Aperitivo by the Arno: Seven Places to Get a Drink in Florence

hidden spots to drink in florence

Seven Hidden Spots You Have to Try

The Florence nightlife is fantastic generally speaking; there is something for everyone, from outstanding restaurants or world-class cocktail bars to a cement patch on the banks of the Arno with a bottle of Tennents Super. The nights are getting colder and soon outdoor nightlife will be a thing of the past or an activity that requires overcoats, woollen jumpers, gloves, scarves and lots of determination. We have tried to find an eclectic mix of places that can be enjoyed for a quiet drink in any weather. Here are a few places worth visiting for a drink in Florence while the sun is still shining. The list has tried to cater for everyone’s tastes, from expensive and bougie to affordable and entertaining.


Piazza Santo Spirito

piazza santo spirito florence

As mentioned in our previous article, the rooftop bar above the Hotel Palazzo Guadagni is hard to beat if you are looking for a charming, quiet, sophisticated cocktail while looking over the breathtaking scenery of the city. It’s not cheap for Florence but also nothing drastic; this is a definite spot to try before it gets too cold. Or, if you are scared of heights or expensive bills, head down to the Piazza Santo Spirito and try any of the bars and restaurants for a drink and some food. I would start with Osteria Santo Spirito, but really anything there is nice. Soak in the atmosphere of Santo Spirito.

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La Cité

Borgo S. Frediano, 20/R
lacitelibreria.info

florence best aperitivo bars and cocktails

Reasonably priced, relaxed and not too far away from the centre, La Cité is the do all and end all of relaxed drinks in Florence. Sit on the mezzanine inside, surrounded by books and a poster of Marx, who watches on as atmospheric jazz music plays in the background. With both indoor and outdoor seating, La Cité is my first choice for a drink on a quiet evening, with friends or alone. On occasion, they bring acts in or have open mic sessions, but you will mostly find students with a laptop and a negroni there.


Il Conventino Caffè Letterario

Via Giano della Bella, 20
ilconventinofirenze.it

florence best aperitivo bars and cocktails

Always wanted to be an artist but that business degree and marketing job kept getting in the way? Well, now’s your chance! You’re in Florence, the home of the artisan. Head to il Conventino, a working space for artists, musicians, fashion designers and more. There is a bar, there are panini and pastries, there are board games, and most importantly there is peaceful, creative energy filling the courtyard. Sit under the sun and practise your Italian with some of Florence’s up and comers. Il Conventino regularly hosts events, so if you fancy more than a coffee and a game of chess, this place is a good bet.

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J.J. Cathedral

Piazza di San Giovanni, 4r

florence best aperitivo bars and cocktails

This spot, aptly signposted ‘IRISH PUB’, is an Irish(ish) pub, with all the bells and whistles (or songs and fiddles) that comes with it. It made the list due to its fantastic location, straight opposite the Baptistry of St John. There is a very small balcony with one table and exactly two stools. If you are new to Florence the view is worth a trip. If you can get in there and get up to the balcony, you can forget where you are and enjoy the beauty in front of you over a Campari Spritz (or whatever you prefer). But be warned: If you travel into the depths of the IRISH PUB and find the balcony to be taken, you will no doubt be pulled in and made to drink stale Guinness and listen to trad music all night with scores of tourists fresh from Massachusetts.


Antica Panineria SMN

florence best aperitivo bars and cocktails

Our only other bar on the north side chosen for this article, this is a bit of a marmite choice – like the Irish Pub, it’s not for everyone. The owner is a loud, entertaining, Italian Elvis type. There is often loud rock music. Other times there are a few old men playing chess while their equally old dogs lie below them. It is a mixed bag, and if I have nothing to do I tend to make my way there. If you aren’t sure how your day or night is going, spin the wheel. Visit this bar.


Pescaia di Santa Rosa

Piazza, Viale Vasco Pratolini

florence best aperitivo bars and cocktails

Or the weir, as you will hear English art students call it as they march down the Arno to find it. Yes, this low dam is called a weir. I did not know that either. Whatever we call it, it is a great place to watch the sunset with a few friends. Maybe bring a few beers or a bottle of wine, some snacks, a jumper or cardigan (for when the sun hides itself under the horizon), and relax as Florence’s nightlife comes alive around you. A great spot to have an inexpensive evening, or to meet new people, as locals and visitors alike travel to this watering hole. You can either walk to the next bridge (Ponte Amerigo Vespucci), turn back on yourself and make your way down the walkway, or you can brave the wall and climb over and down. This depends on your daredevil nature and how late into the night it is.


Santarosa Bistrot

Lungarno di Santa Rosa
santarosabistrot.com

santarosa bistrot

Located close to the aforementioned weir, the Santarosa Bistrot is a beautiful bar and cafe in the middle of Giardino Henry Dunant, in the shadow of the old city wall. You can sit under the sun with a book and an Aperol, meet up with friends or have some alone time. As the temperature drops, head inside the covered section of the bar and warm yourself up with another drink or two.

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