Here it is – the ultimate guide to the best Rome rooftop bars and outdoor Rome aperitivo places for 2020.
I’m calling it now – summer 2020 is going to be THE summer of the outdoor aperitivo in Rome. It’s inexpensive, fun and the best way to live the city’s piazzas, gardens and rooftops without worrying excessively about sanitised interiors or mask on-off protocol.
New local government rules mean that a whole host of bars are now able to fill piazzas and pavements with outdoor tables for summer 2020, which is set to be a massive game-changer for enjoying an aperitivo in Rome.
Some of the following bars only serve drinks until around 8.30 pm, after which time they turn into restaurants. Others are bars which will serve you all night – details can be found below. The only rule for 2020 is that even for a drink, it’s better to call ahead and book for your aperitivo in Rome.
So without further ado, here’s the complete list of the best Rome rooftop bars and outdoor Rome aperitivo places for the chilled summer of 2020!
Aperitivo in Rome’s South-Central neighbourhoods: Testaccio, Ostiense and Garbatella
Pianoalto Openspace rooftop bar in Testaccio
Pianoalto Openspace, the only true rooftop bar in Testaccio (well, it’s just over the bridge, but that’s close enough for me!) changed hands earlier in 2020. It is now managed by a cultural collective and media agency Rossoscuro Lab which is in the process of opening up the space for events, art shows and more. Happily, you can still pop by for an aperitivo in the earliest part of the evening, with priority given to restaurant diners after 8.30 pm.
The bar opens at 6.00 pm, and prices are good for a rooftop bar in Rome, ranging between €11 and €13 for originally-devised cocktails. How about an Amalfi Sour (€11), combining Aperol, fresh orange juice, lemon oleo saccharum, and Bitter violento? Or maybe a Spicy Morositas (€12), combining tequila infused with habanero and liquorice, agave syrup, lime and paprika. No nibbles are served so if you want to make a light bite of it, the house club sandwich hits the spot.
Where: Pianoalto Openspace |Lungotevere Portuense, 200 | Rome | Tel 06 5528 6951
Cocktail prices: From €11
Snacks included: Order light bites from the menu, such as club sandwiches starting at €7
Gasometro Vintage in Ostiense
One of the things that Rome does best is transform outdoor spaces – even apparently unlikely ones – into cool open-air bars and clubs. Gasometro Vintage is another fine example, pimping the post-industrial riverside of the Tiber in the Ostiense district below the Ponte Industriale with its mix of pop and cool.
Expect temporary restaurants, cocktail bars, DJ and band stands and dancing areas for carefree summer and autumn nights. Keep the facebook page bookmarked to find out exactly what kind of night you have in store – evenings are often themed around music styles – or just head down here on a whim seven days a week to join the party.
Where: Gasometro Vintage | Via del Commercio 36 | Rome
Aperitivo Rome cocktail prices: From €6
Snacks included: Nope, but count on buying street food or sit down dinner
Biffi pavement cafe in Garbatella
Biffi is an all-day cafe and bar with cool in its DNA. We love it for breakfast and lunch but there’s something about the golden hour in this pretty corner of Garbatella. This is a great place for people watching the local cool crowd and enjoying a well-mixed drink at this shabby-chic pavement cafe. If you want to keep drinking and snacking all night, you won’t lose your seat.
Where: Biffi | Piazza Eugenio Biffi, 11 | Rome | Tel 06 5143 5360
Cocktail prices: From €7
Snacks included: Order nibbles such as olives and crisps separately, or make it a light dinner with a crusty bruschetta from €6
La Mescita enoteca in Garbatella
This gorgeous, locals-only wine bar is a mecca for natural wine fans and a very cool 30-40 something crowd. The bar opens at 6.30 pm and serves until midnight, with the aperitivo hour blurring into a casual dining experience. Order a bottle of wine from the impressive, rotating list or ask the owners for a tip based on your tastes. Booking essential at this time for your Rome aperitivo.
Where: La Mescita | Via Luigi Fincati, 44 | Rome | Tel 333 301 5847
Cocktail prices: Drinks from €7
Snacks included: Order from the tapas-style menu which includes fresh gazpacho soups and pulled-pork sandwiches from €6
La Fornarina dal 1989 bakery in Garbatella
La Fornarina dal 1989 is a friendly, neighbourhood bakery in Garbatella near the Regione Lazio headquarters, open Monday to Saturday from 6.30 am until about 10 pm at night. It doesn’t close for lunch so this is a great spot for breakfast, lunch and Roman aperitivo.
