As the saying goes, "where you go, do as you please" and in Rome it is customary to have an aperitif before dinner. That is to say, a small snack accompanied by a few drinks, which is sometimes so abundant that it can even serve as dinner.
If you want to enjoy yourself like a true Roman, there is no doubt that having an aperitif is one of the essential things to do on your trip to Rome, but not just anywhere. In this post I show you 10 places where having an aperitivo in Rome is a real pleasure.
1. Freni e Frizioni
Located in the Trastevere neighbourhood, near the river Tiber, you will find Freni e Frizioni. A cocktail bar with a very friendly atmosphere and a terrace where you can enjoy an aperitif in Rome when the weather is nice.
Did you know that Freni e Frizioni is located inside an old car workshop? Hence its name, which in Italian means brakes and clutches.
Ordering a drink (I recommend the Copacabana or Bastille cocktails) you can enjoy their varied buffet where everything is vegetarian (rice, pasta, cous cous, ratatouille...) It's delicious!
- Address: Via Della Politeama, 4.
- Recommended aperitif: Pasta
2. Bar San Calisto
Bar San Calisto may not be the most beautiful bar in the Trastevere neighbourhood, but it does have a special charm as it is one of those places that have not lost their essence over time and where you can enjoy a good aperitif in Rome.
In fact, if you like beer, it's a great place to have a few beers because the prices are very cheap compared to other bars (around €2). Accompany them with some tramenzzini, stuffed sandwiches that are delicious.
You'll find Bar San Calisto very close to Piazza Santa Maria in Trastevere. If you can, get a seat on the terrace because there are usually street musicians in the area who will entertain you in the evening and you will have a good time.
- Address: Via Della Politeama, 4.
- Recommended aperitif: Tramenzzini
3. Black Market
If you've worked up an appetite after your visit to the Colosseum and fancy an aperitif in Rome, I recommend a trip to the Black Market bar in the Monti neighbourhood.
The atmosphere is great for relaxing after a day of sightseeing. There are comfortable leather sofas where you can stretch out and relax while sipping a glass of wine and tasting homemade fish and chips.
- Address: Via Dei Ciancaleoni 31, 00184 Roma Italy
- Recommended appetizer: Fish & Chips
4. Materia Café
Also in the Monti neighbourhood, very close to the Basilica of St. John Lateran, you will find Materia Café, a quiet and comfortable place to go for an aperitif in Rome.
It is a charming place to go with friends and to stop along the tourist route to recharge your batteries. Whether for brunch or a snack in the evening.
Materia Café is a cafeteria decorated in a simple and cosy way to make you feel at home. If you have the chance to visit it, I recommend ordering the ratatouille di verdure with a glass of wine as an aperitif. Delicious!
- Address: Via Andrea Provana, 7.
- Recommended aperitif: Ratatouille di verdure
5. Pane e Salame
If you're passing near the Trevi Fountain, you have to go to Pane e Salame for an aperitif in Rome.
It's not a very big place and neither is its menu, but it is the right place to enjoy good Italian sausages at a reasonable price.
If you want to escape the routine of pasta and pizza in Rome, it's time to try the rich cheeses, mortadellas or hams of Italian gastronomy at Pane e Salame.
Whether in the form of panninis or tagliere, wooden boards on which the cold meats and cheeses are served with a little jam. But why choose? I recommend you try a bit of everything!
- Address: Via Santa Maria in Via, 19, 00187 Rome, Italy
- Recommended appetizer: The panninis
6. Salotto 42
Also in the centre, next to Hadrian's Temple and a few minutes from the Pantheon of Agrippa, is Salotto 42, a very atmospheric cocktail bar where you can have an aperitif in Rome and the last one before going to bed.
It's a great bar to go for an aperitif in Rome and unwind for a while listening to jazz music.
Among the dishes you can choose from at Salotto 42 there is a wide variety such as quinoa salad, cous cous, hummus, rice noodles, sushi and a long etcetera. Accompany it with a delicious cocktail or a glass of wine and toast with that special someone for the next trip to Rome.
- Address: Piazza di Pietra 42.
- Recommended aperitif: Sushi
7. Micca Club
Near Termini station and close to the Basilica Santa Maria Maggiore (one of Rome' s oldest churches ) you will find this nightclub where you can have an aperitif in Rome while you go out and burn the night away on the dance floors.
