Kafeneio ‘Athanasiadeion’


The Greek traditional café (“kafeneio”, pl. “kafeneia”) has always been one of the most fundamental cultural institutions of Greek everyday life. They represent a traditional way of life, the customs, the habits and the institutions of each specific locale. There are many old, historic kafeneia on Lesvos. There are more than a hundred coffee houses with an exceptional aesthetic value on Lesvos and there is hardly any village without a kafeneio in operation since the old times. This is a very short list of such coffee houses on Lesvos follows:

The Ermis Kafeneio is located at the Epano Skala neighborhood in Mytilini. This was an old Turkish store dating to 1800. After the 1922 population exchange this kafeneio was transferred to the Giorgos Spanoudakis Family who had fled to Lesvos from across the channel, from Asia Minor and bought the enterprise from its Turkish owner. At that time the coffee house served ouzo, hookahs (“nargileh”) and coffee, closing each evening at 7 pm. In 1977 this kafeneio was taken up by Kyveli, Giorgos Spanoudakis’ granddaughter, who restored it in its original state. Besides coffee brewed in a hot charcoal sand box, delicious mezedes are also served. The atmosphere in this place is unique and the interior décor and its furniture transports the customer to times long past.

The Panhellenion Kafeneio opened in 1916 and has been one of the historic kafeneia in Mytilini. For decades it has been the epicenter of city life, accompanying the development of the urban class of Mytilini. It has always been particularly luxurious, decorated with leather couches, hat racks and mirrors, and two French pool tables. In the initial years of operation, theatrical shows also were satged on the mezzanine, while there was a radio playing when households had no such appliances. Originally the kafeneio was frequented solely by the town aristocrats but later became segregated into two divisions: one for the city elite and one for the laboring common folk, and there was an actual line dividing the store into an upper and a lower part. After thirteen years of continuous operation, adorning the Mytilini waterfront, this kafeneio now has to close down to the dismay of all its customers.

The mountain settlement of Agiasos has many small open-air kafeneia that have maintained their old traditional village architecture. These stores feature intriguing, bright and surprising color combinations and woodwork on the front panels, the china closets, the ceilings and window frames. Their typically limited and crammed spaces are imbued with countless fragrances, ranging from the typical brewed coffee aroma, hot teas, mezedes, the wood-burning heater or the firewood, carrying the visitor’s imagination to some other, distant but not forgotten era. These  places are worth visiting to enjoy coffee brewed over charcoal-heated sand, try traditional herb teas such as the famous Agiasos “kainari” accompanied by homemade syrupy fresh fruit or seasonal vegetable preserves.

The Athanasiadeion Kafeneio was built in 1902 in the center of the Plomari marketplace. This kafeneio lends its premises to popular social events, political rallies, musical shows and performances while in the past theatrical performances were staged along with film showings.

Region Plomari

Our photography collection

Don't forget to visit!