Going for a drink in Rome probably conjures up images primarily of elegant wine consumed over dinner or a delicate miniature cup of espresso, but the Eternal City also boasts a thriving cocktail scene which is steadily grasping the attention of more established locations.
With such a wealth of jaw-dropping sites of historical and architectural significance, it's handy to know of a few places to relax and take it all in. In making this list we've factored in locations around the city close to the tourist sights, but filled with fine locals, as well as of course places that provide sumptuous cocktails suitable for soaking up Rome's famous busy atmosphere.
10. Cafe Friends
A lively cafe/bar/restaurant situated near the banks of the river Tibre in the trendy Trastevere neighbourhood. This place serves not only lovely cocktails but well-liked light lunches and dinner options. With such a fantastic location it's easy to imagine spending an entire evening wining and dining here.
9. Bar Necci
Another youthful, dynamic space. Necci is a popular hangout from open til close, drawing people in for food options during the day before morphing into a buzzing bar with a nice, well-lit terrace. Necci is very reasonably priced too - €10 gets you a delicious cocktail and a small platter of food.
8. Il Sorpasso
Il Sorpasso's is a naturally splendid underground cafe/bar made all the more so by a very tasteful redesign. It's spacious enough for a basement bar, you won't feel packed in. In addition to this, an impressive open atrium, cut out of the roof, gives the place a feel of being at once subterranean yet curiously refreshing and airy. A casual bar with good value cocktails.
Etabli is a lovely, chic bar with a traditional appearance. It attracts a sophisticated crowd but doesn't get bogged down in taking itself too seriously. This is also a great venue for live Jazz music.
6. Stravinskij Bar
Plush with a capital P. This famous bar is housed in the Hotel de Russie on the Piazza del Popolo. This place is definitely worth going to if it's a stand out cocktail experience you seek. Priced at around €20 and up, they're not outrageously more expensive than other places in the city.
5. Cul de Sac
This restaurant/bar is a perfect example of a classic Italian enoteca (wine bar). A great place to come for a pre-dinner cocktail before moving inside to the cosy surroundings with elegant wine shelves hanging above.
This is a really happening spot situated in a basement location among thin, winding streets. The decor is a nice mix of old and new: an undulating stone ceiling gives the place a wonderful ancient feel, while many of the tables have liquid under the surface, providing a fun, contemporary twist. Cocktails here are a little more expensive than others but these bar tenders are definitely some of the most skilled in the city.
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One of Rome's newest and most highly-rated cocktail bars, this bar has emerged on the scene with a clear, contemporary image and has successfully grabbed a lot of attention. Its chic title is short for Cocktail and Social and delivers on both promises, providing a friendly atmosphere in which to enjoy excellent crafted drinks. This place looks set to establish itself as one of the city's premier nighttime spots.
2. Bar Del Fico
Fico has been a trendy spot for young locals to hang out for several years at this stage and its name even attests to the fact ("Fico" in Italian means both "fig" (as in tree) as well as "cool, hip"). This place has a visually-appealing rough around the edges vibe and chess players out the front provide a really nice atmosphere to sip on delicious cocktails.
Tucked away to the south east of the city centre away from the main tourist trail, Litro is a very happening bar which has been going strong since its opening in 2013. Despite being slightly pricey, the mood here is rarely staid and typically attracts an intriguing bunch of people, especially on Jazz Tuesdays. Litro are serious about food and cocktails yet firmly committed to providing a laid back atmosphere to enjoy.