Thessaloniki was famous for its cafes as early as the 17th century. Evliyia Tselepi mentions 20 drinking establishments and 17 "brilliant cafes, where musicians, singers, dwarfs, and tellers of ribald tales entertained the customers. They were also frequented by the love-sick, dandies, poets, travellers and literati, who whiled away the days and nights amusing themselves in good company."
By the middle of the last century, the only thing that had changed was their names; one could enjoy a female orchestra from Bohemia playing pieces from operettas in the "Kolombo", or watch a cabaret in "La Turquie" cafe-beer hall, or a pantomime at the "Malik". One could also attend Italian operas and French musical comedy shows at the "Eden", "Alhambra" or "White Tower" theatres and, later, cinema at the "Olympia" and "Pallas".
One could sample Italian and French cuisine at the "Restaurant de Toutes les Nations" and drink imported beer at "Christos's" or "Yeoryiadis's" pubs in the marketplace. At the luxury cafes like the "Crystal" and the "Olympe", the price of a "Wiener melange" included the use of 15 newspapers, 20 magazines and several carafes of fresh water from Mount Hortiatis, while at the city's many clubs, locals and Franco-Levantine aristocrats held receptions, dances and costume balls, or played cards, flirted and occasionally plotted.