When Daniel Fisher moved to Athens just before the 2004 Olympics, he could not imagine that 18 years later he and his brother would be the owners of the “Australian fun village” in the heart of the Greek capital.
Daniel, whose mother is married to a Greek Australian, migrated to Greece to join his brother who was already living there. They first opened an Australian-style hostel for backpackers and then they created ‘Athens Studios’ that provided accommodation services similar to Airbnb.
It was indeed the customers’ needs that defined Daniel’s next business moves. After ‘Athens Backpackers,’ Daniel realised that there were no businesses in Athens offering proper apartment-style accommodation, a place where visitors could feel more self-sufficient. And that’s why he created Athens Studios in 2007.
“When you have that kind of accommodation, people always ask you for places to wash their clothes, eat, or have a beer. So, our next move occurred naturally,” he tells The Greek Herald.
The two brothers opened a laundette close-by and in 2009 a sports bar in Veikou street which almost immediately became a meeting point for expats and travellers and a place where Australians could feel at home.
“It’s like it’s owned by our customers, not by us,” Daniel says.
More than just a bar
Apart from surf lovers and tennis players the two brothers are sports enthusiasts. When they realised that there were no sports bars in the area, they decided to go for it and created one themselves.
Since 2009, Athens Sports bar has been the place to be for the Aussies of Athens.
Apart from organising events annually on Australia Day, the bar is the first and only one in Athens to broadcast AFL games and the Rugby League. It also hosts a variety of sports events, as well as karaoke and quiz nights.
But its reputation extends to more than sports as according to the owners, there are many people who during the years have met their life partners in the bar.
“People fall in love here,” Daniel says and continues, “when we organise events, you can see Australian travellers or people who live in Greece or in other places in Europe, meeting here with their friends by chance.”
“Now that I have a sports bar, I know that when it comes to sports, there is always something on,” he says.
Daniel receives messages and requests from Australians asking him to broadcast any kind of sports, even some that he has never heard of.
“It’s really important to give people the option to watch whatever they want,” he says.
The Australian community in Greece
Daniel believes that Australians and Europeans are beginning to come back to Greece and to see that there really is a positive dynamic in the country.
“A lot of Greek Australians used to live here [in Greece], but the country went through a really hard time and a lot of people went back to Australia. Now, I have a feeling that Greece is going through a resurgence,” he says.
Apart from the “fun village” for Aussies and expats, Daniel also owns a meditation yoga-organic place in Syros island and a new wine taste bar in Athens, where young Greek wine makers can promote their products.
For almost 20 years, Daniel has been selling Aussie style fun in Greece’s capital. When he looks back to what he and his brother have achieved, he recognises that the most important part of business is people.
“People come here and create their own friendships, relationships and stories,” he says.
To him, this is what matters.