Time to be stereotypically Irish and bring you a guide to a big trend in Rome – Irish pubs! Not as tacky as they might seem, they are a bustling focal point for enthusiastic foreigners to meet English-loving Italian locals who love the lively pub environment, something that is missing in the Italian culture. So this February, in perfect timing for the start of the Rugby Six Nations screening in Irish bars across Rome and leading up to the merry mayhem that is Paddy’s Day, I’m here to guide you through what Rome has to offer when you’re craving a pint of the black stuff.
Via del Traforo, 132 (Trevi)
Everyday from 5pm to 1am
“Skip the Trevi have a bevy” or come in for a drink after you have tossed your coin in the fountain. This Scottish owned pub in the heart of Rome has an international clientele but with a friendly local atmosphere. Football, rugby and all major sporting events are available live on large screen televisions. Freshly cooked bar meals, snacks, real tea and coffee. Tennents, Kilkenny, Guinness and Peroni on tap. They also have tourist information. A great place to meet, relax or just chill.
Via Madonna Dei Monti,110 (Monti)
A little lively Irish pub in the heart of Rome, The Surge is a meeting spot for lovers of a pint of beer who pass by the trendy quarter of Monti. Just a short walk from the Colosseum and located in a quaint little alleyway, this place has a vibe that is relaxed and cosy. Live sports events, Guinness on tap served Irish style as well as whisky, rum and a wide range of bottled beers; loads of foreigners and, above all, the chance to enjoy a classic game of darts. The Surge is a pub you’ll feel at home in and come back to night after night.
Via del Governo Vecchio, 51 (Navona)
Open Mon-Thurs 12pm-2am, Fri 12-3am,
Sat 11am-3am, Sun 11am-2pm
Around the corner from Piazza Navona, this place has more of a proper pub feel for me than others in the centre, taking its name from the renowned Irish National Theatre in Dublin. Sporting costumes and props from the historic theatre, it has six rooms over two floors with live Irish music from various bands (Friday 9.30pm) and open mic night (Thursday 10pm). I’m glad to see these guys have a few actual Irish dishes on their menu like traditional beef stew along with a mix of Italian and international food. All main sports are catered for on multi screens too. Look forward to lively ‘craic’ in the evenings.
Via di San Martino Ai Monti, 28 (Esquilino)
Open daily 5pm-2am
Druid’s Den, a short distance from Termini station, makes me forget I’m in Italy when I step through the door. Opened in 1982, it is one of the oldest Irish pubs in Rome. And it’s just that, a PUB, not a restaurant or disco bar. The intimate cosy surroundings let the banter flow easily between punters. They screen all popular sports events and have a regulation dartboard (big fan). They also have live Irish folk music (Monday 10pm) and live acoustic sets at the weekends. Food is just bar snacks. Their sister pub Druid’s Rock nearby hosts live rock music at the weekends.
Via del Collegio Romano, 6 (Via del Corso)
Open daily 12pm-3am
This broody Liberty style building makes a great first impression. Close to the Trevi Fountain and Piazza Venezia, this place takes its name from the famed Trinity College in Dublin’s fair city. It’s got an authentic feel inside with shining mahogany and bookshelves. Being right in the centre though it turns into a disco bar at night, with a huge international crowd. DJ sets play pop, hip-hop, rock and house with karaoke nights too. Two maxi screens on both floors screen sports events. Their lengthy menu has a choice of international pub food and platters. Try their hangover cure, a brunch inspired by the hefty Irish breakfast (Sat/Sun 12-4pm) with a frankfurter and cheesecake thrown in!
Shamrock Irish Pub
Via del Colosseo, 1/c (Monti)
Open Every day from 12pm to 2am
Just up the street from the Colosseum is a hip Irish pub with true Italian spirit. As soon as you step foot in the Shamrock, you know you’re not just in any run-of-the-mill Irish pub. Your first indication is the vast collection of football scarves from all over the world hanging from the pub’s ceilings. Most of them were given as gifts from loyal customers. Another thing that grabs your attention about this place is that it’s frequented by a ton of locals, as opposed to most Irish pubs where you’ll find tourists only. The Shamrock is the perfect spot to grab a beer (12 kinds on tap) and watch the game with some friends.
Via Nazionale, 17
Open Mon-Wed 8am-12am, Thu 8am-3am,
Fri/Sat 8am-4am, Sun 8am-3am
This place goes on forever with loads of seating and is popular with locals, right by Piazza Repubblica and five minutes from Termini station. The staff is quite helpful too (although no Irish). Even though it’s big, which is not traditional, it’s got a sit down and chat atmosphere that is definitely Irish pub standard and a fair quality Guinness. There is a focus on their lengthy restaurant menu with steaks, hamburgers, pizza and pasta for medium prices. The food is nothing fancy but hey, we come here for the atmosphere and the semi-circular booths in the back.
Via dell’Olmata, 43 (Esquilino)
Open Mon-Fri 5pm-1.30am, Sat/Sun 3pm-1.30am
I love the look of the bar in this place, packed to the gills with honey coloured bottles and knick-knacks, evoking the spirit of an Irish pub with a mix of Irish-loving locals and foreigners. In between the Termini and Cavour metro stops near the church of Santa Maria Maggiore, it was established in 1976 and claims to be the oldest Irish watering hole in Italy. As a proper pub with a long bar area it’s not too big, screens all major sports, has a good beer list and just bar snacks (no menu). They have open mic every Thursday night and Irish ‘trad’ or folk (Tue/Wed 10pm).
Via del Plebiscito, 101 (Piazza Venezia)
Open daily 11am-3.30am
I couldn’t do a list of Irish spots and not add Scholars, as it’s the biggest and probably the most well known in Rome. Located between Piazza Venezia and Largo di Torre Argentina it’s Irish owned and run with many Irish staff. However it’s more like a club in disguise with a lot of American flair (their nachos are a big hit). Their eight super screens have you set for all main European and American sports. Events include pub quizzes, karaoke and live gigs including traditional Irish music (every Friday 7-9pm) and live bands at the weekends. With a lot of space for crowds the weekends can get quite packed with chart-topper beats. Expect a lot of merrymaking and a tipsy debate or two in the bathrooms!
Via Leonina, 66 (Monti)
Open Mon-Thu 1pm-12.30am, Fri 1pm-1am,
Sat 12pm-1am, Sun 12pm-12.30am
This place seems to take you back to the pubs of Ireland; no-frills but genuine in its simplicity. Proudly Irish owned, many expats from Britain and Ireland come to this pub with an unassuming exterior to mix with the international crowd. It is located in between the Colosseum and Termini in the cool bohemian-chic area of Monti. Food is only bar snacks and prices are medium. They show all leading international sports on three screens and have a good quality Guinness. A definite plus is their fully traditional snooker (pool) table.