When it comes to nightlife, there’s no place like Rome. That's right Dorothy. You’re not in Kansas anymore. Here in the Ancient City, the problem isn’t about searching for something to do at night. Rather, the dilemma is narrowing down your choices.
Where to go for drinks — Photo courtesy of Goldmund100
Going for an aperitivo is the perfect option for those looking for something a little more laid back. An aperitivo or aperitif is a before dinner drink that’s served at a bar of cafè and is typically accompanied by finger foods. It’s a bit like the American version of Happy Hour, only the focus is not on 2-for-1 drinks. Rather in Italy, it’s about the good conversation with friends over a glass of wine and the food.
The tradition, originally started in Milan and later moved its way down to Rome where locals have made it asbolutely trendissimo. Most places that offer ‘aperitivo time’ do it between 7 and 9pm. Typcially, the cost ranges anywhere from €7-€12.
Some of the most popular aperitivo hot spots are Fluid (Via del Governo Vecchio 46/47), a stylish little bar with ice cubed chairs and psychedelic decor located near Piazza Navona. In Trastevere, Freni e Frizioni (Via del Politeama, 4) which means literally shocks and brakes, is happening among artsy locals, bohemians, and the American college crowd. The mechanic shop turned bar whips up a mean mojito. It’s located in a little piazza where the growing crowd tends to spill out into, as the night goes on.
On the other side of town, there are two cool bars located near Italian universities La Sapienza and LUISS. The first is Momart cafè (Viale XXI Aprile, 19), a restaurant/bar with red sleek furnishings and loads of seating area both inside and out. Not only are the cocktails good here, but so is the food, especially their wood oven pizza.
The second place, Numbs (Corso Trieste, 150) is a big hit with people thanks to their delicious fruity cocktails and generous buffet selection. The crowds at both Numbs and Momart are almost strictly Italian and because of its close proximity to the universities and businesses in the area.
For those looking to paint the town red and dance the night away, your only problem is picking which place to go to. Testaccio is the heart of the nightlife district for Italians on the weekends. Among the most popular discoteche (dance clubs) is Akab (Via Monte Testaccio, 69) where in the early evening one can listen to live rock and jazz music. After 11pm, the music changes to house and dance music. Others include the wild Coyote Bar (Via Monte Testaccio, 48) popular among the twenty-somethings crowd; Radio Londra (Via Monte Testaccio, 67) and L’Alibi (Via Monte Testaccio, 40), a gay nightclub also featuring dance and house music. Most of these places stay strong until about 4am.
Back in the centro storico area, on Fridays and Saturdays, there are a number of dance clubs growing extremely popular. Fast becoming the it-girl on the Roman nightclub scene is Shari Vari Playhouse (Via di Torre Argentina, 78). The club, which was formerly known as the Supper Club, is huge. It has three levels of rooms to choose from, featuring hip-hop, retro, house and dance music. Much smaller but also a favorite, especially among foreigners is La Maison (Vicolo dei Granari, 3). Meanwhile, Cabala (Via dei Soldati, 25) is a bit hit on Thursday nights.