Bretto’s beautiful display of liquors drew me into the place from the busy Plaka area of Athens like a thirsty traveler to an oasis. I didn’t know when I walked in that Bretto’s is the second oldest bar in Europe and has a more than 100 year history as a distiller of unique alcohols. Every bottle you see is a different flavor ranging from Cherry to Rose, and even Saffron!

The original distillery made Ouzo and they have literally pages listing different types, along with fine brandies, wines, and other spirits. Their private label flavored spirits are ONLY sold here (in three sizes) and you may taste all of them, or purchase as many bottles as you wish on the premises. They even sell Cuban cigars here starting at only 3 Euros ($5)! As I looked through the extensive 3-ring binder of choices (clearly looking overwhelmed), the manager, said to me, “What are you in the mood for, this has too many choices; let me choose for you.” I gladly accepted his help and said I would like a nice dry white wine, with a little bit of fruitiness, so he recommended #23 for 6 Euros ($8) which was absolutely superb. Since there are literally CHAPTERS of wines and spirits to choose from, it really is best to ask the experts behind the bar to recommend something based on your taste.

The actual barrels used in the distillery are in the shop, so this place literally has the beginning (making the spirits), middle (selling the bottles), and end (drinking the finished product) of a distillery all in one place.

There is no food served here other than small bites of cheeses, ham or salami (excellent quality snacks), so come in for your appertif or a drink after dinner (they are open until 3am).

They are easy to find, just look for the rainbow of colors lighting up the storefront in the center of the Plaka.