This year, the new aperitivo formula at La Fornarina is a good-value €8 offering, which includes a drink of your choice and a range of different snacks. Drinks range from the classic spritz to a few light cocktails. I went for the house Americano (ask for a Spurio Americano!) which is served with white vermouth and shaken, not stirred for a longer, fresher and lighter taste. This summer, they have also sourced a selection of excellent white, rose and red wines from Puglia, alternately crisp, fragrant, and fruity.
In terms of the snacks, the aperitivo works like this. Mondays, Tuesdays and Saturdays, your drink will be served with goodies from the counter; fresh pizzette and other bakery nibbles. On Wednesdays, the aperitivo is served with a board of cheese and charcuterie; on Thursday, with mini, savoury, maritozzi, which I tried (and they were delicious!). On Friday nights the aperitivo is served with slices of fresh pizza. So head along today to check it out – La Fornarina will be open all summer, except for the week of Ferragosto. And don’t forget to say that Testaccina sent you!
Where: La Fornarina | Piazza Oderico da Pordenone, 4 | Rome | Tel 06 511 0133
Cocktail prices: €8
Snacks included: €8 gets you a drink of your choice with a plate of snacks; see above for details
Aperitivo in Trastevere, Rome
Santo cocktail bar in Trastevere
Santo Trastevere – one of the coolest cocktail bars in Rome – has been able to put tables outside for summer 2020, creating an idyllic green garden in one of Trastevere’s sleepiest piazzas. Surrounded by green under a trailing pergola, this is just the spot we all needed to chill in this summer after a rough first half of the year! Don’t forget to book ahead as outdoor tables are limited, but this is perfect for your Rome aperitivo.
Where: Santo Trastevere | Via della Paglia, 40 | Rome | Tel 06 5837 7020
Cocktail prices: From €10
Snacks included: Order from Santo’s restaurant menu if you get the munchies, which is a modern Mediterranean offer ranging from hummus dips to roast octopus or grilled squid.
Mammo Street Food in Trastevere
Technically speaking, Mammo Street Food doesn’t offer a rooftop space or a green garden, but this impeccable street food spot in the prettiest and buzziest part of Trastevere captures the summer 2020 zeitgeist perfectly. Exceptional quality sandwiches, salads, wraps and pancakes are packaged on the spot for a quick takeaway, so you can stroll and eat along the cobbles or stone steps of old Rome. Drinks include some great local wines and a good source of craft beers.
Where: Mammo Street Food | Via Benedetta, 1 | Rome | Tel 06 9652 4894
Prices: From €5
Snacks included: Order from the varied menu. One of my faves is the cone of fried fish to eat on the go.
Jacopa rooftop bar in Trastevere
An unmissable destination in warmer weather is the rooftop bar of Jacopa in Trastevere. This is actually one of the few rooftop bars in Trastevere, making it a welcome addition to the list. Situated on the sleepier side of Trastevere not far from Porta Portese, the bar is open every evening for rooftop cocktails from 18.00 until the small hours, with light-bites available as well such as bread and anchovies and charcuterie boards.
Cocktails are original and the prices are reasonable, marking Jacopa as one of the cheapest rooftop bars in Rome on our list with cocktails starting at €10-12.
Designed for the warmer season, the cocktail list is all about fresh flavours and notes of summer fruit. Try the Italian Mule with amaro, lemon and ginger beer, or a minty take on Negroni with the Negrito – gin, vermouth, Campari, Amer Picon, Fernet and orange.
Where: Jacopa | Via Jacopa de’ Settesoli, 7| Rome | Italy |Tel 065809075
Cocktail prices: €8-€12
Snacks included: If you want more than crisps, order light bites including bread & anchovies and charcuterie boards
Aperitivo in Rome’s historic centre
The Court rooftop bar near the Colosseum
The Court, which opened last year, has quickly become one of Rome’s best-loved garden bars, thanks to its exclusive location right in front of the Colosseum. This is a ground-floor bar on a raised, private platform with enviable views of Rome’s most famous monument, and an exclusive vibe thanks to its presence in one of Rome’s swankiest hotels, the five-star Hotel Palazzo Manfredi.
