Chill out at the city’s top open-air courtyard (avli) cafe-restaurants, enjoying the perfect blend of a laid-back crowd, delicious food and drinks, cool aesthetics, and a casual, outdoorsy feeling that breezily helps one to escape the heat of urban life.
With tiny tables set out on either side of a pedestrian hillside leading to Kolonaki’s Dexameni Sq, this cafe is busy throughout the year from noon until midnight, but especially enjoyable during summer. Come for a coffee and a snack at lunchtime or cramp meze dishes onto your table (mainly based on simple, tasty Greek recipes such as keftedakia, lentil salad, fries with cheese, strapatsada eggs, octopus, fava) before heading to Dexameni open-air cinema. There is also a spacious playground here.
A: Dexameni Square, Kolonaki
Latraac Skate Cafe
As the home to Athens’ only skateboard bowl, this cafe is ideal for parents whose kids enjoy skateboarding and can roll away the hours skating in the birch-plywood bowl while adults enjoy a refreshment with friends. Latraac features an all-day breakfast menu (the pancakes here are popular) and also serves sandwiches, coffees, and cocktails. At night the chilled and trendy cafe becomes a buzzy bar that organises live Dj sets and occasional cultural events.
A: Leonidou 63-65, Metaxourgeio
Sip homemade lemonade or iced herbal tea either in the small downstairs courtyard or the upstairs terrace at Vryssaki, an old Athenian mansion-turned cafe that also functions as a multi-arts space for classes, workshops, exhibitions, performances, and talks. Enjoy a cozy homey feel indoors during winter and the notion of sitting on a friend’s picturesque balcony in warmer weather – looking out across the ceramic-tiled rooftops of Plaka and up to the Parthenon.
A: 17 Vrysakiou St, Plaka
Six Dogs Courtyard Cafe
Upon entering the space here it’s like suddenly stepping from the heart of the city – which is exactly where it is, just off busy Athinas St in Monastiraki – into a large, multi-tiered, gravel-floored campsite cafe. With plenty of greenery, comfortable seating offering different perspectives, a hip but not pretentious vibe, and an excellent choice of foods (from pizza or a Vietnamese sandwich to a refreshing homemade watermelon drink and signature cocktails). On the street-level above are the other Six Dogs spaces where edgy gigs and heavy partying take place nightly, in summer often spilling out onto the street. (Address: 6-8 Avramiotou, Monastiraki). This is more of a restaurant than a cafe, but definitely welcoming for anyone only interested in coffee and dessert-like Chocolate Cremeux or Hot Walnut cake during the afternoon hours (it opens at 13:00 but does not accept reservations). The large and airy Exarcheia yard is shaded by trees and has a refreshingly tasty, creative, and very reasonably priced menu of Greek and Mediterranean meze dishes. Even at its busiest (and it’s usually packed), service is attentive and friendly.
A: 69 Kallidromiou, Exarcheia
Black Duck Garden
This charming garden boasts lush greenery that is paired with marble tables and black chairs, giving it a cool and sophisticated vibe. Black Duck Garden is not only a cafe, it’s also a bar, gallery, museum and event centre where many local artists come to feature their work. From a light brunch menu and coffee through to dinner and cocktails, this place is a must-visit when you visit Athens and are looking for a spot to stay cool during the summer heat as you sip on your coffee!
A: 5, loannou Paparrigopoulou 7, Athina
cover image Latraac Skate Cafe