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There are lots of gay bars, cafes, and clubs in Athens, even though the gay male venues by far outnumber the lesbian ones. The scene used to be in Makrigianni and Kolonaki, and the legendary gay bars and clubs of the past remain and are still popular but Gazi has taken over, with the hippest gay or gay-friendly scene. The weekly publications Athinorama and Time Out often list gay bars, discos, and special events in the nightlife section. You can also look for the Greek publication Deon Magazine (tel. 210/953-6479; www.deon.gr) or surf the Web at www.gaygreece.gr, www.greekgayguide.eu, www.gayathens.gr, or www.lesbian.gr. Gay Travel Greece, at 377 Syngrou Ave. in central Athens (tel. 210/948-4385; www.gaytravelgreece.com), specializes, as its name proclaims, in travel for gay and lesbian visitors.

Gay and lesbian travelers will not encounter difficulties at any Athenian hotel, but one with a largely gay and lesbian clientele is 41-room Hotel Rio Athens (tel. 210/522-7075; www.hotel-rio.gr), at 13 Odysseos off Karaiskaki Square in a restored neoclassical building. The popular Alexander Sauna has nice, clean apartments for rent above the bathhouse at affordable prices at Alexander Apartments, 134 Megalou Alexandrou and Iera Odos, Gazi (tel. 210/698-0282; www.alexander-apartments.gr). Below are some selections we have made of the city's more fun gay and lesbian bars/clubs. Also remember that Athens Pride (www.athenspride.eu) takes place in early June.

Gay/Lesbian Bars & Clubs

Alexander Sauna, 134 Megalou Alexandrou and Iera Odos, Gazi (tel. 210/698-0282; www.alexandersauna.com; Sun-Thurs 7pm-3am, Fri-Sat 7pm-8am; admission 9€-15€), is a very popular bathhouse with sauna, gym, Jacuzzi, private rooms, bar, garden, and many events and theme parties. Bear Code Club, 8 Konstantinoupoleos, Gazi (tel. 694/888-3241; www.bearcode.gr; Thurs-Sun 10pm-5am), is a bar/club with events and live performances for bears, cubs, and their admirers. Blue Train, 84 Konstantinoupoleos, Gazi (tel. 210/346-0677; www.bluetrain.gr; daily 8pm-4am), is right by the railway tracks on the edge of Gazi. The friendly scene here is a great place to begin the evening, preferably at a sidewalk table, where you can watch the trains and the boys go by, except on Fridays when the night belongs to the girls.

Group Therapy, 11 Lepenioutou, Psirri (tel. 210/323-4977; daily 10pm-4am), is an intimate, friendly, and sexy lesbian bar, popular with the beautiful, yet attitude-free girls and their friends. Fou Club, 8 Keleou, Gazi (tel. 210/346-6800; www.fouclub.gr; daily 10pm-5am), is a fun place with theme nights, special events, and an attitude-free crowd. Kazarma, first floor, 84 Konstantinoupoleos, Gazi (tel. 210/346-0667; Thurs-Sat midnight-5am), is above Blue Train, one of the best gay clubs in the city. During summer, the fun moves to the terrace (El Cielo). Lamda Reloaded, 15 Lembessi and 9 Syngrou, Makrigianni (tel. 210/922-4202; www.lamdaclub.gr; Thurs-Sun 11pm-5am), has been popular for so long, it has become an Athenian institution. The energy on the ground floor is mostly laid back, while things in the basement get far rowdier. Mayo, 33 Persefonis, Gazi (tel. 210/342-3066; daily 8pm-4am), is a quiet bar with a great inner courtyard and a rooftop terrace with a killer view. Micraasia, 70 Konstantinopoleos, Gazi (tel. 210/346-4851; daily 7:30pm-4am), whose name means "Asia Minor," has a decor with something of the Middle Eastern vibe of the old Greek world in that region (now Turkey). Red lighting, colored tiles, chaises, and belly dancers all contribute to making this an atmospheric venue (mostly for girls). There is also seating on its "secret" rooftop.

My Bar, 6 Kakourgiodikiou, Monastiraki (tel. 210/486-2161; www.mybar.gr; daily 11pm-4am), is a more intimate, less rowdy bar than its Gazi counterparts but just as energetic. The girls have made Noiz, 41 Evmolpidon and Konstantinoupoleos, Gazi (tel. 210/342-4771; www.noizclub.gr; Mon-Fri 10:30pm-4am, Sat-Sun 10:30pm-6am), into the most popular lesbian bar/club in town. With its good music and dynamic scene, Noiz offers the ultimate lesbian party. Sodade, 10 Triptopolemou, Gazi (tel. 210/346-8657; Mon-Fri 10:30pm-4am, Sat-Sun 10:30pm-6am), was the first gay bar to open in Gazi, and it's become an institution, unbearably packed on weekends but always irresistible. S'Cape, Iera Odos and 139 Meg. Alexandrou, Gazi (tel. 210/345-2751; www.s-cape-club.blogspot.com; Mon-Fri 10:30pm-4am, Sat-Sun 10:30pm-6am), is a large club with army bunks, military-style motif, and a sexy crowd; it's fun and very cruisy, but never takes itself too seriously. Monday is karaoke night, Thursday is Greek night.

Restaurants/Cafes

Del Soul, 44 Voutadon, Gazi (tel. 210/341-8169), is an all-day cafe, snacks, and late-night bar, along with Magaze, 33 Eolou, Monastiraki (tel. 210/324-3740; www.magaze.gr). Myrovolos, 12 Giatrakou, Metaxourgeio (tel. 210/522-8806), is a popular restaurant in a large piazza that opens at 11am daily as a cafe. It then becomes a very good restaurant before morphing into a busy bar for girls who love other girls, and their friends. Kanella, 70 Leof. Konstantinoupoleos, Gazi (tel. 210/347-6320), is a good, moderately priced modern taverna with a mixed clientele. Everybody loves the cafe Wunderbar, 80 Themistokleous, Exarchia (tel. 210/381-85577), especially the girls. The popular restaurants Mamacas and Prosopa are both mainstream but very gay friendly.

Beach

Not a typical beach, as there is no sand, Limanakia B is a series of beautiful rocky coves. Nearby Limanakia A is far more popular, with a cafe/bar built right inside the rock and a rowdy, party crowd of teenagers and 20-somethings. Limanakia B is more forlorn and has no such features. Take the tram to Plateia Glyfadas then bus no. E22 to Limanakia (third stop), follow the steep trail down to the water and claim your own rock. The water is beautiful, and so are some of the visitors. Nudity and public sex are common, especially late in the day when men get to know each other in private caves.

Bookstore

Even though Colorful Planet, 6 Antoniadou, Plateia Victoria (tel. 210/882-6600; www.colourfulplanet.gr; Metro: Victoria), caters mostly to a Greek gay and lesbian clientele with many Greek and international works of gay literature, there is enough here for non-Greek readers to browse through, such as DVDs, calendars, gay foreign press, gay guides to Greece, and many other goodies.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.