Rome's not short on bars or drinking holes! Craft beer and cocktail bars seem to be the new black around town, and visitors and locals alike are really spoilt for choice when it comes to not only finding a drink, but even a good one.
Recently recognized by The World's 50 Best Bars, The Jerry Thomas Project is a speakeasy bar that's located on a side street with no other bars or restaurants, off one of the city's main drags: Corso Vittorio Emanuele. (It's a short walk from Piazza Navona.)
As you turn into the street, you would never suspect that one of Rome's best cocktail bars lies therein.
The Jerry Thomas Project's deliciously sweet pineapple daiquiri — Photo courtesy of Maria Pasquale / HeartRome
Speakeasy bars began operating in the United States in the 1920s and '30s during Prohibition. During this period, the production, transport and sale of alcohol were illegal; nevertheless, a series of illegal bars started popping up.
At these bars, you could have a quiet drink in secret (hence the name speakeasy). Most of these bars disappeared with the end of Prohibition. But for a few years now, they've come back in vogue in cities around the world. About two years ago, The Jerry Thomas Project hit Rome.
You must make a booking to enter the bar. And when you arrive, you buzz the doorbell. A staff member will poke their head through a sliding opening in the door and ask you for a password. (To receive the password, you must visit the bar website or follow them across social media.)
So a booking and a password gets you in, but it doesn't end there. You need to become a member. It breathes all of secret society! For a few euro, you can buy your annual membership on the spot and then get down to ordering your drinks.
The barmen are true mixologists here. After all, the name honors the man himself – Jerry Thomas – who authored the very first bartending guide. He's considered by many in-the-know drinkers to be the father of American mixology.
The space is small and gives off a real underground vibe. Vintage decor means you might even end up sitting and sipping at an old piano!
The cocktails are pure quality, with signature and classic ones on the menu ranging from a pineapple daiquiri to a Moscow mule. An ode to yesteryear, smoking is allowed, but smokers are encouraged to refrain from smoking "all at once." That's one of the many rules you'll find listed at the bar.
Not only does The Jerry Thomas Project serve up some of Rome's best drinks, but it also makes for a truly unique evening in Rome.