Bouzoukia - the best nightlife in Greece
The favorite nightlife in Greece are so-called “bouzoukia”. These are the performances of great Greek music stars in clubs that are specially designed for this type of music.
The performances of famous stars and night outs in bouzoukia clubs have a very long tradition in Greece. Once upon a time bouzouki was played on such occasions, accompanied by breaking the plates. Today, pop stars perform, and instead of breaking the plates, which is officially banned, the petals or flowers of carnation are thrown in the air.
Bouzoukia clubs are all over Greece, so it’s not uncommon for the biggest stars to perform in very small places and on the farthest islands. It is a great opportunity for people, instead of traveling to concerts in big cities, to enjoy and hear live their favorite singers in the place where they live.
Of course, such a pleasure costs a lot, and the more famous the star is, the price of the reservation is higher.
It is interesting and unexpected that tables are set up around the stage, because food is served besides drinks. Usually there is a minimum order per person or per table. Minimum and mandatory order per person starts from 50 and goes up to several hundred euros, depending on the position of the table, but also from the popularity of the singer.
In the last few years, many bouzoukia clubs in small cities have been closed, but if you plan to visit a larger city and want to feel the atmosphere in which the Greeks really enjoy, it’s best to check on the Internet which singers are performing in the clubs these days and to book your table on time.
If the minimum order per table is too expensive for you, then you can reserve a place next to a bar where you are usually required to only order a drink.
If you want a special status, you can also book a table close to the stage.
Bouzoukia nights are a real attraction for tourists, and here’s how the first bouzoukia night ever, after the wedding in Stavros, has experienced and funny described our Jelena Kernalis in the group Live from Greece. It’s not easy to describe the atmosphere, but I think Jelena has succeeded in it.
“How come we did not mention the famous way of entertainment of our beloved country, and one of the reasons why many love Greece in the winter period?
As soon as the summer ends and cold days begin, hundreds of well-known clubs in Greece, the so-called “bouzoukia” or how the Greeks say “mpouzoukia”, are opened. Athens, Larissa, Thessaloniki, Ioannina, Kavala, and many other cities are full of these clubs. At the beginning of the winter each of them has a premiere with the most famous names of the Greek music scene. You can only imagine the table reservation fees and of course, the price depends on the popularity of the performing. The high price of course, doesn’t stop the great bouzoukia fans from going out in their favorite club that night and spending unforgettable time with their friends till the early morning hours. Names such as Remos, Rouvas, Ploutarchos, Gonidis, Karas and many others, and of the female singers Zina, Vissi, Angela, Melina may not mean much to us, but here are the leading names of music scene who attract people to bouzoukia and are responsible for the best way of entertainment in Greece.
Most Greeks just love bouzoukia and when you ask them how it is there, they unanimously say that you have to experience it. Athens is the bouzoukia queen. The party starts there after midnight, but Thessaloniki, Larissa, Ioannina, Kavala and some other smaller cities are not far away from it.
So, long time ago, in 2005 bouzouki club “Kazani” was opened in Stavros. It was held by the boss Bora, the man who is known by many from the Kozi beach bar that he still owns. The boss Bora, as a man in a show business, said: “When the Athenians and Thessalonians can do it, why we can’t? Why should Stavros stay behind?” So the boss Bora opened Kazani. At that time, there was still no crisis in Greece and the Greeks lived high life, so they would spend money hand over fist. In order to book a table in Kazani, it was necessary to order a bottle of whiskey, whose price was starting from 150€, depending from the number of persons around the table. Of course, it was always jam packed.
The same year I came to Greece, where life, actually my husband brought me, who worked with boss Bora as a manager of the club. It was winter, sometime before New Year’s Eve and my dear husband said to me: “Come on, let’s see how it is, I’m working, but it will be interesting.” Of course, I’m a kid from Belgrade who was going out in Belgrade clubs and rafts, so I thought: “Not a big deal - bouzoukia in Stavros! Nonsense. I will not underestimate it, but honestly how am I going to spend some nice time in this village?” but, ok, not to offend him - let’s go to bouzoukia. Of course, he went earlier, and I came later, around 23:00, just like everyone else, followed by his cousins. I dressed completely casual, I thought, “Why to put fancy clothes in Stavros” - ordinary black trousers, a tight black turtleneck - to look like woman, but not to exaggerate.
We entered the club and then my shock - all the girls, women, even the elderly ones, which surprised me, in fancy dresses as if we were at a wedding. Men, too, all dressed in suits, uh, I said: “Wow, where did I come?! These are Stavros people?” Of course, there were people from all over the Volvi municipality, so from all the places until Thessaloniki. Believe me, I’m not exaggerating. Then I did not speak Greek and I asked Dimitris (my husband’s cousin) in Serbian “What is this????” And he says, “Eeee, that is bouzoukia!” and put together all five fingers and kisses them - the typical way the Greeks show enthusiasm.
Music is loud, at the center of the club is stage with the orchestra who is playing live and of course, in the center place is bouzouki, a Greek national instrument that you all know very well. We sit around the table that is close to the bar. I look around and realize there are people from 7 to 77 years old, but literally everyone in a great mood, singing with their raised hands… Not to prolong, the star of the evening comes out, the famous Stella Kalia, I never heard of and start to greet the audience: KALISPEEEERAAA!!! “ and the music is even stronger, bouzouki starts to play famous zeibekiko. The three older gentlemen get up, around them is formed a circle of women and men who are on the knees, clapping the hands, and the gentlemen turn around and perform various figures following the rhythm of bouzouki. People, believe me, I’m in shock! I’ve never seen this before, so for me it was funny and weird at the same time. Immediately around them, the girls with trays full of carnations are coming, they are taking money from an audience that does not throw a carnation by carnation, but the entire tray, and then to poor Stella. They are all happy and still everyone are dancing, the trays of carnation are everywhere and everything is full of flowers. I’m watching Dimitris, who is smoking and through the smoke I hear: “That’s very good,” and he laughs out loud, as I look surprised, so I said, “If you are having a good time, so do I!” My manager runs all the way to ensure that all guests are satisfied and indeed, the party was great. There is no shame, no worries, dancers are changing, everyone is dancing the traditional dances - every dance was “sirtaki” to me, but certainly there was a big difference between the dances. Stella wears a red jumpsuit, you know already how singer performs, she also dances with the audience. Those girls, again with a lot of trays full of carnation, are coming again and throw it all together to the singer. I ask Dimitris, “Is it for free?” And he answers: “Nooooo! Are you crazy, do you know how much does a tray cost?!” Well, I do not remember now, but a lot (I read a few days ago that one show host in Athens spent 20.000€ only on flowers, the newspapers say… not 2.000€, but 20.000€) so now you understand how much the Greeks like bouzoukia.
After Stella, the male vocal comes to the stage, so she could take a break. Rhythm is becoming faster and everyone jumps, some lady take us by the arm and shout: “Ela, pameee, opaa” She could have been my mum considering her age, but she was full of energy. Waiters run on all sides, the stage is full of flowers and trays. I say: “I was going out in Serbia and it was crazy, but this what I saw in Greece, I did not see in Serbia at that time.” I forgot that I was in Stavros and that they were all foreigners to me, we were dancing all night long. I almost got hit by a tray, not to mention all the flowers. They could not convince me to go home… and a bit more and a bit more…
Unfortunately next year, the crisis has started here, Kazani was closed, but I had a nice memory of bouzoukia. Of course, some other bouzoukia opened and the party never ends. What our famous Taško Načić said: “Who does not like carnation is not supposed to live!!!” And you must go to bouzoukia!”