The Mykonos battle over iconic Caprice, a chapter ends (photos)

Memories of the iconic club that goes under new management following a long and arduous court battle

George Zisimopoulos, the owner of the building that houses the iconic “Caprice” Of Mykonos, has finally won rights to the venue after winning a long legal battle with the current manager, Nikos Gryparis. Nikos had leased the bar in 1980 and managed to make it one of the best, most talked-about bars in the world, according to Newsweek. The two sides are negotiating the possibility of an extension of the current management of Caprice by Gryparis this summer season, giving the bar one last breath before the new managers take over. 

Zisimopolos, who also owns Semeli hotel on Mykonos, told Proto Thema that the bar would still continue functioning as it has without changes to its basic style or concept, but there would be renovations and some improvements. The cause of the legal battle was so that he could reclaim it and hand over the ownership of the venue to his children who will operate the bar under a new name as the rights to “Caprice” are owned by the outgoing owner.

Despite pledges that the essence of the bar will be the same, the closure of “Caprice” – the club by the sea – marks the end of an era in Mykonos nightlife.

With backpacks and hand luggage, young tourists would head straight from the ferry to the historic bar by the waves, at Little Venice. They would leave the ferry in beach attire and head, like a line of ants, to Caprice where they would dump their luggage at the basement and head for a welcome drink, leaving check-in for much later.

The place is famous for its traditional architecture and decor with the colors, flowers, fruit, paintings and mirrors. Fruit sticks add a dash of style to the iconic Caprice cocktails that had a “magic” beyond the 15 ml vodka, 10 ml curacao triple sec and dash of lemon juice and ice…

Caprice began to operate in 1980 after Nikos and Melpo took over the club from the previous ownership under which they had been employed, they renovated and reinvented it. Melpo was in charge of the music and Nikos surveyed the situation from behind the bar. The rest of the handpicked staff – Antonis, Martinos, Vasilis and George – were all on a first-name basis with the regulars giving Caprice a friendly, familiar feel that was welcoming even to newcomers. Today’s co-owner of the world-famous Nammos, Zannis Frantzeskos, even served a tenure at Carice.

Each barman had his own personal client list. “The kids didn’t work to make you spend more money but to ensure that you had a good time so that you would leave satisfied and come back the next day,” says one regular.

Another regular recalls how each night the waves would come crushing through the club, meaning that everything would be put into place for work the next morning, right down to the fresh flowers.

Clients would reward the staff with large tips. Waiters would get as much as 700 euros each just in tips on a good night.

At around 6 p.m. there would be at least 50 people at the door, waiting to enter. There was a feeling that they were ready for everything… and oftentimes alcohol mixed with sea waves and the devil-may-care feel that Mykonos exudes would inspire a number of situations.

Sometimes there was pushing and shoving for a stool beside the bar causing people to get rowdy. Others would jump on tables and dance. Those who couldn’t handle the sweat, crowds and buzz would seek refuge at nearby bars. Nearby owners were grateful for the frenzy at “Caprice” that would bring people to nearby clubs.

A number of celebrities passed through “Caprice”, amongst them Kevin Costner and Geena Davis that entered as though they were two simple tourists only interested in having a good time sipping on frozen margaritas.