Order a cocktail and you can choose from a buffet of assorted appetizers. It's not cheap but the whole experience is worth it. Especially for the music played by the DJ and the live jazz, soul or funky performances.
Micca Club is a great place to go with friends or as a couple to enjoy a different night out in Rome.
- Address: Via Pietro Micca 7a Roma
- Recommended appetizer: Rice salad
8. Momart Café
Another café where you can have a delicious aperitif in Rome is Momart Café. A place with a youthful and fun atmosphere where you can relax in the evening before dinner and enjoy some of the best cocktails in the Italian capital with your friends or your partner.
At Momart Café you can enjoy an aperitif with an open buffet. The menu is so diverse that you can choose from pizzas, chicken, quiches, pasta, salads and much more. You can eat until you're full, so you probably won't want to eat any more.
- Address: Viale XXI Aprile, 19 | 00162 Roma RM
- Recommended appetizer: Wood-fired Pizza
9. Oasi della Birra
Before discovering the Trastevere neighbourhood at night, a great plan that I recommend you do to end a fun day of sightseeing, you have to go to Oasi della Birra (in the lively Testaccio neighbourhood) for an aperitivo in Rome.
It is a nice tavern with a terrace where you can relax on sunny days and have a few beers or wines accompanied by a delicious aperitivo based on cous cous, pasta, rice, vegetables and, best of all, delicious cheeses, cold meats and Italian desserts. As its name suggests, it is a "beer oasis" that will seem like paradise to lovers of good food and drink.
For very little money, at Oasi della Birra you'll be able to get your money's worth and there's no need to book a table for dinner later on. Anyway, in the post Where to eat in Trastevere I leave you some ideas in case you are one of those who can't forgive going to bed without having had dinner and dinner.
- Address: Piazza Testaccio, 39, 00153 Roma
- Recommended appetizer: Cold meats and cheeses
Doppiozeroo is a great place to go for an aperitivo in Rome after visiting the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls, one of the city's four major Basilicas, which is only a 15-minute walk from the bar.
The atmosphere at Doppiozeroo is lively. Many Italians stop by after work for an aperitivo, so it's a great place to mingle with the locals. I advise you to go early to get a seat or at least try to book a table as it tends to fill up.
As for what to order as an aperitif at the bar, try the Spritz for a drink and the pizza as a side dish, although you can choose any dish from the buffet (pasta, salads, vegetables, rice, etc.) as the dishes are quite tasty and the menu is constantly renewed.
- Address: Via Ostiense, 68, 00154 Roma
- Recommended aperitif: Pizza
What is the Italian aperitif?
The Italian aperitivo consists of going to a bar or tavern to have a good drink and some snacks as an accompaniment while having a good time with friends chatting and enjoying life.
It is a deep-rooted Italian custom that emerged in the 18th century in the Turin area thanks to Antonio Benedetto Carpano (the creator of vermouth) and was so popular that it quickly spread from the north to the rest of the country.
What time is the Italian aperitif served?
Normally, the Italian aperitivo takes place from 5 PM to 8 PM although in some restaurants it extends beyond that and becomes an open buffet with a fixed price.
The Italian aperitivo is an excellent option to have a snack-dinner without spending a lot of money, an ideal gastronomic proposal for low cost travellers!
How much does the Italian aperitivo cost?
In general, an Italian aperitivo costs around €10, although the price varies depending on the city and the bar you are visiting. The choice of places to have an aperitivo is as varied as the choice of restaurants to eat in Rome.
What do you have for an Italian aperitivo?
To drink, you usually have beer or wine, but also classic cocktails such as Spritz, Campari or Negroni.
In fact, in recent times the drinks menu has expanded a lot and within the Italian aperitif you can also find other more popular proposals such as the Mojito, the Bloody Mary, the Gintonic, the Caipirinha, the Manhattan or the Margarita, among many others.
As for the food, there is plenty of variety to choose from - you won't go hungry! Cheese, cured meats, nuts, olives or chips are the most typical dishes, presented on a board called "tagliere", although most restaurants usually offer more elaborate options ranging from pizza, panninis, quiches or sushi to cous cous, salads, pasta or rice dishes, and even desserts!