While Romans aren't big drinkers, they do like to have an occasional cocktail or glass of wine after work or dinner to meet up with friends. In Rome, bars come a dime a dozen and if you don't know where to look you could be missing out on some pretty cool water holes during your vacation. For a mixed bohemian crowd, the artsy and wannabees head to Freni e Frizioni in Trastevere where the vibe is very laid back and is considered to be one of those classic watering holes among the young and hipster locals. For a unique night out that you won't forget, book and find the password for entry at Rome's premiere speakeasy, The Jerry Thomas Project. The wine lovers around town usually head to Ai Tre Scalini in Monti or another locals' favorite in the Colosseum area is Divin Ostilia. For a flashier scene, where Italian college students hang out as do young working professionals, Momart in the Piazza Bologna area is definitely the place to be. For a cultural experience that comes around full circle, head to ReD Restaurant & Design at Rome's Auditorium Parco della Musica where some of the most prestigious concerts are held. In the Prati area, take your pick with Il Sorpasso or La Zanzara. Whatever your fancy, 10Best lets you in on its favorite bars around Rome.
ReD Restaurant & Design
If you're heading to Rome's Auditiorium Parco della Musica for a concert, make sure to grab a drink or dinner at the sleek design restaurant right next door called ReD Restaurant and Design. Its interior decor is donned with chic red lighting, and plushy couches and blood red-leather chairs. The best seats in the house though, are outside where diners can sip cooly on their cocktails al fresco whilst listening to the sounds of the bands playing at the Auditorium next door on any given night in the summer. ReD does up a smart aperitivo with stylishly put together finger foods that almost look too good to eat. If you wish to stop over for dinner, their menu includes a modern twist of traditional Italian dishes. BUS: M, 53, 52. (06 80691630)
When it comes to aperitivos in Rome, Momart Cafè; definitely gives you more bang for your buck. There aren't too many places in Rome where you can eat an entire pizza for the price of a drink except for Momart Cafè;. And it's exactly for this reason, that Momart is always insanely crowded. Located in the heart of the university district near Piazza Bologna, Momart Cafè; is one of the best aperitivo spots around town. It's frequented mostly by Italian college students and young working professionals. Come here on any given night of the week and you'll encounter a wait to get in. Why? Well for starters, their generous aperitivo buffet includes wood fire oven pizza. Yum. The owners don't go cheap on the pizza either. They keep churning out the pizza as fast as the customers fill up their plates. The buffet also includes warm and cold pasta dishes, sandwiches, cold cuts and salads. Though the place is huge (three floors), there's almost always a wait to get inside. An aperitivo typically costs 8-10 euros here and is slightly higher on Sundays. Aperitivo ends around 9pm, so make sure you get there before then. Because after that, they begin clearing the way for its restaurant/pizzeria clientele. BUS: 93, 310. METRO: Bologna. (06.86391656)
Conveniently located across from the imposing Hadrian's Temple, is a tiny sleek bar where locals go to see and to be seen. The interior of this venue is modern and fashionable featuring plushy couches and chairs. The walls are adorned with contemporary art and design and fashion books are stacked against the walls. At night, Salotto 42 morphs into a buzzing cocktail bar for the hip, 30-something crowd. Pick your poison from the extensive cocktail list or speak to the bar staff who are only too happy to create a cocktail just for you. Closed in August. BUS: 80, 492, 62, 52, 53. METRO: Spagna. (06-6785804)
New York warehouse meets French inspired brasserie in the heart of Rome's Prati district, right by the Vatican City. La Zanzara's offerings are versatile which make it great for an aperitivo, lunch, dinner or after dinner drinks. The kitchen is open until at least 1am every night with the full menu available at all hours. Try a platter of prosciutto and local cheeses or choose from a wide variety of pasta, meat and seafood dishes. Snacks like burgers, salads and the classic club sandwich are also on the menu plus a vast selection of local and international wines and beer. METRO: Lepanto, BUS: 87, 23. (+39 06 6839 2227)
