greece — which has a regular and constantly changing program of carefully curated Greek and international art.
State of Concept, Tousa Botsari 19, Athens, 117 41
Takis Bakery
This place has been serving Athenians for decades. If its famous Thessaloniki-style sesame-covered koulouri doesn’t grab your attention, there are 30 more varieties of bread to pick from.
Takis Bakery, Misaraliotou 14, Athens, 117 42
Psit Jewelry
Come face-to-face with Koukaki’s creative side at this adorable shop, where you can pick up handmade jewelry (and more) for yourself or as gifts.
Psit Jewelry, Veikou 9, Athens, 117 42
Meerkat Cocktail Safari
Bring out your inner animal with a jungle-inspired cocktail as you revel in the African-themed decor and relaxed vibe here, which on its own is enough to make you feel transported.
Meerkat Cocktail Safari, Vizantiou 7, Athens 117 41
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Omaira Gill
Omaira moved to Athens from the U.K. after meeting her husband at the 2004 Olympics. When she’s not writing about the Greek economy, she’s writing about her beloved city, cosplaying at gaming and comic conventions, and raising her two sons. Her favorite places in Athens are the rapidly vanishing ungentrified streets around the main market.
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Myrto Papadopoulos
Myrto is a contributing photographer to The Washington Post based in Athens, Greece.
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CITY GUIDES