Where to Drink in Genoa

Piazza Lavagna, 19, 16123 Genova GE, Italy
Glo Glo Bistro is a true hidden gem in Genoa - tucked way back into a slightly sketchy piazza off of the historic Vico Lavagna. Although it looks somewhat run-down from the outside, the inside is beautifully renovated, and they have an extensive wine list to choose from. You absolutely must come for apertivo, as they have one of the most delicious ‘snack’ plates in all of town - seriously, the platters brought to your table are heaped so full with delicious bites of focaccia and cheese and chips that you will not need to spend a penny on dinner.
Salita Pollaiuoli, 43/R, 16123 Genova GE, Italy
Caffe degli Specchi has a wonderfully warm feeling inside, so it’s easy to feel comfortable sliding up to the bar and standing with the locals while you drink your morning cappuccino. Or, take your time enjoying your drink on the wooden porch out front while overlooking the crowds moving towards work in the small piazza below. Either way, the coffee here is rich and dark, so make sure you ask for ‘zucchero’ if you like yours slightly sweeter!
Via di Fossatello
Since 1880, Amaretti di Voltaggio has been serving coffee, pastries, and liquor in this gorgeous shop a few blocks from Porto Antico. The shop/bar opens at 8am, so come early for a table outside (the people watching along this street is superb), and order a cafe correcto if you are feeling adventurous (they will put a shot of liquor into your coffee, so be ready), or just stick with the tried-and-true cappuccino for the most authentic Genovese morning.
Via di S. Sebastiano, 6, 16123 Genova GE, Italy
Requiring some expert navigating through the graffiti-covered back alleys of town, it’s not easy to find the restaurant/pub Osteria del Sole. But like most tricky things in life, this one’s worth it in the end. Lorenzo, the owner, has just recently returned to Genoa to open Osteria Del Sole after 13 years of running restaurants in New York City (thus, he speaks incredible English), and brings a metropolitan feel to his space (I love the couches in the front). Come early to grab a seat at the bar (a real rarity in Genoa). With a great liquor cabinet, feel free to order your favorite cocktail, and then stay for dinner. Lorenzo has a fabulous kitchen.
Campetto, 8, 16123 Genova GE, Italy
Cocktails are not a huge part of the Italian culture, especially not those involving tequila. But at Bar Les Rouges, the three brothers who own the bar mix up one amazing margarita (They even come to your table asking you to sample which salt you want on the rim. Go for the smoked one, it’s perfection!). Housed in a dimly lit and slightly crumbling 16th-century palace, this is one of the most romantic spots in town—a perfect date night out.
98 Piazza di Soziglia
Founded by four Swiss brothers mistakenly abandoned in Genoa in 1826, Fratelli Klainguti celebrates their love of all things pastry, and to this day the place serves some of the most delicious breakfast treats in town, alongside cups of steamy cappuccino. Verdi himself loved Klainguti—with his opera Falstaff named in honor of the delicious treat he enjoyed there!
11 Via Garibaldi
Pop by the Strada Nuova in the early morning for a cappuccino in the sunshine between the beautiful palaces. With a few coffee bars to choose from, you can always find a small table outside to enjoy the passersby as they head to open their shops and catch their buses. (Personally, I love the M cafe and bar inside the Palazzo Rosso, but there are plenty to choose from!)
16123 Genoa, Metropolitan City of Genoa, Italy
With a massive apertivo buffet, stop by Storico for the cheapest dinner/drinks combo in town (and delicious, to boot!). For 7 euros, get a cocktail or a glass of wine, and fill your plate as many times as you like from the buffet of warm snacks—focaccia, pizza, pasta dishes, cold salads, and chips are always found on the “menu”! Make sure you sit outside, though, to get the best view of the people milling about in the beautiful Piazza de Ferrari.
r, Via Fieschi, 29, 16121 Genova GE, Italy
Stop by Soli DOC cafe for an evening Spritz in the courtyard of the Doge’s Palace. Serving a full menu of wine (including the delicious Italian sparkling wine, Prosecco), the cafe also has quite an extensive beer and cocktails list. With delicious snacks brought table-side, sit outside to watch the sunset cast its golden hue over the ancient city.
Piazza Giacomo Matteotti, 84R, 16123 Genova GE, Italy
Take your morning coffee in the sunshine, shaded by the the Palazzo Ducale. With quite a few tables, Douce does a busy morning cappuccino/focaccia business, so you can also come later in the afternoon (when it’s slightly warmer) to make sure you get an alfresco seat. Just make sure you don’t order a cappuccino after 10am—the Genovese are likely to laugh at you. It’s espresso or nothing at that point!
Piazza Corvetto, 3 r, 16122 Genova GE, Italy
Founded in 1867, Cafe Mangini is a gorgeous homage to the literary and artistic ‘salons’ of Genoa‘s past: stucco ceilings, art-nouveau mirrors, and a checkerboard floor that has lasted for nearly 150 years. Located at the end of the beautiful shopping street, Via Roma, Cafe Mangini offers a beautiful setting for a delicious post-shopping cappuccino, especially when paired with a slice of crostata pinoli (a pine nut and almond paste tart).
Via Giuseppe Garibaldi, 147, 16032 Camogli GE, Italy
Camogli is a quick 30-minute train ride out of Genoa, making it easy for an evening out for cocktails and dinner. Leave from Brignole Station, and arrive in Camogli by 6:30pm so that you can get a seaside table at Bar Auriga for a perfect Aperol Spritz as the sun sets and the waves crash in.
Salita di Portafico
If you are looking for a super modern, contemporary cocktail bar in Genoa, head to Mua just a few blocks away from Piazza Ferrari. With super sleek white leather couches, you almost feel like you are not even in Genoa anymore. And while the food isn’t anything to write home about, they have an extensive cocktails menu - including my favorite, the Raspberry Mule. My suggestion is to have a few drinks with the friendly bartender, and then move on to a nearby osteria for dinner later in the evening.
Via Corsica, 4, Genoa
While many Italian hotels rest on the country’s historic laurels by harking back to bygone eras, from the opulence of the Renaissance to the sleek design heaven of the 1960s, the Meliá Génova—itself an art deco icon—is confident enough to stride straight into contemporary decor. Originally a steel manufacturer’s headquarters, long known as the luxe Bentley Hotel, its geometric lines and burnished metals evoke midcentury styles. But the hotel is undeniably modern and understated, with its bright and airy rooms, designer furnishings, abstract artwork, and luxurious touches like hot tubs on balconies. The serene, Zen-inspired subterranean pool and spa area demonstrates the Meliá’s fearlessness in breaking from Italian Riviera traditions, a fact only reinforced by the sultry restaurant and bar, which serves Spanish, French, and Greek cuisine—near heresy in a country that prides itself on its excellent food. But the bets have paid off: not only does the Meliá attract glamorous out-of-towners, but even the locals know it’s one of the hottest spots in town, as evidenced by the lively scene found in the bar each night.
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