Tag Archives: Greek Party Nights

The Boss Bar on Santorini

I like Greece and I like Greek tavernas, they are almost always friendly inviting places and the food is inexpensive and good value and it rarely disappoints. I like the carefree ambiance and the complete lack of formality, outside wooden tables and rattan chairs, check tablecloths, extensive menus and unhurried waiters. I like the cheap paper table covers so you can spill food and drink without worrying about being asked to pay the laundry bill, I like the certain company of scrounging cats and I especially like those with live bouzouki players running through the familiar catalogue of traditional Greek music and always starting and finishing with the obligatory ‘Zorba’.

My favourite Greek taverna, without a shadow of a doubt, was the ‘Boss Bar’ on the island of Santorini in 2004.

It was an untidy little place right on the beach at Perissa and on a fortnight’s holiday we dined there most evenings and when we felt obliged to try somewhere different, just for a change, we almost always wished that we hadn’t and went back there later for a final drink.

The ‘Boss Bar’ really had been an excellent place, the staff were attentive and friendly, the food was good, the beer was cold and the prices were reasonable.  There was always complimentary ouzo to finish the evening (except when there was complimentary melon which quite frankly wasn’t so good) but the place had my fullest recommendation.  On my fiftieth birthday a very substantial meal for nine cost only €85, I left a hundred, the owner refused such a generous tip, I insisted, and he completed our meal with at least €25 worth of complimentary sweets and drinks.

I returned to Santorini on 6th September 2006 but was devastated to find that it had gone, probably because the owner had been far too generous with the complimentary ouzo.

Greek Party Nights

A couple of weeks away in Greece are just not complete without going to a traditional Greek food and entertainment night and this really must include participative Greek dancing.  A real enthusiast will prepare for such an evening by purchasing a CD of Greek music to practice beforehand but this is not strictly necessary and all you really need to be able to do is to recognise the opening chords of ‘Zorba’.

What you really need to do to get ready for a Greek night is:

  • Abandon high culinary expectation
  • Prepare yourself for copious amounts of cheap retsina
  • Be prepared to make a complete arse of yourself on the dance floor
  • Have your travel insurance documents handy, as they will be needed at the hospital.

In ancient Greece, dancing was believed to be the gift of the gods. Sacred dances were held as offerings to the deities, as commemorations of key events, and as a way of keeping communities together. Dancing was also taught to soldiers as a crucial part of their military training, especially in Athens and Sparta.

Proper Greek nights will have real musicians with bouzouki and accordion players as these will play the best music and the ones to be avoided are those with electric organs because these are simply not authentic.

Most Greek dances are danced in a line and the line moves generally to the right and the person on the end with their right hand free is the leader.  Everyone else follows the leader who calls the steps that can be quite complicated.  Beginners are supposed to join the line at the end and it is considered bad manners to barge into the middle.  One of the most common dances at Greek party night is called the Zembekiko, or drunkard’s dance. This one is easy because it has no specific steps and involves stumbling around precariously to the rhythm of the music. In the Zembekiko there are several dancers down on one knee clapping around a particular dancer, and then they’ll swap places now and again. There are no rules. You can dance alone or join the clapping for someone else. As long as people are having fun, that is just fine.

The best Greek night that I have been to was in Mykonos in 2005, which was held in a rustic bar in a village in the hills and as well as the food and the wine and the dancing also had table dancing, setting fire to the floor with lighter fuel dancing and plate smashing.  Breaking plates is linked with the Greek concept of kefi, which is the spirit of joy, passion, enthusiasm, high spirits, or frenzy.  Some say that it wards off evil spirits. Others maintain that breaking plates symbolises good luck (especially for potters I should imagine).  Whatever it means it is a lot of good fun.

Breaking plates like this is now considered a dangerous practice due to flying shards, and perhaps also because of intoxicated tourists who have poor aim and may hit innocent bystanders. It is officially discouraged and in Greece, as well as in the United Kingdom, a bar or restaurant that wants to do it requires a license.   Tucked away in the hills, I doubt if this place had a license but it didn’t last long and they very quickly substituted the plates with paper napkins to throw around.  Mind you if you think plate smashing is dangerous in the old days they used to throw knives at the dancers feet as a sign of respect and manhood.  This was a bit reckless and not surprisingly, due to countless injuries, that tradition gradually changed to the present-day flower throwing alternative, which is a bit pansy but a whole lot safer.

