Oinopoleion, which means “wine shop,” has been around since 1928 – long before Psyri became popular as a dining and nightlife destination – and has remained a family business. The name of the venue is no accident: the Markou family that owns it has maintained a vineyard in Markopoulo, just outside Athens, since the late 19th century. The space that houses Oinopoleion was originally used as a storage depot for the wines but was also a mageireio, a wine and “cook-house” for locals. Though it has more recently been renovated and redecorated as a restaurant, Oinopoleion has stayed true to its roots, offering a variety of affordable house wines straight from the family’s vineyards. There are four whites, including a decent retsina (which starts at just €2 for a small glass) and a cabernet sauvignon blanc de noir that is only offered by the bottle (still a bargain at €15). Reds range from the easily drinkable Greek variety agiorgitiko to a full-bodied merlot. All are excellent value for money.
The interior of Oinopoleion resembles that of a high-ceilinged Greek taverna, but it’s the small patio in the back – a wooden deck surrounded by wooden trellises covered with climbing plants – that scores the most points. The outdoor tables are set with rustic-looking plaid tablecloths in pastel colors and there is a small lantern at each table. It is a peaceful setting, the only distraction being the small army of black and white cats that love appearing out of nowhere to serenade customers with their constant meowing. The clientele is a mixture of locals and tourists – on any given night, customers might range from German couples who insist on drinking one beer after the other to neighborhood folks who have popped in for a quick bite.
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