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.
Recommended for Bars because: If you're catching a show or event at the Auditorium, then Red is perfect for a pre or post drink or snack.
Maria's expert tip: During the summertime (especially around July) when the Auditorium holds its outdoor summer concerts next to this bar, it's often difficult to get a table outside where prime seating is al fresco.
When it comes to aperitivos in Rome, Momart Café; 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 Café;. 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 Café; 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.
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.
Recommended for Bars because: A cool hangout for Romans at any time of year, the cocktails here are standout.
Maria's expert tip: This bar is rather small which means it gets quite packed during aperitivo hour. When the inside becomes standing room only, most people tend to spill out into the piazza outside with their drinks
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.
Recommended for Bars because: La Zanzara is popular with young professionals who work in the area and is open all day and night.
Maria's expert tip: At aperitivo time, the bar staff circulate with snacks and canapes.
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
Recommended for Bars because: Sorpasso is a favorite with young Romans and it's really no surprise.
Maria's expert tip: Get in early if you want a table for aperitivo and for dinner, bookings are recommended.
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.
Recommended for Bars because: A neighborhood and Roman insitution, the years pass, but it seems Freni e Frizione is always en vogue.
Maria's expert tip: If you want a place to sit, this is not the place to do it. While they do have a few tables, mainly people come here to stand while sipping on their cocktails. There's not even all that much room in the bar itself. Most of the action and party spills out into piazza.
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
Recommended for Bars because: This is a neighborhood and Roman institution. Rub shoulders with Romans and drink the night away.
Maria's expert tip: If you come here past 7pm, don't even think about sitting. You'll have to settle on sipping your wine in standing room only as the tables and chairs go by fast around this hour.
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.
Recommended for Bars because: Friendly staff and lively vibe make this a great Trastevere hangout.
Maria's expert tip: Their Hugo cocktails is pretty special!
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.
Recommended for Bars because: This is Rome's premiere speakeasy bars and a truly unique way to spend an evening in Roma.
Maria's expert tip: Be sure to follow on social media for the entry password and don't turn up without a booking.
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
Recommended for Bars because: A locals' hangout, Litro is a chic wine bar and cocktail bar where quality is paramount.
Maria's expert tip: In the warmer months get in early at aperitivo time to snatch a table in the garden.