Did Ancient Greece Have Bars?

If you’re a history buff or someone who’s interested in ancient civilizations, you may have wondered whether Ancient Greece had bars where people could socialize over drinks. In this article, we’ll explore the drinking culture of Ancient Greece and whether bars existed during that time.

The Drinking Culture of Ancient Greece

Drinking was an important part of the social life in Ancient Greece. The Greeks believed that drinking together helped to build friendships and forge alliances.

Wine was the most popular drink in Ancient Greece, and it was often mixed with water before being served. This diluted wine was called “krasis” and was typically served in communal bowls.

Drinking parties were a common occurrence in Ancient Greece, and they were known as “symposia.” These events were usually hosted by wealthy individuals, and guests would recline on couches while sipping wine and engaging in intellectual discussions.

Did Bars Exist in Ancient Greece

While there is no evidence of bars as we know them today, there were places where one could drink outside of private homes. These places were known as “kapeleia” or “drinking shops.” These establishments were essentially taverns that offered a variety of drinks, including wine, beer, and mead.

However, kapeleia were not always reputable places to drink. They often attracted a rough crowd, including prostitutes and criminals. As a result, they were sometimes criticized by moralists who saw them as corrupting influences on society.

The Symposiarch

In addition to kapeleia, another place where one could drink socially was at a symposium. The host of the symposium was known as the “symposiarch,” and it was their responsibility to ensure that the guests were well-fed and well-hydrated throughout the evening.

The symposiarch would often appoint a “kratistos” or “wine-pourer” who was responsible for serving wine to the guests. The kratistos would ensure that the wine was mixed with water in the correct proportions and that everyone had enough to drink.


While there were no bars as we know them today, drinking was an important part of social life in Ancient Greece. Whether at a symposium or a kapeleia, Greeks enjoyed drinking together and believed it helped to build friendships and alliances.

So, next time you’re sipping on a glass of wine with friends, remember that you’re partaking in a tradition that dates back thousands of years!