Hotel Palazzo Manfredi hosts one Michelin star restaurant Aroma on its unrivalled rooftop, where chef Giuseppe di Iorio reigns supreme, but if you want to enjoy those Colosseum views without spending all of your holiday on dinner, a cocktail in The Court could be the answer you’re looking for.
Open from the first pink streaks of dusk until the small hours, the cocktail list has been created by Matteo Zed and prices start at €23 for his creations here. Try The Court Margarita, an elegant and less alcoholic riff on the classic Margarita, which combines mescal, tequila, hibiscus flower cordial with a glass rim studded with Mexican salt, sweet paprika and ground lime.
As well as new inventions, you can also find a few vintage classics such as the crowd-pleasing Pornstar Martini. Comprising vanilla vodka, passion-fruit liquor and fresh passion-fruit, it is served as tradition denotes with a sidecar of champagne.
Despite being one of the most expensive rooftop bars in Rome, booking ahead for a table is essential as this bar has a limited amount of seating, spaced out still further for social distancing protocols. Here’s another Testaccina exclusive: the latest drinks menu and The Court prices right here.
Where: The Court | Palazzo Manfredi | Via Labicana 125 | Tel +39 0677591380
Cocktail prices: From €23
Snacks included: Your drink includes an ample snack selection from caprese skewers to hand-cooked crisps, olives, mini-burgers and more – almost a light dinner.
Shamrock Roma near the Colosseum
Old-favourite Irish pub and sports bar the Shamrock near the Colosseum has propelled itself into a new category of cool with the opening of a rooftop area for the summer. Expect the usual selection of beers, wines and basic cocktails but with a better view than ever before! This terrace is insanely popular so booking is absolutely essential. The pub is open from 10 am until 2 am on Saturdays and Sundays so an al fresco lunch and dinner are also a great option, but the sunset aperitivo overlooking the Colosseum, served from 18.00, is hard to beat for your Rome aperitivo. Find the latest menu here.
Where: Shamrock Roma | Via dei Santi Quattro 93 | Tel 067002583
Cocktail prices: From €10
Snacks included: Bar snacks included, you can also order burgers and more from the menu
Drink Kong, garden bar in Monti
When Drink Kong opened a couple of years ago in Rome it threw down the gauntlet to every other cocktail bar in the city by creating a buzzy, place to be which really captured the zeitgeist with its fusion food and wicked neon interiors. Drink Kong visionary Patrick Pistolesi is never one to stay behind the times, and so it is that summer 2020 has seen the launch of the Drink Kong garden for your aperitivo in Rome. Part Gorillas-in-the-mist jungle, part urban oasis, it is the ultimate place to taste Pistolesi’s genius New Humans drinks list, plus old favourites. Don’t miss one of my favourites, the Campari-laced Bitter Apes, and order a side portion of dumplings or a delicious pastrami sandwich to round out your evening. Full food and drink review here.
Where: Drink Kong | Piazza San Martino ai Monti 8 | Rome | Italy | Tel 0039 06 2348 8666
Cocktail prices: From €10
Snacks included: Hand cooked tacos with salsa plus olives come as standard, but the light bites menu is hard to resist for an added something
Spritzeria Monti, rooftop bar in Monti
It’s been a while since we’ve seen an exciting new option for drinking in Monti, so the addition of Spritzeria Monti, one of the area’s few rooftop bars, marks a huge game-changer. The rooftop bar is a project from boutique hotel Condominio Monti, which also owns Magasin and Osteria Oliva, ground floor cafe and restaurant respectively. The condominium terrace is fun and the prices are just right for this informal set-up. This rooftop is only open from Thursday to Sunday evenings included, so be sure to book ahead for your Rome aperitivo. The bar opens at 18.00 and you can spritz away until midnight at least, but don’t worry if you don’t like Aperol spritiz or Campari spritz (€7) – there is a full range of alternative spritz-style cocktail options too, including Il Rosato (Martini rosato, pomegranite juice, mandarin juice and pink prosecco €8) or the Spritzeria’s take on a champagne cocktail, Il Virtuoso (champagne, brandy, sugar cube, angostura bitters €15).
Where: Spritzeria Monti | Via dei Serpenti 108 | Rome | Tel 342 582 8879
Cocktail prices: From €7
Snacks included: Finger food is provided as you drink, but if you get the munchies, head down to the ground floor Osteria Oliva for a proper dinner.
