Saturday, February 16, 2008
Nixon: my favourite haunt in Athens
Everyone has a favourite place to go out at night. If, like me, one travels to other cities regularly for work, they create a sense of home away from home to you, making you feel at ease as soon as you enter, taking away your exhaustion and angst, relaxing you and making your night fantastic.
Nixon is such a place for me. The bar/restaurant/cinema that Grigoris Stefanidis and his partners have opened at Agisilaou 61B at Kerameikos in Athens, is one of the most elegant places to go out on any night. Great owners, great DJs, great personnel and great people make up a very exciting combination. The inspiring surroundings of course play a major part in the recipe.
The décor features walls painted in deep green, combined with old red leather couches brought in from antique shops, as are most of the things in the establishment. The wall lighting fixture is from the Hilton Athens hotel (before its renovation) as well as two big silver frames with President Nixon's photographs hanging on the walls. Other Nixon memorabilia decorate the place, subtly reminding you the origin of the bar's name.
The big Art Deco chandelier is defining the space, hanging in the centre of the dining area. The ceiling is very high, differentiating the bar from most of its contenders, making the visitor feel more comfortable, even when the place is packed with people.
On the walls you can see some photographs that looked like Nan Goldin's to me, but I might be mistaken. The big bar with the glasses hanging from a metal frame above it attracts a big crowd but the same goes for the DJ booth opposite, especially when friend Makis Papasimakopoulos spins his wild music choices.
The wine list is impressive and the menu is small but great, with the Nixon burger the most enticing choice. It is also open from 13.00 on Sundays for brunch, while kids (big and small) can watch cartoons in the Screening Room. What? A Screening Room?
The "secret" of Nixon is it's Screening Room: a cinema room right next to the main room, all red walls, with big green couches, where you can watch unusual films from all over the world. The latest project was the Psarokokkalo film festival, with great success.