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Street stories: “I would like to open up a cabaret”

09 April 2010 / 11:04:40  GRReporter
4917 reads

Emanuela Karastoyanova

“Briki” or “djezve” as we say in Bulgarian is a place for which every young man in Athens who has some respect for himself has heard and visited at least once. Democratic and warm it is like a small room in the center of the town in which the Athenians and not only they, meet. It is not from these days that it has become famous. As one of the owners Alexandros Petrakis tells us “Briki” has its history. It has connected many people in town, it has initiated many love stories, some of which have reached to a marriage… However the most important thing is just one – in “Briki” there is a place for everyone. Here are coming people of all types. For a coffee after work, for a glass of beer or wine in the evening, here everybody feels home “in sleepers”. The atmosphere is artistic and slightly theatrical, and the music is rock, jazz, soul, swing. In some of the afternoons you could drink you coffee with classical music in the background…

“Briki” is a place with fantasy and natural atmosphere. Just as Alexandros Petrakis is, with whom spoke. In his café he met us with a “cheerful” cloth on his head and sun glasses (summer is coming!). He shared with us that for a long time he lived in Amsterdam and he has traveled in many countries in Europe, Asia and Africa. And that he has the habit of coming to work on a … bicycle. Look what else he told us:


About the history of the café:

“The story of the café starts in 1998. This is the year when we opened it here at Mavili square. Before this we had another café with the same name in the Panrati neighborhood, but we sold it. We kept however its name. It was very little – only 25 square meters, however inside it was fun and a person felt as if he was in a bus (he laughs…)”.


About the things that make “Briki” famous:

“There are a lot of places in town where people go. This however is a place “steki” (meeting point). A café and a bar at the same time, where a person feels comfortable and has a close contact with the staff. The people who work here have friendly natural relations with the visitors. The music, the atmosphere… everything contributes for making a person feel good in here. In “Briki” are coming different people – some are coming to have a drink after work, others are making their meetings here… They don’t find false attitude here. We act naturally and we are trying to create a natural and sincere atmosphere”.

About the clients:

“We have clients we know since they were young – since they were 17, 18 years old. Now they are 28, 30 years old. In “Briki” they have met their loved one. Some of them are already married, others have a relationship. Their history is written here. However at the same time in the bar are being written also the little everyday stories of our other newer clients. This is a live story which has its continuance every day. As it is in the movie “Coffee and cigarettes” with Iggy Pop and Tom Waits, where everyone passes by the bar in order to talk for a while with the people over there. It is the same here – people are passing by and talking and their stories are taken out of the everyday life. You could meet interesting people – the bar itself is a social place. Some people are even making their business meetings here”.

About the cafes in Greece from once upon a time:

“Once upon a time there weren’t any places like this in Greece. For those times the cafeterias and bars were more typical. The bars were opening at 22:00 while during the day you cannot drink a coffee as it is today for example. This type of coffees appeared in the 80s. They were born as a need of the people who cannot go out often late at night”.


Most people are coming here to have fun or to drown their problems in alcohol:

“Most people are coming to have fun… I don’t think that what is happening to us, like the crisis for example or some other problems we have are affecting us so much. At a certain point a man has to say “Enough! I am going to drink a coffee and have a good time!” However it is a fact that in stead of having 3 drinks for example, some only order one as they don’t have the money for more”.


About the crisis and the current situation in Greece:

“The difference can be felt in the tips. However this does not bother us so much. We are being overloaded by different things… One listens, listens and then cannot do it anymore. What they did right now with the collection of the receipts for example is madness. We are now seized by a madness, a mania. As if tomorrow the humanity would not wake up. That is why we are trying to do everything fast, to manage to finish and at the end… we close ourselves inside of us. This is the system and everybody enters in it”.

Greece compared to the other countries in Europe:

“We are in a better position when it comes to the climate. If you don’t have money to sit and drink a coffee in “Briki”, you could come to the kiosk for newspapers across the street, take a beer and meet somebody on the street. We know how to settle with less. You could always grab a souvlaki”.


About whether the Greek strives for wealth:

“There was something like this until recently. There was a class of people which was driving around in jeeps and smoking cigars. And now it “cracked”. I am talking about the newly rich Greeks who have the attitude of playing the big bosses”.


The place is called “Briki” (“Djezve”):

„One of the co owners thought of it. We named it like this as it is fun”


About what are the Greeks drinking recently:

Tags: Briki Athens cafe music Alexandros Patrakis
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