Romvis Street, Athens
Written by Isabella Zampetaki
Romvis is a pedestrian alley where the feel of old-style Athens attracts sophisticated young crowds. Photographer Kosmas Koumianos zooms in on his favourite spots.
Romvis's nickname is Button Street, as the street is home to a number of old-fashioned specialist shops, visited by experienced seamstresses and savvy interior decorators when looking for buttons in the shape of anything from apples to pencil sharpeners.
Nearby are shops that specialise in tulle fabrics, frequented by brides-to-be in the company of their mothers and future in-laws. Kosmas enjoys Romvis for a different reason, however. Its laid-back atmosphere reminds him of the peaceful alleys of the Greek Islands.
Kosmas's favourite place on Romvis is Pure Bliss, a colourful café that attracts young crowds and serves fresh juices, rare teas, and organic Mediterranean cuisine. Especially worth trying are the café's fresh pasta dishes, such as their spirulina spaghetti. If in the mood for traditional Greek cuisine, Kosmas heads to Filema tavern. On its outdoor wooden tables, it serves both meat and fish dishes, washed down with house wine or ouzo.
In the corner of Romvis and Klitiou streets, Kosmas frequently stumbles upon street vendors and buys rare old books at bargain prices. Also on Klitiou Street is Baba au Rum, a bar that Kosmas recommends for its cocktails and other speciality drinks. Its talented bartender mixes unexpected ingredients ranging from paprika and ginger to cucumber and egg. Kosmas also likes Baba au Rum for its retro tiled floor, an element typical of Athens's urban architecture in the 1950s. Also reminiscent of a historic era is bar-theatre Faust, a cultural scene created by Greek actor Aleco Sissovitis in the basement of a century-old building on Athinaidos Street. Black and white tiles, red velvet, and chandeliers create a decadent post-war atmosphere and set the mood for an alternative musical or theatrical performance.
One block down is Saint Irene's square, where trendy new bars open up next to old-style eateries. Kosmas recommends Kostas', a souvlaki joint that has been serving what many consider to be the best souvlaki in town since 1946. Kostas's skewers are just as spicy as his comments. If you ask him for a wrap without onions, he will playfully tell you to either show respect for the proper way of eating souvlaki, or leave his shop. Apart from these quaint snapshots, Kosmas also enjoys the occasional open-air photography exhibitions at Saint Irene's square and in Throubi bar.
A destination-wedding and fashion photographer, Kosmas Koumianos picks his shots in Greece, Europe, and the USA. Kosmas draws inspiration from life's happiest highlights and always tries to bring some of his positive attitude into the picture. His work has won him a series of photography awards, among them the Grand Prize at PWS Convention 2012. Kosmas is considered to be one of the most promising young Greek artists in fashion photography and is always looking forward to the next fashion shoot in New York.