Ios is an island that comes to life after dark. I mean, the beachfront daylight hours are fairly epic themselves. But people don’t really come to Ios for the paddleboarding. It’s a nice distraction from the hangovers, sure. But for the most part, backpackers flock to Ios for one undeniable reason — to get their debauchery on.
As some of you may know, I consider myself somewhat of a connoisseur of world party scenes. So obviously, in my role as an online alcohol anthropologist, I had no choice to but to take a pulse on Ios’s nightlife scene. For research, guys. The things I do for science!
Due to the irresistible lure of Mylopotas Beach, I never once saw Ios’s town center, Chora, before dusk — and I’m not even going to apologize. However, I found myself there each of our three nights on the island to have dinner, go for a cobblestone wander, party my face off, or some combination of all three. One restaurant I’d be remiss not to mention is Sawadee, a chic and relatively affordable Thai restaurant — the first I’d seen in my weeks in Greece.
After dinner it would be time to drop all pretense of civility and hit the town, hard. Now, this is the Ios photo one might send their mother:
Yet this is the Ios photo that gives a much more realistic representation of what goes on in European summer party towns like this:
And in true Contiki fashion, even the guides got in on the fun. Have I mentioned how much I adored and admired our guides Ed and Paola? I heard a few people on the trip remarking that they had the world’s greatest “dream jobs,” and while I agree it’s a great gig, there is no denying these two worked their bums off to make sure all their charges had the vacation of a lifetime.
I don’t think there’s much I could say to explain a night out in Ios as well as these random snaps that I found on my memory card after a few hours of handing over my camera and unleashing it onto my fellow Contikiers.
One genius marketing aspect of the Ios nightlife scene was Singlet Syndrome — it seemed almost every single establishment we entered had a deal where you bought seven shots and after downing them all consecutively, you were given a bar branded singlet (or hat, in some cases) to commemorate your achievement. At 25€ a round and the boys in our group heading home with an average of eleven singlets each, I think it’s safe to say our Contiki tour fed the families of several Ios bar owners that weekend.
Plus, it made for some seriously entertaining photos.
While we mainly bar-hopped aimlessly into wherever caught our eye, I did develop a few fast favorites. We tended to start the night at Fun Pub, where there was life-size Jenga, occasional karaoke, and a general upbeat atmosphere to kick things off. Lost Boys was a tucked away gem that seemed to have a portal hole leading to Brooklyn hidden away somewhere, based on the amount of bearded hipsters milling about. Plus, they had beerpong.
I never really got a taste for Slammer Bar, where the signature shot involves putting on a helmet, taking a shot, and being hit over the head with various objects. Yeah, that just wasn’t my thing. But don’t get me wrong, I definitely think casual concussions are as rockin’ good fun as the next guy does.
And finally, Traffic Bar was hands down my pick of the mix. It was crowded sweaty fun, the DJs were fantastic, and I was even inspired to complete the one and only seven shot challenge of my own there, earning myself a now-cherished black and gold trucker Traffic hat.
The moment where the DJ coaxed every single person in the wildly over-capacity bar onto the floor, held us there till we were practically pulsing, and then had the crowd spring back to roaring life as the beat dropped was one of my favorites of the trip, bringing back happy memories of Tomorrowland and reminding me why it’s sometimes worth it to stay out till the sun comes up.
Ios promised to be a rocking good time — and it delivered! What’s your favorite spot for guilt-free getting loose?
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