New Year's Eve stroll in Athens center

Whenever I manage to get myself out of the treadmill of daily life and do something different, in the city center, there's always some kind of small reward for it. Even if it is for some last minute shopping for the New Year. [Greeks exchange gifts on New Year's Day, or at midnight, right when the old year gives way to the new one].

This afternoon, I left some digital photos for printing at a central photo store (at 57 Akadimias St.) and then headed to Miran (at 45 Evrypidou St.), near Monastiraki and Athens' Central Market. Miran, as I have recently discovered, is sort of a local culinary institution. A delicatessen that takes its job very seriously and shoppers seem to reward it for the variety and quality of goods offered. I'll have more details in the future, but for the moment let's just say that many others had the same idea with me and it was flooded with customers. So, what do they do to keep their customers happy while waiting? They offer bites of their self-produced, super-tasty, grilled-in-place beef sausages with oregano (loukaniko riganato). Which you then feel compelled to buy on top of everything else you had planned, as they're a truly mouth-watering delicacy!

Armed with my fair share of cheeses and meats I headed back to the photo store and picked up my prints (hadn't printed photos for quite a long time...) and decided to take a peak at Syntagma Square. I had heard the Christmas / New Year's decorations where quite poor, in every sense of the word, this year and can confirm this is true. Yet, many children and their parents were waiting to be seated for a show at the temporarily constructed ice-ring and seemed to be content enough.

On the way to Syntagma I came across Paul, a well-known French boulangerie-patisserie at 10 Panepistimiou St. and saw another loooong line of customers waiting to be served! Quite a different type of queue from the ones we're used to seeing these days... It was a welcome change however, just like the smiling faces of people who had just gotten off work for the last day of the year.

And, guess what! A patch of the sky was getting sunny and blue again, after 3 full days of non-stop rain, and a rainbow was clearly apparent towards the East...
Happy New Year from Athens everyone!

Horrific cell-phone camera picture of a wonderful rainbow in central Athens... Reminder / Resolution for the New Year: Take your real camera with you every time you get out!

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Music venues and concert spaces in Athens

I just wrote up a major update on the "upcoming cultural events" in Athens (see tab above) and it dawned on me (what a genius!) that a map featuring all the major music venues in Athens ("concert spaces", "concert halls", "live music spaces", arenas, or whatever they may be called) would be a useful feature to have in this blog. So, here it is: a map of music spaces in Athens (for all kinds of music and types of concerts) and a list of them with a few words about each space. 

An Club

Description: A historic rock'n'roll music "joint" or "dive" or something of that sort, depending on what variation of English you speak. Almost exclusively hosting alternative, indie rock / punk names. For this simple reason, the financial crisis seems to have not touched it, as it features a full schedule of acts for the coming months whereas other music spaces struggle to stay afloat.Address: 13-15 Solomou St., [Exarchia district], Athens

Access: Right next to the rather infamous Exarchia Square, 10 minutes walk from Panepistimio and Omonia Metro Stations.
Website: http://www.anclub.gr/

Athens Concert Hall (Megaron Moussikis) 

Description: Athens' major concert hall, the Megaro Moussikis (which stands for "Music's Mansion"), has been hosting classical music concerts and an expanding array of shows, performances and events for 20+ years now. A rich, deep schedule of events and performances runs all the way from September till May of each year. The Concert Hall's creation was pushed through by late media mogul Dimitris Lambrakis and the" Friends of Music Association, finally to become reality in 1991. Located near Athens city center, at the museum avenue Vassilissis Sophias, in a large, marble mansion, with a Metro Station bearing its name and a newly inaugurated urban park as its garden, this is the major cultural space in Greece. [Update: As of 2014-15 its future is in peril due to serious accumulated debts from past years and the State's inability/unwillingness to fund the arts]
Address: Vassilissis Sophias & Petrou Kokkali St., Athens
Access: Megaro Moussikis Metro Station (Line 3). More info here.

