The Mets Athens is a gorgeous, leafy residential neighbourhood that sits between Sygrou Fix and Pagrati. Blink and you’ll miss it.
Most people that visit Athens aren’t even aware of the Mets’ existence. This area is so compact that unless you specifically knew what you were looking for, it would be very easy to drive right past the Mets.
Yet what the neighborhood lacks in size, it sure makes up for in character and charm. This is a perfect example of a quintessentially Greek Athenian district.
It is arguably one of the few central Athenian districts that haven’t been changed or gentrified by tourism. It is, as of yet, untouched by the Airbnb boom that has affected much of the Greek capital.
If you are looking for a place where you can sit for hours watching people in a sleepy Greek coffee shop, listen to live Jazz music in an intimate setting, or shop for fresh fruit in an adorable local farmers market, come to the Mets.
History of the Mets Athens
The Mets Athens takes its name from a brewery that was opened by Johann Karl Fuchs, the creator of “Fix” beer. The brewery was titled “Mets” and so, this part of town has retained that name ever since.
This was also the place where the last battle between the French and the Germans took place in 1871. That is perhaps why the Mets exudes Montmartre vibes.
It is a sad, undeniable truth that some parts of Athens are not that aesthetically pleasing. They are lined with unattractive apartment buildings constructed in the 1950s, the roads are filled with potholes. Generally, most areas feel a little claustrophobic.
The same cannot be said of the Mets. The quiet streets here are lined with pastel-coloured neoclassical mansions draped in bougainvillea.
This area is so peaceful, you feel a million miles away from the chaos of Syntagma and Monastiraki. Many of the old mansions here have been converted into chic apartment buildings. As you may expect, this area attracts a lot of celebrities, artists, and creatives.
Discovering The Mets Athens
If you walk away from Athens city centre, past Hadrian’s Arch and the Temple of Olympian Zeus, you will find yourself at Ardittou street. This busy main road leads you to the impressive marble Panathenaic Stadium (“Kallimarmaro”).
Continue straight on though, and you will arrive at the Mets. From Ardittou, meander down the streets of Anapafseos, Aristonikou, or Mark. Mousourou. You will soon arrive at some charming cafe or taverna or another in the leafy Mets.
There is no “centre” in the Mets exactly. Many other Athenian districts may have a lot of bars and restaurants concentrated around a central square (“plateia”) but the Mets isn’t the same.
There are a number of cafes and bars that run along Mark. Mousourou, parallel to Athens Cemetery. Similarly, local favourite hangout spots, like the quaint “Kain” (Κάιν) can be found at Anapafseos.
Mets Athens Highlights
Metz Coffee Bar
The district’s namesake Metz coffee bar sits opposite the cemetery at Mark. Mousourou 63. The vibe is unpretentious and in some ways, you could consider Metz as being a modernised version of the traditional Greek kafenion.
Surrounded by trees, it is pleasant to enjoy a strong Greek coffee or a Freddo cappuccino at the outdoor seating here as you watch the world go by. The place is seldom crowded by day – you may just be joined by a few local creatives as they tap away on their laptops.
Metz really comes alive at night and on weekends. The establishment regularly hosts live music performances by local musicians.
In particular, local Jazz and Blues performances. The shows are interactive, meaning you may be handed an instrument of some sort and encouraged to join in the session!
Kain (Anapafseos 22) is a quirky day-to-night bar in the heart of the Mets. In the daytime, you can sit outside beneath the trees with a good book as Jazz classics like Miles Davies and Thelonious Monk play out over the loudspeakers.
The interiors are contemporary and eclectic. They are equipped with plush modern furnishings and a large, dramatic painting by artist Dimitris Taxis adorns one entire wall.
The atmosphere here is reminiscent of Greenwich Village, New York. By the evening, Kain transforms into a cocktail bar and is a popular rendezvous point for locals from the Mets, Pagrati, and Vyronas.
Half Note Jazz Club
The Mets Half Note Jazz Club (17 Trivonianou St) is one of the few places in the city where you can catch live jazz performances. The club first opened its doors in 1979.
Today, it hosts a range of local and international jazz and blues musicians. Dexter Gordon, Arthur Blythe, Steve Lacy, and Monty Alexander are among the notable performers who have played here.
The setting is intimate – exactly how you would expect a New York Jazz bar to be. Check Half Notes website to discover upcoming events, and to purchase tickets in advance.
Joshua Tree Cafe
Joshua Tree (Anapafseos 13) is a new face on the Athens cafe scene, having first opened its doors in the Summer of 2020. It is the brainchild of local businessman Skevi Erotokritou and his friend Salonikos Salonikidis.
