Freni e Frizioni
Via del Politeama, 4-6 (Trastevere)
Aperitivo: price of a drink
This place is always buzzing and the mixed crowd spills out into the piazza and down the steps. The buffet is huge and offers everything from the standard dishes like pizza, bruschetta and pasta to exotic couscous salads and hearty vegetarian options. You really can classify this as a light dinner and the atmosphere and cocktails are great for sitting around with a big group of friends.
Hotel Locarno Lounge Bar
Via della Penna, 22 (Popolo)
Aperitivo: €8-15 depending on the drink
The bar inside of Hotel Locarno makes you feel like you stepped into a Gatsby-esque scene with dark oak and elegant vintage details. The aperitivo is comprised of high-quality ingredients, creating delicious food to match the luxurious atmosphere. In the summer, the ability to sit outside under the stars while still feeling intimate draws the chic and VIP from all over the city.
Piazza di Pietra, 42 (Pantheon)
Super cool, super central, these guys offer up a great aperitivo buffet and sophisticated cocktails. From 7pm-10pm daily is the bar’s time to really shine; aperitif is considered the bar’s specialty with a wide selection of organic and vegetarian-friendly options. The vast cocktail menu is the pride of the employees; each and every tasty drink costing around €10 is exclusive to the bar. A specialty is the Cuban Manhattan, which uses rum instead of whiskey.
Via Flaminia, 226 (Flaminio)
Aperitivo: price of drink
Tree Bar is one of the few restaurants in Rome completely surrounded by a leafy green vista. This relaxed setting is perfect for a long afternoon lunch, an intimate dinner or late night tapas. Tree Bar prides itself on making fresh bread, wood-oven pizza, and even artisanal beer through its very own agricultural agency: Treefarm. This is the perfect setting for a summer aperitivo with complimentary buffet. Don’t miss their We Like Monday Aperitivo where they have DJ sets with modern jazz, electrosoul and ‘brazilian moods’.
Enoteca Il Goccetto
Via dei Banchi Vecchi, 14 (Navona)
Aperitivo: price of drink
Situated in a palazzo built in 1527, Enoteca il Goccetto is the perfect bar for any aspiring wine connoisseur. Enthusiasts will be pleased to see that the wine list is extensive; they sell over 800 wine brands of mostly Italian and French origin. Their wine by-the-glass list is ever changing, and includes 60 wines of varying kinds. Come enjoy your favorite vino while perusing the cold buffet of meat, cheese, and other delicacies!
Via Ostiense , 68 (Testaccio)
Need dinner, but more attracted to the price tag of an aperitivo? Spinach, cauliflower and grilled onions, cacio e pepe, cous cous, ravioli, and pizza will almost make you think twice about picking up the nutella pizza and dolce. You won’t though. Order the margarita ginger- a lighter take on a margarita and you’ll leave spoiled, knowing you only dropped €10.
Via XXI Aprile, 19 (Piazza Bologna)
Got the urge to feel sophisticated and suave? Huge heating lamps dot the inviting outdoor area while students from the two nearby universities pile their plates high with scrumptious gourmet pastas and breads. Most coveted dish? The wood fired oven in the back pumps out endless varieties of pizza. For €10 you’ll receive an endless buffet along with a drink. Momart Spritz is recommended!
Via Madonna dei Monti, 28 (Monti)
Fafiuche is a cozy, local place tucked away down a less touristy street in Monti. It has an intimate atmosphere that is warm and inviting. The owners are from Puglia and Piedmont and the food is inspired from both regions giving this aperitivo unique dishes like carpaccio with mozzarella di bufala, chicory and fava bean pasta, truffle risotto, and various bruschettine, all of which can be paired with a simple, well chosen glass of wine.
Via Merulana, 54 (Monti)
Aperitivo: €15-18 depending on drink
Upon entering into this famous (and expensive) bakery , you are greeted with the aroma of freshly baked treats. Their aperitivo offers an all-you-can-eat buffet and, on the strength of one drink, you can choose from a wide array of gourmet breads, finger foods, crostini, bruschette and pizza; don’t miss their pizza con fiori di zucca (zucchini flower pizza).
Pastificio San Lorenzo
Via degli Ausoni, 7 (San Lorenzo)
This ex-traditional pasta factory has been transformed into an artistic initiative with a chic eatery and cosmopolitan menu. The restaurant looks like an elegant old-time dance hall, with a minimalist bar area for Aperitivo (a tasteful plate of tapas with a glass of wine or a cocktail) and open dining space. Quality is key here so this place is great for a splurge, with select ingredients meant to rediscover traditional methods in innovative ways.
Gusto al 28
Piazza Augusto Imperatore, 28 (Via del Corso)
Aperitivo: € 10
Gusto is a trendy culinary emporium near Piazza del Popolo, a smart option for anyone who finds themselves in the city center and wants to avoid tourist bars. The aperitivo is excellent, arguably one of the best in town: pasta, lasagna, pizza, hot dogs and fried snacks galore all to be enjoyed with their delicious cocktails and wine list.
Piazza Cavour, 21 (Prati)
Facing one of Rome’s grandest piazzas, this bar is a warm welcome when off the downtown path. Quaint and comfortable, their aperitivo is generous but all bite-sized. The crowd is a nice mix of locals and visitors, and the staff is friendly and accommodating. The space is slim, so get there early! Great for couples, small crowds, or solo.
La Zanzara Bistrot
Via Crescenzio, 84 (Prati)
Just down the street from St. Peter’s, the stylish La Zanzara is perfect for an early evening soiree. The aperitivo is second to their liquid concoctions, as they pride themselves on their bar skills (try their Bloody Mary!) But the chef keeps the kitchen fresh by exploring American, Asian and the best of Italian ingredients which are translated into a rich spread for any empty stomach. Great outdoor seating.
Abitudini e Follie
Via Pavia, 28 (Policlinico)
A friendly neighbourhood restaurant, well worth a visit just for their lavish aperitivo. Little brioche sandwiches are stuffed with good quality hams and cheeses, vegetables are presented beautifully with mozzarella and sometimes there is even seafood. The staff are delightful and generous. There is always a lovely vibe.
Via Ostiense, 182/a (Ostiense)
T-bar is all about the space. With a generous open terrace and plenty of outdoor seating, this crew pride themselves on their fun cocktails, abundant buffet, and their chic, laid-back vibe. The music here is eclectic, too – expect everything from house, to 80s, to rock.
Piazza Giuditta Tavani Arquati, 114 (Trastevere)
Aperitivo: € 7
A charming wine bar, nostalgic for Paris and the lost generation, this bar is the perfect place for a date and a welcome bar of quality in often-mediocre Trastevere. Candlelit and framed by boozy bottles of red, pick a corner and tell the knowledgeable waitress what wine you would like and she will surely match your desires. The bar is lined with celebratory plates piled high with pizza bianca panino, savoury pastries and other snacks. A favourite.
Contributors: Angela Gleason, Margaux MacNeil, Sarah Featherby