Badminton Theatre 

Description: Built as a temporary construction for the 2004 Olympics to host badminton and other "exotic" sports, it was later converted to an indoor theatre, where one can usually watch traveling musicals and other relevant performances.
Address: Goudi Olympic Properties / Alsos Stratou park [Goudi area], Athens  
Access: 10min walk from Katechaki Metro Station (Line 3)

Fuzz Club 

Description: An urban, live-music space hosting interesting international acts of mostly rock and world music. Occasionally big names. 
Address: 209 Pireos St. & 1 Patriarchou Ioakeim St., Tavros [Greater Athens area]
Access: 15min walk from Tavros - Eleftherios Venizelos Metro Station (Line 1)

Gagarin 205

Description: An urban space hosting, mostly, rock concerts. Greek and international bands, occasionally big names.
Address: 205 Liossion St., [Odos Liossion / Plateia Attikis area], Athens
Access: 6min walk from Attiki Metro Station (Line 1) 


Description: A multi-faceted culture centre / club / bar hosting world music, jazz, blues, sould and funk acts in the noisy, night-life neighborhood of Gazi. You need to make a reservation. Prices can be fairly high.
Address: 32-34 Voutadon St. [Gazi area], Athens
Access: Right outside Kerameikos Metro Station (Line 3)

Half Note Jazz Club

Description: The name (almost) says it all. A jazz club hosting big names from the international jazz and blues scene as well as up and coming Greek musicians (and established ones - yes, they do exist!). It occasionaly ventures to neighbourhing music genres (ethnic, flamenco, traditional, etc.). It's been in operation since 1979, thus being a virtual staple of Athens night-life. Very reasonable prices.>
Address:17 Trivonianou St., [Mets neighbourhood], Athens. 
Access: 10min. walk from Acropolis Metro Station (Line 2) 

Kyttaro Live

Description: Another historic rock club in operation since for ever (1970 to be exact); it has recently been restored and refurbished trying to make a comeback in the city's rock scene. It's usually punk, rock, garage and other "similar", "underground" types of bands that play here (both Greek and international) but mostly no "big names".
Address: 48 Ipeirou St. & Acharnon St., [Plateia Victorias area], Athens 
Access: 7min walk from Victoria Metro Station (Line 1) or 10min walk from Larissis (a.k.a. Larissa) Metro Station (Line 2)

OAKA Olympic Stadium 

Description: Normally not associated with cultural events (unless you count soccer matches as such) but occasionally hosting big name concerts (of the U2, Rolling Stones, Red Hot Chili Peppers variety). 
Address:OAKA Olympic Complex, Municipality of Maroussi [Greater Athens]
Access: Irini Metro Station (Line 1)

Onassis Cultural Centre

Description: A recent arrival (Dec. 2010) in Athens' cultural scene, it has quickly become the number two cultural center in the city after the Athens Concert Hall with which it seems to be forming a complementary and co-operative relationship. More geared (but not constrained) to modern art (dance, theatre, exhibitions and music) with major European, Greek and international productions as part of its wide-ranging schedule of events that runs throughout the winter season. The Michelin-star crowned Hytra restaurant has recently opened shop (if I may use the expression) at the roof of the Onassis Cultural Centre.
Address:107-109 Syngrou Avenue, Athens 
Access:Syngrou-Fix Metro Station (Line 3) See here for more info. 

PassPort Culture Space

Description: A recently opened music space hosting mostly modern Greek music shows.
Address: 119 Karaiskou St., Piraeus [Greater Athens Area]
Access: By Bus 040(Syntagma Sq.-Piraeus), Bus 500 (Kifissia-Piraeus) and many others (049, 130, 904, 906, A1, B1, E90, X96) at the Dimotiko Theatro (Municipal Theatre) bus stops
Websitehttp://www.pass-port.com.gr/ Also, see their facebook page.

View Music venues and Concert spaces in Athens, Greece in a larger map

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