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Where to get the best drink at aperitivo time in Rome



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 a 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 of an aperitivo will typically set you back anywhere from 6-12 euros depending on where you go. Some places like Freni and Frizioni put on an elaborate buffet spread (in their case, completely vegetarian) where you can eat all you like for the price of your drink. Other formats like at Rome's newest hotspot, Romeo Chef and Baker, offer a menu of bar snacks you can order to go with your expertly crafted cocktail (think Asian style dumplings and even mini vegetarian tacos). 

For gin lovers, head to The Gin Corner - with over 100 bottles of the stuff on their shelf, you won't leave disappointed and for a stone's throw from the Colosseum affair, why not try the deliciously adventurous selection at the super cool Caffe Propaganda

Whether it's a quaint wine bar, rowdy hotspot or swish new venue you're after, here's 10 of Rome's best. 

Salute!! 


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Put simply, this is one of the coziest places in Rome for good wine and good food! Right by the Colosseum, you're made to feel at home from the second you walk in. For the warmer Roman nights, there are some outside tables and in the cooler months, you'll want to cozy up and take in the warm and hospitable atmosphere. With a wide selection of wines from all over Italy and very reasonable prices, especially given the helpful service and location, Divin Ostilia is a true find. On the menu, you'll find a small but tasty range of antipasti (from bruschetta to vegetable tarts) and pasta dishes (the gnocchi cacio e Pepe with truffle are to die for). The staff are helpful and fun and always willing to help with both wine and food recommendations.


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 (7 pm) 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




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 1 am 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.


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The latest venture from the brains behind Rome's famed Freni e Frizioni and Jerry Thomas Speakeasy bars, Agaveria La Punta gives you an authentic taste of Mexico in the heart of Trastevere! With an impressive variety of mescal cocktails to choose from, and delicious treats like tacos, seafood ceviche and fresh guacamole, Agaveria La Punta is bound to impress. There are only a handful of tables so be sure to call ahead and reserve if you plan to have dinner, otherwise, swing by at any time of night for one of their delicious cocktails. TRAM: 3, 8, BUS: 3, 75, H.




Drink Kong is more than just a bar. More than a venue. Rome may not have the cool or cosmopolitan reputation of a London, Tokyo or New York but things here are changing. And Drink Kong - the brainchild of cocktail guru, Patrick Pistolesi - brings to the Eternal City a style and concept never seen before. The space sees mixology, food, music, visual art and fun come together. Pistolesi is known locally as the guy who has revolutionized mixology in Rome and with his talented bar team Livio Morena, Riccardo Palleschi and Davide Diaferia; business partners Claudia Gianvenuti, Massimo Palmieri, Richard Ercolani and Ilaria Valeri; and chef Marco Morello (owner of Testaccio Market�'s FoodBox), has brought this new venture to life. In the main cocktail bar, you can drink and eat at the counter and the menu is an eclectic international mix with tacos, steamed buns, dumplings and even scones making the cut. In the Tokyo-inspire hidden bar�', the Ginza Room, private events and tastings take place. There's also the Music Hall with nightly live entertainment and on the way to the bathrooms (hot tip - don't miss them!), there are a couple of vintage 80s arcade games. So you could say, Drink Kong kind of has it all! Open nightly until late, except Mondays. METRO: Colosseo.




Many of the latest hotspots in Rome are New York warehouse style eateries, with quite a few located in up-and-coming industrial Ostiense. Porto Fluviale is a bright and cool space and houses several different types of restaurants: a trattoria, pizzeria, bar and dining room all with the same modern rustic style and laidback feel. The food is great, affordable and local. At lunchtime they put on a large buffet spread and the in the evening there is a lively atmosphere at aperitivo time where you can order "spuntini" or small bar snacks off the menu plus an extensive drink and cocktail list. BUS: 23, 3. METRO: Ostiense.




It's not easy to find restaurants of real quality a stone's throw from the Colosseum, but Caffé Propaganda really sets a new benchmark. This New York looking brasserie slash Bistrot is all small white tiles, sparkly chandeliers and black and white flooring. It has an understated cool and recently restyled menu to match. During the day, lunch is a lighter offering of salads, burgers and pasta while at night, the menu becomes a little more substantial with the first course followed by hearty meat and fish courses. Their Ovo Misu is a play on words and a cheeky twist on the old classic; basically, a tiramisu served in an edible meringue cup. Owners Maurizio Bistocchi, Daniele Quattrini and Edoardo Caracciolo say the philosophy behind their new and exciting format is avant-garde; in fact, they've created an entire menu named Hotel Avantguardia, designed to take diners on a trip around the world with their cocktails and snacks. Behind the gorgeous bar, you have super talented and renowned mixologists Patrick Pistolesi and Livio Morena and the kitchen has a new young chef by the name, Fabio Pacelli who's cv reads like a top restaurants of Rome list. METRO: Colosseo, TRAM: 3


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 7 pm 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.




Opened in 2013, The Gin Corner was the first bar in Italy completely dedicated to gin. It remains today, the only bar of its kind in Rome and boasts in excess of 100 types of gin on its stylish bar shelf. Located within the boutique Hotel Adriano in the very heart of the city, the bar is open daily from 6 pm to 1 am and is perfect for that after work drink or a nightcap, for hotel guests and not. Cocktails start from 10 euro and at aperitivo hour there is a nightly buffet of regional and local Italian specialties included in the price of your drink. The spread includes a variety of Roman-style pizza, cheese and salumi and a selection of ever-changing hot and cold dishes.BUS: 80




The biggest restaurant Rome has ever seen now stands proud in the gastronomic heart of the city, Testaccio. Gourmands and the local food and wine sector have been watching closely and waiting as the only female chef in the city with a Michelin star under her belt, Cristina Bowerman unveiled her new venture (jointly with her partner Fabio Spada, gragnano pasta maker Giuseppe Di Martini and journalist, Antonio Scuteri). Andrea Lupacchini, who has been instrumental in Bowerman's other businesses, designed the ultra contemporary and eye-catching design and interiors. Open all day, aperitivo time is a treat with a huge bar where you can sit and enjoy Bowerman's carefully constructed finger food snacks like gyoza and vegetable tacos to match cocktails by bar boss and expert mixologist Riccardo Gambino, formerly of Roscioli and The Corner. For the restaurant section (Romeo, Chef & Baker), Bowerman with her extremely talented sous chefs Emiliano Valenti and Antonio Giordano, has devised a charismatic and cosmopolitan menu that showcases the very best local ingredients. At lunch, you'll find quick and even 2-course meals, and salumi, cheese and baked goods are available all day at the bar counter. On the dinner menu, instead of the traditional antipasti, primi e secondi (entree, first and second course) dishes are organized by produce � meats, fish and vegetables for instance. Think - hummus and pulled pork tacos to start, cacio e Pepe filled ravioli with apple butter in the middle and to finish? Profiteroles on a soft chocolate biscuit with white chocolate caramel sauce. You won't want to miss this latest hotspot on the Roman dining scene. BUS: 75, 44, TRAM: 3, METRO: Ostiense.


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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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