If a young, professional local crowd - the 'after work drinks' kind of crowd - is your thing, then you'll love Sorpoasso. All-day dining places in Rome are rare and this one's a gem. Grab a coffee and pastry up front, head to the counter for rare artisanal meats and cheeses, hit the cocktail bar any time, or get a table in the light, country-cool style back room for a meal. The food may sound simple, but it's carefully sourced and perfectly executed. The extensive wine list and taglieri - platters of salumi and cheeses - are standout. METRO: Ottaviano. Bus: 87, 23 (+39 06 89024554)
Freni e Frizioni
Freni e Frizioni (which literally means shocks and brakes)is perhaps one of the most happening places in all of Trastevere. The mechanic shop-turned hipsters' bar is especially popular during aperitivo time. The place gets jumping from 7pm onwards and features a mixed crowd of shabby chic bohemians, tourists and American college students. This place does up a mean mojito for about 7-8 euros. During aperitivo hour (7-9pm), they also have a nice spread of finger foods and veggies to munch on. Freni e Frizioni stays lively well into the night as well. So if you don't make it for happy hour, grabbing an after-dinner drink here is also a good alternative. BUS:23. TRAM: 8. (06.45497499)
Ai Tre Scalini
If you're planning to paint the town red in Monti, your first stop should be at the enoteca Ai Tre Scalini. It's THE place to be on the weekends around happy hour time (7pm) and is buzzing pretty much any other night of the week as well. This place is a rustic wine bar that's been a trusty fixed staple in the neighborhood since 1895. The atmosphere is laid back and typically packed with an artsy crowd and/or hipsters. The wine bar also serves light dishes including cold cuts, olives and cheese with your wine. BUS: 117, 40, 64. METRO: Cavour (+39 06 48907495)
Located in the heart of Trastevere, Baylon is super popular with locals and foreigners alike. Its all-day dining format keeps it busy with people working off their free wifi during the day and buzzing with locals having aperitivo or an after-dinner drink in the evening and into the wee hours of the night. The cocktail list is extensive but the bar staff are only to happy to create something especially for you. Local and international wines and beers and at aperitivo time you can choose from three mini menus and a feast of 4-5 tasting plates will magically appear. The walls here are lined with vintage and second-hand books and they are all for sale too. They have a full juice bar with whatever fruit and vegetables are in season and their friendly staff are more than happy to help you choose just the right one. BUS: H, 3, 75. TRAM: 8. (065814275)
The Jerry Thomas Project
Bars are plentiful in Rome but there is one on the Rome nightlife scene that only makes a mean cocktail but provides for a truly unique night out. The Jerry Thomas Project is a speakeasy bar located in the historic center of Rome, right by Piazza Navona. You need a booking and a password to get in but the effort is truly worth its weight in gold. The bar staff are dressed in vintage 1920s get up and are truly a sight to be seen as they mix those cocktails away. The place is small (with a great use of space and even a piano as a table) and you can even smoke if you carefully follow the bar rules. Metro: Spagna. (06.96845937)
The residential area of Monteverde has gained fame in recent times due to its great bars and restaurants which are just a short hop up the hill from Trastevere. One of these is Litro, a chic wine and cocktail bar which specializes in natural and biodynamic wines from all over Italy. There is also a comprehensive cocktail list which is primarily centred on Mezcal (they have over 30 bottles) as well as Italian liqueurs and spirits. The outside tables are the ideal place to kick back and enjoy a drink and some of their delicious bruschette, prosciutto, salamis and cheeses. TRAM:8
About Maria Pasquale
Born to Italian parents, Maria always knew Rome was her destiny, although she was raised in Melbourne.
She has a formal background in political science and policy and now runs her own event management & PR company, through which she manages marketing & social media for Eating Italy Food Tours in Rome.
An unabashed romantic (Rome being her one true love!) she is the creator of popular food, travel and lifestyle blog HeartRome (www.heartrome.com).
In Rome you'll find her walking the streets of Trastevere, checking out the latest bar for an aperitivo or dining with friends.
Read more about Maria Pasquale here.
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