Why Do You Get a Glass of Water with Your Beer in Athens?

Why Do You Get a Glass of Water with Your Beer in Athens?

Since I arrived in Athens at the beginning of the month I’ve been to several bars and have often been given a glass of water alongside my beer. I am still trying to understand why this is.

In Italy, it’s normal to get a glass of water with your coffee. The main reason appears to be so that you can freshen up your mouth and prepare it for the coffee to come. I get that, but I have no idea why you receive a glass of water with your beer in Athens. I’m not even sure if it is just a regional custom or if it’s traditional for Greece in general.

I’ve asked a few Greek people about this custom of serving beer with a glass of water, but nobody I spoke to seemed to know the reason why it’s done. One barman I asked about it simply said, “It’s so you can enjoy your beer more.”

The beer in Athens is good. In fact, it’s much better than some of the beers I’ve tried in certain other countries of the world. I do enjoy it, I’m not sure how a glass of water can improve the experience. At the moment I just take a sip before drinking and hope it preps my taste buds in some way. So far I don’t see that it makes a difference and I’m not sure if there is something special I should be doing with the water.

One of the things I like about travel is it opens your eyes to the different ways things are done from one country to the next and I’ve seen a lot of different ways of serving beer. However, this is the first time I’ve been forced to remain in the dark and sit scratching my head. Never mind, one day someone may help me figure it out.

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