Humus Bistro rooftop in Monti
Humus Bistro in Monti is blessed with one of the neighbourhood’s cutest rooftop spaces, which really comes into its own in the warm weather. While this is primarily a great lunch or dinner spot, Humus will happily serve you an aperitivo from 18.00-20.00, basically until diners arrive. The drinks list has a curated vibe, so look out for specials including the Cynar Spritz with artichoke liquor, and a gin and tonic dressed with pink pepper and thyme, perfect for a Rome aperitivo.
Where: Humus Bistro | Via Madonna dei Monti 109 | Rome | Tel 348 807 7168
Cocktail prices: From €8
Snacks included: Light bar snacks – book a restaurant table if you want dinner.
Up Sunset Bar in Barberini
This bar and terrace restaurant occupies the sixth and seventh floor of La Rinascente, including the outdoor, upper level. Up Sunset Bar, a bar and eatery owned by by Michelin-starred chef Riccardo Di Giacinto, occupies the top floor of upmarket department store La Rinascente in Via Tritone.
The most glamorous of all the store’s drinking and dining options, Up Sunset Bar is one of the best rooftop bars and aperitivo places in Rome. Enjoying fabulous views overlooking the Eternal City, this is just the place for a glass of something cool and refreshing day or night, after some much deserved retail therapy.
The home of exclusive events, Up Sunset Bar is also a pleasant spot day or night, when it’s the perfect place to unwind for your Rome aperitivo. There’s a range of drinks on offer, with beers ranging from €6-€9, and cocktails priced at €12-€16, placing it in the median range for Rome’s rooftop bars.
If you’re planning on eating here, breakfast is available from 10.00, with the regular kitchen open from 11.00 in the morning until 23.00 at night, offering pasta and pizza, salads and sandwiches, hamburgers and moreish desserts. The aperitivo hour official runs from 17.00 – 21.00, while from 22.00 until midnight, it’s time to get into the after dinner mood with a signature cocktail. Reserving a table for a special occasion is essential.
Where: Up Sunset Bar | 6th & 7th floors La Rinascente |Via del Tritone 61 | Tel +39 0687916652
Cocktail prices: €12-€16
Snacks included: Order a savoury maritozzo from the tempting snack menu if you want more than just crisps and olives
Terrazza Borromini rooftop bar in Piazza Navona
La Grande Bellezza terrace at Eitch Borromini Hotel, the Roman rooftop bar with the best views in the city, hands down, has a lot to offer even before you order a drink. From the incredible bird’s-eye views over Piazza Navona, to the romantic rooftops of old Rome, and the sun dipping over the dome of Saint Peter’s – you have to forgive the punters crowding at the rooftop edge angling for a fabulous picture or two.
The terrace belongs to the handsome four-star hotel in the palazzo below, Eitch Borromni, which also boasts another delicious roof terrace and restaurant on the fourth floor, from whose alabaster pillars you can peer right down onto the fountain of the four rivers in Piazza Navona.
But for cocktails, and THOSE views, I highly recommend heading directly to the top floor where Terrazza Borromini offers great mixed drinks in delicious surroundings. There are a few bar snacks available – such as plates of prosciutto and mozzarella – but this is not a place to dine, it’s more of a pre-dinner spot, opening at 6.30 pm and seeing most visitors drift away to dinner by 9.30 pm / 10 pm, except in high summer, when guests stay until midnight to beat the heat.
The prices fit the location and the fact that this is a high-end hotel bar. Expect to pay €15 for a glass of wine and €25 for a mixed drink. It can make sense to buy a bottle of wine for the table if you are a group of three or four. Aperitif drinks like the classic Aperol or Campari Spritz count as a cocktail here in terms of pricest.
This bar has rightly become one of the Rome’s best loved rooftop bars so reservations are now essential every night. In conclusion: €25 is a lot to pay for a cocktail, but this bar with its unforgettable city views is just about worth it. Don’t forget to book and come early to avoid the crowds and catch that sunset.
Where: La Grande Bellezza | Hotel Eitch Borromini | Via di Santa Maria dell’Anima, 30| Rome|Tel +39 06 6821 5459
Cocktail prices: From €25
Snacks included: Expect small tasting portions of couscous, pasta and crudités – not enough for dinner though!
Camillo in Piazza Navona
Old-school Piazza Navona restaurant Camillo got a much-needed overhaul this year, as the young heirs of this historic eatery decided to make a place which is not only refreshingly casual but also decidedly affordable.
