Welcome to Kypseli. This neighbourhood, which had its golden age in the middle of the 20th century, is widely regarded to have started “going downhill” even before the crisis made its first appearance; nowadays, it’s a place where you can almost see as many Africans (and immigrants from other places) as Greeks, and this has created a unique dynamic in the air. It’s far from what is typically considered the pretty side of Athens, but the neighbourhood’s namesake (‘kypseli’ means ‘hive’ in this context) seems more apt than ever.
If Kypseli is the Hive, Fokionos Negri St is the Hive’s royal courtyard (just bare with me and my bee hive/palace analogy!) This pedestrian zone built in the ’30s has lost much of its former glamour, but, when I went there for the first time (embarrassingly recently), I couldn’t help but be completely taken aback by the large, ancient plane trees in the middle of it and the enchantingly relaxed atmosphere.
If Fokionos Negri is the Royal Chamber, SCRY Coffee Bar is the honey throne. I was first invited to this cafe/bar by a common friend (Panagiotis) I have with the owner, Vassilis. SCRY has been around since 2004 but very recently -and consciously- changed its whole philosophy: it is now a cozy third wave coffee bar, which means amazing single-origin brews by Caffe del Doge in a variety of impressive preparations. You’ve never had filter coffee taste this good.
Kypseli is worth a shot – and not just of the finest espresso.