After the traditional meal of lamb washed down with razor blade wine we watched the locals perform the dances correctly and then we were all unleashed onto the dance floor with a frenzy of high kicks and waving arms as we danced with total disregard for the Greek heritage and culture that these dances are supposed to represent.  What great fun it was! Goodness knows what the traditionalists thought of it all.  Thank goodness that the Greeks are most tolerant people. OPA!

Greek Island Hopping 2006

Greek Islands I have visited

A Life in a Year – 20th July, Greek Party Nights

 

A couple of weeks away in Greece are just not complete without going to a traditional Greek food and entertainment night and this really must include participative Greek dancing.  A real enthusiast will prepare for such an evening by purchasing a CD of Greek music to practice beforehand but this is not strictly necessary and all you really need to be able to do is to recognise the opening chords of ‘Zorba’

What you really need to do to get ready for a Greek night is:

  • Abandon high culinary expectation
  • Prepare yourself for copious amounts of cheap retsina
  • Be prepared to make a complete arse of yourself on the dance floor
  • Have your travel insurance documents handy, as they will be needed at the hospital.

In ancient Greece, dancing was believed to be the gift of the gods. Sacred dances were held as offerings to the deities, as commemorations of key events, and as a way of keeping communities together. Dancing was also taught to soldiers as a crucial part of their military training, especially in Athens and Sparta. 

Proper Greek nights will have real musicians with bouzouki and accordion players as these will play the best music and the ones to be avoided are those with electric organs because these are simply not authentic.

Most Greek dances are danced in a line and the line moves generally to the right and the person on the end with their right hand free is the leader.  Everyone else follows the leader who calls the steps that can be quite complicated.  Beginners are supposed to join the line at the end and it is considered bad manners to barge into the middle.  One of the most common dances at Greek party night is called the Zembekiko, or drunkard’s dance. This one is easy because it has no specific steps and involves stumbling around precariously to the rhythm of the music. In the Zembekiko there are several dancers down on one knee clapping around a particular dancer, and then they’ll swap places now and again. There are no rules. You can dance alone or join the clapping for someone else. As long as people are having fun, that is just fine.

The best Greek night that I have been to was in Mykonos in 2005, which was held in a rustic bar in a village in the hills and as well as the food and the wine and the dancing also had table dancing, setting fire to the floor with lighter fuel dancing and plate smashing.  Breaking plates is linked with the Greek concept of kefi, which is the spirit of joy, passion, enthusiasm, high spirits, or frenzy.  Some say that it wards off evil spirits. Others maintain that breaking plates symbolises good luck (especially for potters I should imagine).  Whatever it means it is a lot of good fun. 

Breaking plates like this is now considered a dangerous practice due to flying shards, and perhaps also because of intoxicated tourists who have poor aim and may hit innocent bystanders. It is officially discouraged and in Greece, as well as in the United Kingdom, a bar or restaurant that wants to do it requires a license.   Tucked away in the hills, I doubt if this place had a license but it didn’t last long and they very quickly substituted the plates with paper napkins to throw around.  Mind you if you think plate smashing is dangerous in the old days they used to throw knives at the dancers feet as a sign of respect and manhood.  This was a bit reckless and not surprisingly, due to countless injuries, that tradition gradually changed to the present-day flower throwing alternative, which is a bit pansy but a whole lot safer.

After the traditional meal of lamb washed down with razor blade wine we watched the locals perform the dances correctly and then we were all unleashed onto the dance floor with a frenzy of high kicks and waving arms as we danced with total disregard for the Greek heritage and culture that these dances are supposed to represent.  What great fun it was! Goodness knows what the traditionalists thought of it all.  Thank goodness that the Greeks are most tolerant people. OPA!

Greek Island Hopping 2006

Greek Islands I have visited