Answers from Our Experts (2)
Choosing the best bars in Rome is simply question of want. As in “Do I want cocktails or wine? Charm or scene? Local or international?” Rome has a kaleidoscope of choices, so I’ve found the best and perhaps only way to narrow them down is by theme.
For a beautiful view, you can find me at Roof Garden at Grand Hotel della Minerve. Bar Le Cupole practically peeks into the Pantheon and nothing beats a sunset toast to architecture’s very best dome. If I’m feeling more down to earth, I head to Piazza Navona’s historic Caffè della Pace for its turn-of-the century charm and excellent people watching, or else Il Goccetto, some say one of the oldest wine bars in Rome, near Campo de’ Fiori. Campo, itself, can be an excellent place to hold court when in need of open space, but avoid the piazza during the college crowd, usually from dinner onwards.
The luxurious Hotel de Russie’s Stravinskij Bar never fails to impress me with the quality of their cocktails. The award-winning bartenders are also clever with improvisation. Barnum, near Campo de' Fiori, has a slick set of bartenders with bespoke Prohibition-era cocktails. Open Baladin, the self-proclaimed “sancta sanctorum” of beer, is an obvious inclusion in the very best of Rome. The bar stocks over 100 artisanal Italian beers and makes quite delicious burgers. When national pride is not enough, I go regional at Palatium, a wine bar focusing on Lazio region vintages, or even more Rome-centric at Enoteca Provincia Romana, which has Rome-focused menu of wines and other notable products from the region.
In the summer months, make sure to stay outdoors. Camponeschi has a gorgeous position in the quiet Piazza Farnese and great cocktails. And its not a bad idea to grab a table at any of the bars in Piazza del Rotonda (Pantheon) and Piazza Santa Maria in Trastevere just before sunset.
Anything involving coffee, drinks and social life, in Rome is very important, this is why the city literally bristles with bars and cafeterias. When it comes to coffee, I'm particularly picky, and my espresso always needs to be high-quality and creamy in order for me to fully enjoy it.
When I feel like treating myself with a proper high-end, freshly brewed coffee, or a "Moretto" made with coffee, cocoa and milk foam, or a heavenly hot chocolate, I make my way to Sant'Eustachio Il Caffè, in 82 Piazza Sant'Eustachio, near the Pantheon, open every day until late, sure that they never let me down.
If you wish to sample some of the best Italian and international wines, go to Enoteca Buccone in 19/20 Via di Ripetta, just a stone's throw away from Piazza del Popolo. Here you can try your favorite wines along with fine snacks, appetizers and flakes of Grana cheese. By booking a week in advance, the owners will even arrange a special tasting and explain to you the different properties and qualities of each wine, matching each sip with local delicacies.
Another lovely place downtown is Eno Retrò, in 46 Via delle Carrozze, near Piazza di Spagna, a trendy wine/cocktail bar decorated vintage-style. Open Monday to Saturday from 4pm until midnight, they often host also jazz concerts and cultural events.
For a mid-morning or mid-afternoon break, if you are around Via Ottaviano or Via Cola di Rienzo, stop at Castroni, store/bistro/cafeteria serving and selling the finest delicacies from around the world, from a huge tea selection to great coffee, pastries and cakes.