On my second night in Athens, after dinner near Syntagma Square, I decided to explore some of the bars nearby. Many of Athens cocktail bars are located close by in the streets surrounding Kolokotroni Street. On my way to those I had searched before my trip I found several more. One of them became my first stop of the night: Bartesera. If I wasn’t walking the leisurely stroll of the tourist and if it wasn’t for the music coming out of the bar I would have easily missed it.
Bartesera is located in a gallery coming out on Kolokotroni Street. Beneath a glass ceiling a few tables face the bar where bartenders prepare a range of signature cocktails. In an adjacent indoor room a few more tables await customers.
After sitting at one of the tables in front of the bar I decided I actually preferred sitting directly at the bar after all, so I relocated in front of the bartender. I gave a glance at the menu and…it was written in Greek! I asked the waiter if he had an English menu but unfortunately he hadn’t. Since I could read the Greek alphabet and the liquor brands were written in Roman alphabet, I was able to decipher and recognize some of the ingredients in each recipe. The bartender provided the missing elements and advised me on which drink to choose based on my tastes. On his recommendation I had a Stardust, a mix of lemon-infused Beefeater gin, St Germain elderflower liqueur, rosmary-infused dry vermouth and grapefruit bitters. I was wary of the presence of dry vermouth as it’s usually something I find too bitter to my taste. The bartender however convinced me to give it a try as he said the dryness of the vermouth was counter-balanced by the elderflower liqueur. While he was quite right about that – the bitterness was extremely subtle – I found the drink too…lemony in an artificial way. I like fresh lemon juice but I don’t like its by-productives. So no meringue and lemon pie, no limoncello nor lemon drops for me, for example. They taste artificial to me. Although I didn’t enjoy my cocktail much I could appreciate it was well executed and balanced. Someone more prone to lemon drinks than me will certainly like it. Other drinks caught my attention on the menu but, as I wanted to hit another bar, I decided to pay my tab and go.
I really liked the indoor-outdoor aspect of the bar, especially the patio. It felt nice basking in the warm spring temperatures and I felt truly relaxed, on holidays! I could totally see myself come here with a group of friends for a chill night out.