I had the fortune to celebrate my birthday at a good friend’s bar this year. The Drugstore has two locations in Athens: Psirri (very central) and Exarchia. I decided I wanted to get to know more about the place and intriguing name, so I interviewed Spilios, the owner:
Spilios, you run The Drugstore in the Exarchia district of Athens (known as the ‘anarchist’ area) and have now opened another one in the slightly more touristy area of Psirri (just two mins from Monastiraki metro). What inspired the name—I hope it’s not what I or other readers might think!
The roots of the name are American. In the U.S., particularly during 60’s and 70’s (in some areas they still exist), you were able to buy anything you liked from stores called The Drugstore: such as aspirin to any kind of food, from clothes to books, from music products to alcohol. We now have everything in Exarcheia and Psyrri except aspirin. 🙂
How long has The Drugstore been open, and what was your occupation before running the bars? Why did you move from music promotions to managing a bar?
In the Spring of 2015 we have our 3rd Anniversary. The Drugstore in Exarchia opened first and the one in Psyrri followed in June 2014. As an owner of a promotion company (we still promote live shows with international artists all over the country including Athens and Thessaloniki), I wanted to set up a space where you would have the right as a customer, to play any music you like on the dexxx. Any interested person may book any space to hold any kind of event (even completely private, with strict guest list at the entrance) with zero rent. So other than the alcohol they intend to drink, it’s completely free. The customer can even decorate the space how they like if it’s a themed event.
The tagline for The Drugstore is “Cheaper than staying Home.” How?
It’s the cheapest bar in Athens, maybe in the whole country. 🙂 Furthermore, our policy is unique: “The More You Drink, The Less You Pay”, meaning that the price of every drink you order is cheaper than the previous one and you are able to enjoy pure spirits with 2,5 Euros per glass (the quantity of the alcohol in each glass is 3 times the British one).
The bottles start from only 30 Euros including 1 liter of soft drinks and/or juice. However, if you have more money to spend, customers have the opportunity to discover Vintage & Rare Spirits. Customers can enjoy a drink in the bar, or acquire a rare collectible bottle. They are extremely scarce drinks, bottled mainly during 70s and 80s with perfect maturation in the bottle and references to all international directories. It is worth noting that these are official Greek imports with the necessary control band that was visible where the importer and the Ministry of Finance and the State General Laboratory stamped the cap (under the SW 13/1968 which was abolished in 1993). All bottles are sealed and in excellent condition, also their labels. Drinking these spirits is unique experience – tasting the living history of alcohol.
What about music acts. Do you feature any live bands/guest DJ’s?
We promote many acts and DJs, some at The Drugstore and some others at live music spaces. We also have customers who book the space to sell handmade jewellery and photography, to set up bazaars, standup comedy, karaoke, theater, book readings, etc.
What’s with all the clothes on the walls?
Every little thing you can see around is for sale, even if it’s part of the decoration. The clothes consist, in part, of our permanent exhibition of vintage unique clothes and music t-shirts, which are our imports from Great Britain and Australia mainly.
Thanks for a wonderful evening Spilios! I know my friends enjoyed it too.
For more information, there is 24-hour line for information and bookings dates for your events by calling 6979-709743.
The Drugstore can be found on Facebook
Bookings Events – Central Reservations: 6979-709743, 211-4015779
Drugstore 1: Arachovis 10 & Ippokratous 69. Covered Parking. 8 minutes by Metro “University”, 2 minutes from Exarchia Square
Drugstore 2: Pallas 17 & 22 Miaoulis Square Psirri (Heroes). Open Parking. Next to Subway / Metro “Monastiraki”