The bouzoukia—flashy night clubs where Greek popular music is performed live—are an essential part of nightlife at Cyprus. Plate smashing is off the table these days, but dancing on them (and carnation throwing) are still going strong, so don't play hooky from the bouzouki.
The word “bouzoukia” comes from the word “bouzouki” which refers to a traditional Greek instrument, a bit similar to a quitar, but with a different noise/melody and a slightly different shape.
When people refer to bouzoukia or mpouzoukia (μπουζούκια), they mean the Greek nightclubs that feature Greek Music and mostly Laiko music. There is no chance that a band playing in a Bouzoukia Nightclub will not consist of at least one bouzouki instrument, since most of the Greek Laiko music includes bouzouki in the melody!
People can go to bouzoukia and hear Greek Live music playing live by a band of musicians and singers, but also to drink, have fun and dance to Greek songs. Usually, numerous flowers are thrown by the audience/customers to the band and singers showing their appreciation for the entertainment they offer to them. In addition, many famous singers from Greece but also from Cyprus sing in Bouzoukia Nightlclubs as guests and as you can imagine, the audience is always over excited.
Bouzoukia Nightclubs have a different design than normal nightclubs and bars. Usually there is a stage where the band performs and in front of the stage there is a dancefloor where people can dance to the Greek songs such as “tsifteteli”, “zeimpekiko” and so on. Around the dancefloor are the tables and chairs where people sit at the beginning. Most of the times customers need to book a table from before in order to have their seats reserved. Front tables, which are close to the band, are always of high demand! Of course, there is always a bar, where someone can enjoy the Live program standing, or on an island bar. Bouzoukia is the favourite place for nightlife entertaiment for most of Greeks and Cypriots.
Why should you instantly say yes if you’re invited to the bouzoukia? First of all, it’ll be an experience you can’t have anywhere else, except maybe Turkey, where it’s not quite the same thing. Second, it will leave you feeling like a true Greek. You’ll be exposed to authentic Greek kefi, a word that’s so characteristically Greek that it has no exact translation. Think of it as an infectious, extremely good mood. You won’t experience cultural enlightenment, but it’ll definitely be a once in a lifetime night. Unless you choose to do it again, of course.