Many years ago, when I was younger I enjoyed surprises. I imagine most of you enjoyed them as well, since not knowing that your favorite uncle is coming to visit or that you will be going on a special family outing on the weekend were ways to escape the usual everyday school life and the weekly routine. The years have passed and now not every surprise is a pleasant one especially when it comes in an envelope or in the form of health issues of older relatives or friends.
Heineken has now changed how we feel about surprises. For three weeks and until Sunday October 19th it has organized the “City Ride” Five cars “dressed” in Heineken colors can be seen driving around Athens. Through the Taxibeat app we can call one. What do these Heineken cars do? They take us to an unknown, to us, destination after we have picked our preference of Entertainment, Personal Care or an Activity in other words Open Athens. Through a special app the driver is informed of the destination and without letting us know the location he drives us to the “secret” destination. During the ride the driver treats us to a Heineken beer to help us relax. We are dropped off at our destination and a couple of hours later the same driver picks us up and takes us back to our starting point. The maximum number of participants is three adults.
The BeerBartender team decided to try the City Ride and enjoy the Open Athens experience. We arranged to be picked up at a location in down town Athens and be taken to a destination for entertainment. Since it was Sunday, 9:30 in the evening, that was our only option. Being Sunday, personal care businesses are closed and being late Sunday, also excluded other types of activities. Our driver and guide, Giannis, treated us to a Heineken beer and pleasantly chatted with us until we reached the destination that was only known to him. He would return to pick us up no later than 1:30am.
After a ten-minute ride around Athens and getting curious as to where we were being taken (we weren’t able to get John to tell us our destination before hand- we didn’t really attempt too hard), we finally arrived at Keramikos. Outside the Tamarind Restaurant, Giannis put turned on his alarms and told us that we had arrived. He escorted us inside, confirmed his return time and left us to have fun! For those that don’t know the Tamarind is a Thai restaurant. The surprise for the evening wasn’t so much the choice of the Tamarind but seeing my good friend Bassili Theofilakos. He had started working behind the bar at the Tamarind not too long ago, accompanied during the weekends by another friend Gianni Orphanos. Neither of us could believe the coincidence. I hadn’t seen him since the beginning of summer when he left Athens for the season. Before we could even sit at our table we were welcomed by being treated to a Kir Royal variation, the Hibiscus Royal on the house.
We choose our meal from the menu and tried as many items as we could while enjoying our second Heineken beer. Between the nice surprise of the restaurant and the unexpected meeting with my friend Bassilis time flew by too fast. Before we knew it, our driver Giannis was outside waiting for us. He politely escorted us in the taxi asked if we had a good time and if we had any complaints. We did have one complaint (and still do Giannis and Heineken) we had such a good time that we can’t understand why this project shouldn’t continue. We wanted more! We want more surprise rides! We were pleasantly transported from our routine for an evening. Obviously we will be returning to the Tamarind because it was a nice alternative to our weekend plans that was successfully chosen for us by others. How many times choices made for us by others are gratifying or harmless I cannot say. But what I can say is that everyone should stop a green Heineken car and enjoy the short adventure in your city. #OpenAthens with #CityRide from #Heineken.
This post is also available in: Greek
Ο Νικολά Ραδίσης, είναι ο ιδρυτής του BeerBartender και κύριος αρθρογράφος του beerbartender.gr. Είναι Σύμβουλος Μπύρας και επιμελείται την λίστα μπύρας και αρθρογραφεί σχετικά μ' αυτή, στο House of Wine. Είναι μέλος της Ένωσης Μπάρμεν Ελλάδος, του British Guild of Beer Writers και της CAMRA.
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