This restaurant – which has been serving customers since 1890, no less – ditched table service, old-fashioned Roman fare and touristy prices to create something fresh and fun, open every day from 11 am until 2 am. The result is a hole-in-the-wall counter where you order food and drinks, taking a table with your group to enjoy those unmissable views of Piazza Navona.
The no-frills aperitivo costs €6 and doesn’t include food – you’ll have to order snacks separately if so inclined. Expect the usual suspects, from spritz through to americano and gin and tonic. I really like this bar, but my only complaint would be that the quality of the cocktails is a bit uneven – I have ordered a great americano here and a not so great one. Same with the spritz, sometimes the alcohol balance is perfect, other times, it’s a bit watery. If they get this right, it could soon become my fave bar in Rome.
Where: Camillo a Piazza Navona da 1890 | Piazza Navona 79 | Rome | Tel
06 5655 8161
Cocktail prices: €6
Snacks included: None, but food is available via the menu
Bar del Fico near Piazza Navona
This classic bar on Rome’s all-day-cafe scene is sleepy by day, when local pensioners play chess under the shade of its eponymous fig tree. But by night, Piazza del Fico is teaming with young folk grabbing drinks and mingling in this characteristic part of old Rome. It can be tough getting a seat, so don’t forget to call ahead!
Where: Bar del Fico | Piazza del Fico 26 | Rome | Tel 06 6889 1373
Cocktail prices: From €10
Snacks included: Minimal table snacks
Antica Trattoria della Pace near Piazza Navona
Tucked round the corner from Bar del Fico, this old-school pizza place and trattoria has been permitted to put tables outside for the first time this summer and they’ve decided to tempt the pre-dinner crowds with a bargain aperitivo option. From about 7pm, for just €5, expect a nicely alcoholic spritz, mojito or gin and tonic served with free home-baked dough squares dusted with parmesan and crisps. This is really hard to beat on price in this part of town and the people watching is still great! I’ve also had luck grabbing a table here without booking, so it’s ideal for a last minute option Rome aperitivo.
Where: Antica Trattoria della Pace | 1 Via della Pace | Rome | 06 683 8950
Cocktail prices: From €5
Snacks included: Home’baked dough balls and crisps
Saltimbocca near Piazza Navona
Buzzy via di Tor Mellina, just off Piazza Navona, can be a fairly intimidating drag of touristy restaurants and bars, with eager owners calling from the doorsteps for you to patronise their premises. But as you’re reading the Testaccina guide to the best aperitivo places in Rome, you’ll know just where to go! Saltimbocca is an old school restaurant which has managed to expand its outdoor options this year and is offering a great value Rome aperitivo to boot.
Order the fried fish platter (€10) or cheese and charcuterie board (€8) with regular cocktail included in the price. Cocktails on their own, such as a spritz, start at €6, so the food combo makes sense. They also have some premium cocktails for the connoisseur which start at €9; I really enjoyed Flower Power, combining chamomile vodka, lavender, rose hip, lemon juice, sugar and egg-white.
Another great sharing platter is Saltimbocca’s scarpetta plate, which includes dollops of different kinds of pasta sauces and generous hunks of bread to swipe round the plate. Sounds strange but it works a treat!
Where: Saltimbocca | Via di Tor Mellina 5 | Rome | Tel 06 683 2266
Cocktail prices: From €6
Snacks included: Order a combo platter for a great value dinner
Lion near Piazza Navona
Lion, a handsome restaurant and bar in a perfect location between Piazza Navona and the Pantheon, has won plenty of plaudits for its smart décor in teal and tomato red, but you’ll want to patronise its pavement tables in the warmer months, with outdoor has burners extending the al fresco season.
The food here is created under the watchful eye of chef Luca Ludovici, and quality, gratis bar snacks during the aperitivo hour – including chocolate-covered morsels of oxtail – perfectly compliment the quality cocktail list. The prices are fair for the experience: expect to pay around €14 per cocktail. On the advice of the head barman, I ordered the Margarita variety ‘uomo morto ballando’, where the Cointreau was replaced with elderflower liquor. This was a smart swap in, taking an alcoholic edge of the drink, which was seasoned with black Himalayan salt.
