The Best Bars in Rome

Wine bars, craft beers, cocktail bars: Rome will quench your thirst in the most delicious of ways. Whether you choose to do your people watching at the Stravinskij Bar at the Hotel de Russie, the Jerry Thomas Speakeasy, or a spot far more relaxed, you can’t go wrong. Though Italy, of course, usually puts people in a wine mind, Rome goes big on craft beers at spots like Ma Che Siete Venuti.

30 Vicolo Cellini
At this speakeasy-inspired cocktail bar near Chiesa Nuova, hipster bartenders pour and shake American classics like Manhattans, Sazeracs and Old-Fashioneds in a smoky lounge. To gain admittance, make a booking and come armed with the secret password, a clue to which can be found on the venue’s website. Once you enter, you’ll be shown to a table or barstool, handed a menu, and asked to fill out a membership card. Service can be slow and snarky, but drinks are worth the wait. Cash only.
Via degli Specchi, 6, 00186 Roma RM, Italy
This pub, owned by the Piedmont-based Baladin brewing company and Lazio’s own Birra del Borgo, opened in September 2009 and was quickly canonized as the best place to drink Italian beers in Rome. There are over 120 labels to choose from, ranging from well-known Italian brewers like Baladin and Birra del Borgo to more obscure producers like Lover Beer and Troll; there is also a handful of American beers such as Sierra Nevada and Brooklyn Brewery. In addition to 100 bottled beers, there are anywhere from 20-30 beers on tap. The outgoing staff is happy to make recommendations. The food menu includes salads, sandwiches, potato croquettes, pasta and homemade potato chips.
Via Labicana, 125, 00184 Roma RM, Italy
The Court, an off-the-radar lounge bar with front row seats to the Colosseum, is the perfect place to wind down in Rome. The bar overlooks the archaeological ruins of the Ludus Magnus (the site where the gladiators trained) and offers a view of sunset over the Colosseum, the world’s most amazing arena. The cocktails are the creation of mastermind Matteo Zed, one of Rome’s top bartenders, whose tasty Rising Sun (a gin, yuzu, and matcha cocktail) may well keep you at the bar until dawn.
Piazza di S. Martino Ai Monti, 8, 00154 Roma RM, Italy
Drink Kong is the neo-noir, Manga-meets-Blade Runner–inspired bar created by Rome’s Patrick Pistolesi. A labyrinth of dark-colored lounge spaces, with long bars, neon lights, and harlequin-patterned floors, Kong is both hang-out and experiment. Pistolesi, who has curated some of the city’s best bar menus and is one of the key players in Italy’s cocktail evolution, created an instinctive menu based only on flavors: bitter, sweet, dry. Either peruse the menu for a Kong signature cocktail like “Big Trouble in Oaxaca,” a spicy and slightly fruity tequila and mezcal drink or chat with Kong’s expert bartenders who can craft cocktails customized to your tastes. Or take a leap of faith in the Omakase Room, a Japanese-influenced wood-paneled room for private tastings in the omakase style—your drink will be whatever the bartender chooses for you.
Via Claudia, 15, 00184 Roma RM, Italy
Via Benedetta, 25, 00153 Roma RM, Italy
Routinely named among the best pubs in Europe, this quasi-dive bar in Trastevere has around 15 draught beers from the US, Italy, Belgium, Germany and Denmark as well as a wide assortment of bottles. The staff is unbelievably passionate and knowledgable and can guide you to the right choice for your palate.
9 Via del Babuino
Hotel de Russie’s fabulous courtyard bar is the place to live Rome‘s 21st-century dolce vita. The hotel itself is the preferred address for VIPs and celebrities, so it makes sense that the garden bar is a posh and private Eden. At any time of year, the city’s best-dressed hold court at the outdoor tables, while a seat at the indoor bar is akin to winning the Iron Throne. It’s important to note that, since the Stravinskij Bar single-handedly resurrected Rome’s cocktail scene, drinks will cost you royally. Try the signature martini, The Gibson.
Via dei Banchi Vecchi, 14, 00186 Roma RM, Italy
Quietly inhabiting the lovely Via dei Banchi Vecchi, Il Goccetto (not to be confused with the Italian pro-marijuana organization by the same name) is a secret hidden in plain sight: a cozy, wood-paneled wine bar with 18th-century ceiling frescoes, more than 300 bottles of Italian and French wine, and a chilled-out atmosphere. Come in the early evening to sit alongside locals reading newspapers or playing checkers, or waltz in late to experience the buzz of young, professional Romans who frequent this local favorite after dinner. No matter when you arrive, order the cheese plate.
Via Federico Ozanam, 30-32, 00152 Roma RM, Italy
Monteverde’s vibrant pizzeria and trattoria is an enclave of local flavor—from its excellent menu of fritti (fried starters), sfizi (delicious antipasti), and pizzas to its busy clientele. Owner Giancarlo Casa is a pizza perfectionist, and each month the blackboard menu features a dedicated pizza, often a creative pie not found anywhere else. Beer and spirits lovers will appreciate the extensive libations menu, which includes five pages of beer and a selection of fine whiskey and grappa.
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