This is part one of a series of pieces dedicated to list and present record stores in Athens. I hope the many vinyl fans out there will appreciate and take inspiration to come and check these places out!
Fokionos Records might be the shop with the widest catalogue of new and second-hand vinyl, records and CDs available in Athens. At first sight though, it doesn’t look like a place with such a massive offer- don’t get me wrong, the location fits well with the image record store lovers have of a good and solid record shop, where you spend a couple of hours at peace checking out records, knowing it is not enough to get through even half the store- you realise it once you check the entire collection on the website and scroll through all the categories and copies that the owner, Aris, can’t fit in his underground store. The opening hours vary at times, it's Aris himself that would tell you to email him with information of what you are looking for so that he can tell you if it is available or not and arrange a pick-up date . You can check the online store before visiting Athens, find the record you want, and then, once here, come to pick it up and enjoy the nice atmosphere of Fokionos Negri street just nearby.
This shop is ideal if you are visiting Athens just for few days and only have time to check out the city’s centre and monuments. Located in Ifestou street, right in the heart of Moastiraki’s flea market, Zacharias Records has a great collection of second-hand records and a lot of good deal possibilities if you take your time to go through their in-store catalogue. The shop is on two floors and has a variety of sections: Rock, Alternative Rock, Jazz, Blues, Soul, Funk are probably the heaviest ones, but Reggae, Hip-Hop, Dance, and Classical fans would also find something for themselves. Being in a shopping area always buzzing with tourists and locals, the store might be crowded at times, but it is still worth it to go, if only to take a look at those collection records hanging on the wall.
Underflow definitely distances itself from a classic record store. Personally, the first time I passed in front of its window the words “Oh, a vinyl shop!” did not cross my mind. Instead it was the collection of rare Primitive artifacts and masks that caught my eye. The store sign said closed but the owner let me and a friend of mine sneak in to take a quick look and told us the masks were from a former Greek UN official’s private collection and were displayed, as the shop’s concept was to provide a place that could mix art and music and that would host different temporary expositions during the year. Me and my friend decided that we had already taken enough time from the owner’s Sunday and left the place intrigued. The second time around I found out it opened in 2015 and you can mostly find avant-garde jazz, experimental, contemporary classical records and you can enjoy a coffee or a drink from the bar while checking and listening to records, which does not hurt at all. Underflow also hosts live gigs by Greek and International musicians in their basement/acoustic stage.