The best places in Rome for happy hour
La Terrazza del Cesàri
Via di Pietra, 89/A (Pantheon)
Aperitivo: price of drink
Imagine church bells ringing, pink-tinted skies, and the unmissable view of Roman rooftops. Add a drink or a glass of wine laying down in comfy sofas in a splendid setting overlooking one of Rome’s most unique piazzas, and tell me “perfection” isn’t the word that comes to mind. If this isn’t the way to indulge in la dolce vita, I don’t know what is.
For an aperitivo or an after dinner drink, the recently renovated La Terrazza del Cesàri should definitely be on your list of “experiences in Rome”. Not just because it’s located in the oldest hotel of the Italian capital – founded in 1787 – but because it’s a hidden retreat from which you can admire the hustle and bustle of Rome tucked away in an exclusive setting. And with its harmonious design, where antique meets modern, it’s impossible you won’t be back again and again.
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 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.
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.
Via di Ripetta, 162 (Via del Corso)
Aperitivo: Price of drink + €6
Step inside Europe’s first Amaro bar in the heart of Rome and discover more than 500 different Italian amaro labels. Come by from 6.30pm – 9.30pm to indulge in their aperitivo, and don’t forget to order their signature scarpetta to accompany your drink, fresh rosetta bread accompanied by carbonara, amatriciana and cacio e pepe sauces.
Le Jardin de Russie
Via del Babuino, 9 (Piazza del Popolo)
Aperitivo: price of drink
A glamorous and renown restaurant, Le Jardin de Russie has been a long-time favorite among celebrities visiting Rome. A stone’s throw away from the Spanish Steps, the de Russie presents a whimsical setting for your happy hour. Immersed in the iconic “secret” garden, the jardin is also home to various citrus trees, different terraces, and an elegant design, making the atmosphere all the more magical. With a sophisticated wine selection, and a buffet that is far from the usual, starting your evening here will have you feeling like a star.
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.
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.
Domina 2018 at Borgo Ripa
Lungotevere Ripa, 3 (Trastevere)
Aperitivo: €15 with buffet
Domina 2018 – the summer version of Argot, one of our favorite speakeasy bars in Rome – is hosted in the beautiful Borgo Ripa structure, and is less than 10 minutes away by foot from Piazza Trilussa. If you’re looking for that one place that will change up your aperitivo routine, you’re going to the right one. You will find a magical setting, tasteful cocktails and an apertivo with a rich buffet.
Via della Paglia, 40 (Trastevere)
Aperitivo: price of drink + a la carte
Tucked away in Trastevere’s cozier side streets, Santo is a charming aperitivo spot. Decorated with sophistication, lots of greenery, and attention to detail, Santo is a true gem. Both a restaurant and a cocktail bar, each plate and drink are prepared with great care. The bar is captained by Ilaria Sbal, and the kitchen led by Edoardo Meuti. Together both Ilaria and Edoardo make quite the (delicious) team; reason to why making a reservation is highly recommended! In case you’re unsure about what cocktail to order for your happy hour, know that you can ask for an original creation as well; trust the mixologeres!
OPEN ONLY IN SPRING/SUMMER
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).
Via Properzio, 31 (Prati)
Aperitivo: drink + a la carte options
Il Sorpasso comes from the verb “to overtake” and when it comes to quality and style, this place definitely surpasses the competition. In the late afternoon and early evening it has the relaxed vibe of a spacious farmhouse kitchen but after 7pm this place is buzzing with locals. It’s an inviting jumble of quaint wooden tables and painted chairs with a delectable menu full of tasty cocktails, yummy wine, and their specialty artisanal meat and cheese platters directly coming from their charcuterie station.
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.
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’.
Piazza Gentile Da Fabriano, 2 (Flaminio)
Aperitivo: Price of drink + a la carte
This newly opened locale in the Flaminio neighbourhood has become one of the hottest places in town for aperitivo. Footsteps from MAXXI and the Ponte della Musica, it’s the perfect place to indulge in mixology cocktails, wines, and Italian and international delicacies like nachos with guacamole and cured meat and cheese boards in a trendy setting.
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 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.
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!
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.
Necci dal 1924
Via Fanfulla da Lodi 68 (Pigneto)
Aperitivo: price of drink
In case you were wondering why the date “1924” is included in Necci’s name, it’s because that’s actually the year it opened. Among its infinite visitors since then, the famous italian director Pier Paolo Pasolini was a regular during his time. Safe to say it’s historic! Located in the Pigneto area, one of Rome’s artsier neighborhoods, Necci is an aperitivo spot worth visiting. With a carefully crafted menu captained by chef Ben Hirst, classic drink options, and a private oasis to enjoy your happy hour in, you will feel right at (r)home. I recommend you try one of the wine options from the carta dei vini, perfect to sip on while you savour the homemade pizza and fritti treats.
Rosso Eat Drink Stay
Viale Aventino, 32 (Circo Massimo)
There’s a reason happy hour has the word “happy” in it, and Rosso definitely lives up to it. With a modern interior design (mixed with wood and stone features) Rosso is a friendly spot locals often choose for their aperitivi. Thanks to their large spaces, and extensive menus, Rosso is an all-around treasure for the Roman happy hour scene. And speaking of the scene, you’ll be able to enjoy Rosso’s happy hour from 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm for €10, which includes your drink and unlimited access to the rich buffet! Feeling touristy afterwards? Hop on over to the Circus Maximus, an often overlooked yet equally wonderful ancient roman sight!
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.
Contributors: Angela Gleason, Margaux MacNeil, Sarah Featherby, Emily Rosu