Where: Lion Restaurant | Largo della Sapienza 1 | Rome | Tel 06 8115 7070
Cocktail prices: From €14
Snacks included: Chef Ludovici creates original gourmet snacks as standard which means this is almost a light dinner
Salotto42 near the Pantheon
Rome’s beautiful set have been coming to Salotto42 in the gorgeous Pizza di Pietra for almost two decades, but 2020 has ushered in a sensational novelty: pavement tables. Due to Rome’s fierce urban decorum rules, historic piazzas such as this one weren’t always able to be populated by bars and cafes. The health crisis has changed all that, so now expect to taste Salotto42’s delicious cocktails – including several varieties of spritz – with a direct view of the Temple of Hadrian. Booking essential.
Where: Salotto42 | Piazza di Pietra 42 | Rome | Tel 06 678 5804
Cocktail prices: From €14
Snacks included: Crisps, olives
Osteria del’Ingegno near the Pantheon
Smart, historic Osteria del’Ingegno has also been able to take advantage of the Covid rule change to place tables in Piazza di Pietra. While this is a great choice for dining out of doors, you can also now drop by for an aperitivo in the piazza early evening before diners arrive.
Regular aperitivo cocktails such as the spritz are on offer at €10, with prestige gin and tonics ranging from €10-€15. Homemade snack are included in the price. Call ahead to coordinate your table and enjoy the delights of this unique Roman piazza.
Where: Osteria del’Ingegno | Piazza di Pietra 45 | Rome | Tel 06 678 0662
Cocktail prices: From €10
Snacks included: Fried dough squares and savoury frappe, assorted canapes, olives and nuts
Enoteca Spiriti near the Pantheon
The pretty Enoteca Spiriti with its wood-lined interiors has also been able to place tables in Piazza di Pietra this year. Drop by early evening for a glass of wine and stay for dinner, which includes some of the best fish tartares this side of Rome and summer-inspired fresh pasta dishes.
It makes sense to order wine here as an aperitivo choice, with the drinks list including a good selection of wines by the glass from €9 (snacks not included). Aperitivo-style mixed drinks, such as a Spritz or Americano are also available.
Where: Enoteca Spiriti | Piazza di Pietra 32-33 | Rome | Tel 06 6919 0445
Prices: From €9
Snacks included: None, order from the menu
Il Marchese near the Spanish Steps
Il Marchese, a restaurant and amaro bar in the centre of Rome, is perfectly placed for a drink or a bite to eat after a downtown shopping trip. Just a few minutes away from Via del Corso and designer brand mecca Via dei Condotti, Il Marchese Rome occupies the ground floor of a splendid eighteenth-century building, recalling the past with a smart chessboard floor and a chandelier or two.
From summer 2020, this centrally located bar and osteria has been able to move tables outside, across both sides of the road, to make the most of warm evenings in the historical centre of Rome. With some tables boasting views of Ara Pacis, and others simply catching the atmosphere of the cobbled street, both indoors and outdoors are now great choices for your Rome aperitivo.
There is also a new aperitivo formula which gives you another great reason to head down to Il Marchese. Roman pinsas, a heritage grain variation on pizza, have been added to the menu and make a tasty and filling snack at the aperitvo hour. Alternatively, you can order boards of cheese and charcuterie; or three suppli – fried rice balls – served with a pan of amatriciana or carbonara.
Each of these food options costs €15 for a sharing platter, designed for two people. You then get to add one of Il Marchese’s imaginative cocktails (€10-€15 each) or a glass of wine (€7-€9).
Where: Il Marchese Restaurant & Amaro Bar | via di Ripetta 162 | Rome | Tel +39 0690218872 | Open every day from noon until 1am
Cocktail prices: From €10
Snacks included: Order a sharing platter from the menu for two from €15
Adelaide restaurant and bar near the Spanish Steps
Five star Hotel Villon burst onto the Roman scene a couple of years ago as one of the city’s most charming new boutique hotels, and has today carved a place in the hearts of connoisseurs in the know. Located in a cobbled blink-and-miss-it side street in the historical centre, not far from shopping street via del Corso and the Spanish Steps, this is tardis of a hotel which opens up through a series of interconnected salons into a precious, internal courtyard garden.