You may recognise this name if you consider yourself an Athens coffee connoisseur. This is the same Erotokritou that runs the beloved Blue Bird at Ipitou 4, Syntagma.
The decor is bold, bright, beautiful. As you meander down Anapafseos, you will see Joshua Tree Cafe from afar – its vibrant blue doors and windows shimmering in the distance.
Classic hits from The Beach Boys play out around the cafe, and the style here is reminiscent of a hippy-era diner in the western USA. It is no surprise then, to discover that Joshua Tree Cafe, like Blue Bird, was inspired by Erotokritou’s travels in America.
The coffee here is excellent. You can sample a variety of different blends lovingly crafted by local independent roasters. The food here is vegetarian, with a number of vegan options on the menu.
Skyfall Athens (Mark. Mousourou 1,) is an upscale rooftop bar that sits adjacent to the Panathenaic Stadium (“Kallimarmaro”). The views of the Athens skyline from up here are unparalleled.
By nightfall, you have a perfect view of Acropolis Hill and her magnificent Parthenon as she is illuminated by hundreds of twinkling lights. Filopappou monument, Mount Lycabettus, and the illuminated Kallimarmaro can also be seen from up here.
Best of all? Because Skyfall and the Mets district are slightly away from the city centre, you never see any tourists here.
So, while A for Athens and Athens 360 may be overcrowded with travellers, the Athenians keep the best rooftop bars in the city to themselves. You can stop by here for dinner or drinks, as you prefer.
The menu showcases dishes that place a contemporary twist on Mediterranean classics. Looking for a taste of Italian?
Consider ordering up a plate of gnocchetti: handmade potato gnocchi prepared with tomato cream, fresh basil, and creamy burrata cheese. Interested in sampling Cretan delicacies? Share a dakos cheese salad with your dinner companions.
Odeon cafe (Mark. Mousourou 19,) is an intimate cafe set on the Mets’ main promenade. It is so small and cosy inside that it almost feels as though you are sitting in someone’s living room.
This is the perfect place to sit and watch the world go by. By day, this is a great place to have a Freddo espresso.
By night, stop by for a couple of beers. Whatever you order, you are always presented with complimentary snacks and nuts, and never hurried along.
Points of Interest in the Mets, Athens
The Mets, like much of Athens, is extremely hilly. As a matter of fact, some parts of the city are so hilly that they would rival the streets of San Francisco (slight hyperbole).
While trekking up and down the hilly Athenian streets can be tough on your calves, you are rewarded by the views. At virtually every turn, you can see the sun bleached columns of the Parthenon in the distance.
The Mets is a great place to explore if you are into street photography. A few other notable spots to look out for are detailed below.
Ardittos Hill sits on the eastern side of the Ilissos River overlooking the Panathenaic Stadium. This is one of the lesser-known urban hikes in the Greek capital.
The ascent to the top takes you along a short, winding path through the woodlands. Few tourists make it here, instead opting to hike up the hills of Lycabettus or Filopappou.
Ardittos makes a great alternative viewpoint over the city. Its pleasant to venture up here with some Greek street food and an iced coffee and have something of a scenic, al-fresco picnic.
At the top of the hill, there is a tomb that is believed to belong to Herodes Atticus.
First Cemetery of Athens
The First Cemetery of Athens may seem like something of a macabre inclusion. It is the official cemetery of Athens and was the first to be built – dating back to 1837.
It is worth knowing the location of the cemetery as it runs parallel to Mark. Mousourou. Various notable Greek and international figures have been buried here.
Notably, Greek Poet Giorgos Seferis and German Architect Ernst Moritz Theodor Ziller. Their resting places are far from the average – adorned with grand neoclassical and romantic sculptures, or set inside extravagant mausoleums.
The Panathenaic Stadium, or “Kallimarmaro” as it is locally known, sits opposite the National Gardens. This is the only stadium in the world that has been made entirely from marble.
The original structure dates back to the 6th century BC. In 1896, the first Olympic games were hosted here.
The 45,000 seater stadium is remarkably well-preserved. In fact, it is still often used today.
Live bands and cultural performances are hosted here throughout the year. Live AID was hosted here in 1988 and in 2018, US rock band Scorpions performed here as part of their European tour.
A general admission ticket for the Panathenaic Stadium costs just €5. Concessions are also available. Don’t miss the on-site Olympic Museum which houses memorabilia, photographs, and former torches from Olympic games hosted across the world.