Where to Head in Rome for Aperitivo: Happy Hour Italian Style

Though the Milanesi invented it, the Romans definitely perfected it. What are we talking about here? Aperitivo. It's the Italian version of happy hour and if you haven't been to one yet, you need to hop on the bandwagon! Rome is sprawling with hip, funky little spots where you can jump in on the fun where the alcohol is not the main event. Rather, it's the food. Don't expect to find 2-for-1 drink specials at any of these places. Italians use aperitivo time to stock up on the food and to have good old fashioned conversation with friends. 

So what is an aperitivo you ask? An aperitivo (aperitif) is a before dinner drink that can be alcoholic or non that's taken usually with a plate of snacks, chips, olives and/or finger food. The price for an aperitivo will typically set you back anywhere from 6-12 euros depending on where you go. Some places like Momart Cafè in the Piazza Bologna district of Rome, really give locals more bang for their buck. For roughly 8 euros a drink, you can virtually chow down on almost a whole pizza. And we're not just talking about any ole' pizza here. We're talking delicious wood fire oven pizza made fresh and churned out constantly for those who come for aperitivo here. While some venues offer a buffet, others serve your drink up with a platter of selected snacks.

For a lively crowd, hipsters hang out at Freni and Frizioni where the action keeps moving well into the night and if you're off to a concert or event at the Auditorium, you'll want to aperitivo at ReD Restaurant and Design. Whereas a laid back evening with some fine wine can be had at the 'Gusto Wine Bar.


'Gusto Wine Bar
Photo courtesy of larryvincent

The 'Gusto Wine Bar belongs to the Gusto family of eateries which takes up practically the whole square (Piazza Augusto Imperatore) where its pizzeria, osteria, formaggeria and specialty cookware store are all located. The wine bar is the...  Read More

When it comes to aperitivos in Rome, Momart Caf� 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 Caf�. And it's exactly...  Read More

San Giovanni/Termini/Colle Oppio

Most people wouldn't think to go to a bakery that specializes in tiramisu; for happy hour. But surprisingly, the King of Tiramisu; in Rome, Bar Pompi now offers locals the chance to try its very own 'Aperi Time'. Though Bar Pompi, located in the...  Read More

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...  Read More

Parioli District

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,...  Read More

Located at the Testaccio Market, La Moderna is as renowned for its fancy and tasty cocktails as it is for its food. One of their specialties include the Italian classic of spaghetti with aglio, olio e peperoncino (garlic, olive oil and chilli)...  Read More

Something new in the old Trastevere can be really hard to find. Terre d'Acqua has all the classics on offer plus a modern take on some oldies. They also have an extensive wine list. Their aperitivo consists of a glass of red, white or bubbles...  Read More

The motto at Frizzo is, 'Where do you want to go today?'. With an international, but predominantly American style menu, they aim to transport you gastronomically. Super cool for an aperitivo, it is open all day and you order on an ipad! It's one...  Read More

Freni e Frizioni
Photo courtesy of ambernambrose

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...  Read More

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...  Read More


Meet Maria Pasquale

Born to Italian parents, Maria always knew Rome was her destiny, although she was raised in Melbourne.

An award winning food and travel writer, in addition to 10Best USA Today she also...  More About Maria

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