Still on about the Western suburbs of Athens. Exciting, multifaceted place that it is, and hardly known by tourists. So I'm letting you in on some Athenian gems here: how the real Greeks in Athens live, breathe and play.
Saturday night I went out to play, at this great place called Arch. It's a café and a bar, decked out in dark wood reminiscent of an American style beer barn or saloon – minus sawdust on the floor I suppose (not that I've ever been to one of these Yankee yahoo joints – though one day …), and minus the mechanized rodeo horse! This place Arch though is far too laid back for a rodeo ride.
Arch was nicely full – of mainly Uni student agers. And though Kiedis (Red Hot Chillies) strode his stuff on one of the large flat screen TV's adorning a wooden or brick wall here and there, amongst the beer signs and various paraphernalia (like a leaning mini drum kit on the ceiling, acting as a lamp shade; tilted over to expose ambient light), the patrons sat at their heavy wooden benches and tables, chatting and grinning and drinking and eating, yes, all at once.
Then, maddeningly for me, AC/DC came on, and I just wanted to Parrtiee!, wanted to raise my fist in the air and yell out 'hey everybody, I'm from Downunder too', but the people at Arch went on … grinning and chatting and drinking and eating. To be fair it was early (for Saturday night Greeks' going out time), about 10.30pm at this stage, and the DJ wasn't on yet, so I'm sure this was the pre-getting fired up time. We left at about 11.30; rather early – but the place doesn't close until the wee hours – and believe me I would've been most happy to stay till then but we had come at 8.30pm and weren't drinking, so definitely later next time.
We ate their house burger which was totally home-made, fresh and delicious and reasonably priced. They have heaps of different beers, not to mention coffee and all beverages and other foods such as a german sausage platter, and salads - at all hours.
All this fun and food amongst oldies like Queen blaring, or rather, pouring out at a reasonable modulation of I-can-hear–you-talking-ever-so-slightly-straining-to-be-heard sound, as well as more modern rock edge current favourites such as the Black Keys. And alas, there's even time for some harder numbers like Axl Rose in his bandanaed glory, belting out a tune accompanied by video clip, with the playlist getting heavier as the night progresses one gets the impression.
When we arrived there were many tables with reserved signs on them, and most others were occupied. As my friend and I eyed the place for a table (getting a good dose of the vibe in the meantime – very comfortable and contented feel) a young biker looking guy (shaved head, black T shirt with medieval type graphics on it) politely asked if we'd like a certain table but advised that it was booked at 11pm. This was the maitre de, and what a man he was, even finding us the promised chair that was missing and checking if we were OK, (not to mention saluting us out later), while a cute, robust, red haired punk waitress with a leopard printed singlet top and black leggings and army boots calmly took our order with her heavily but tastefully tattooed arms motioning as she wrote and arranged coasters.
Overall, a marvellous place with a friendly vibe. Definitely worth a visit.
You can get here easily on the red metro train line – Agios Antonios stop, then 15 minute walk. See Arch's site (includes map with directions) www.archbeerhouse.gr
by Katrina Black
A Greek-Aussie: love writing, love the outdoors, love my 2 kids, love heavy metal and love life (usually!).
see the article also here: weekend notes