Hotel Vilon is great all year round for a drink at the bar or dinner in its superb Adelaide restaurant. In the warmest months, you can also drop in for an aperitivo in the hotel’s secret garden, which is always a worthwhile appointment. The current aperitivo deal offers a drink mixed by master bar-mistress Magdalena Rodriguez for €18, which is served with three tasting portions from chef Gabriele Muro and the usual bar snacks. All in all, great value for a downtown five star hotel!
Where: Adelaide Restaurant | Hotel Vilon | Via dell’Arancio 69 | Rome | Tel 06 878187
Cocktail prices: From €18
Snacks included: Yes, three tasting portions plus bar snacks
Hi-Res restaurant and bar near the Spanish Steps
Hotel Valadier in Rome is one of those iconic properties which has left an indelible mark on the city of Rome, but isn’t afraid of change.
While the hotel offers rooms from a very competitive €119 per night – just a five minute walk from the Spanish Steps and Piazza del Popolo – its dining and drinking options plunge you into Dantean worlds of polar opposite: the dark and sexy lure of its basement cocktail bar and eatery, Valentyne, and the glass-walled halls of its lofty rooftop restaurant, Hi-Res.
Hi-Res is happily not just a restaurant, offering early evening cocktails on its terrace to make this an excellent aperitivo option in downtown Rome. The cocktail list is varied, ranging from house specials such as the Deadly Sin – Montenegro, Italicus, orange bitter, lemon juice – to nearly 20 choices of gin. The good news is that cocktails are well-priced at €14 and quality bar snacks are included. We only wish the cocktails were slightly larger.
Where: Hi-Res | Hotel Valadier | Via della Fontanella 15 |+39 06 361 0880
Cocktail prices: From €14
Snacks included: Yes, dry bar snacks plus a few fresh canapes
Mirabelle Restaurant at the Hotel Splendide Royal near the Spanish Steps
The Hotel Splendide Royal, a charming old-school hotel situated between the Spanish Steps and Via Veneto, really exploits its position when it comes to its seventh floor restaurant, Mirabelle. Boasting a wrap-around balcony which is completely open-air in the summer, and snug with panoramic glass panels in the winter, the recently launched aperitivo formula gives you another reason to head to this fantastic restaurant run by chef Stefano Marzetti.
The usually über-pricey cocktails (think €20-€35 per drink) have been wrapped into a bargain package, including food from Marzetti’s gourmet kitchens to boot. €15 gets you any cocktail from the menu (except champagne cocktails) plus three generous canapes), €20 includes a cocktail and 5 nibbles, while for €35, order a cocktail of your choice, plus 7 small plates, including oysters and caviar. The view alone is worth the price! Currently available every night except Mondays. Call ahead to book your table.
Where: Mirabelle Restaurant| Hotel Splendide Royal | Via di Porta Pinciana, 14 | Rome | Italy | Tel +39 06 4216 8838
Cocktail prices: From €15
Snacks included: Yes; gourmet canapes included, see above for details
Casina Valadier’s Chill Sunset Bar near Piazza del Popolo
Casina Valadier Roma, a white-pillared mansion on the edge of Villa Borghese overlooking the rooftops of old Rome, is one of the city’s best kept secrets.
Comprising the gourmet Vista Restaurant – one of Rome’s most romantic restaurants – and representing an exceptional events space and wedding venue, Casina Valadier is also home to the Chill Sunset Bar.
Open for the summer and autumn season, the Chill Sunset Bar launched in June 2020 serving cocktails and food in the extraordinary grounds of Casina Valadier Rome, with its enviable position on the edge of Villa Borghese.
The Chill Sunset Bar at Casina Valdier is open from 18.00 in the evening to 2.00 in the morning, so you can not only enjoy sunset moments here but also candlelit al fresco dining.
Chef Massimo D’Innocenti, who is also at the helm of Casina Valadier’s Vista Ristorante, is happily in charge of the menu at the Chill Sunset Bar as well, serving a range of dishes for all appetites. He has designed small plates priced at €10 and €15, from tartares to Roman pinsas, which are perfect for the aperitivo hour.
While cocktails at the Chill Sunset Bar start at €18, without snacks, if you head there on a Sunday night there is a special aperitivo formula where €20 buys you a cocktail and a small plate from the menu. Full drinks list here.
Where: Chill Sunset Bar | Casina Valadier Roma | Piazza Bucarest | 00187 | Rome | Italy | Tel +39 392 382 3924
Cocktail prices: From €18
Snacks included: Only on Sundays with the €20 aperitivo formula; otherwise order a €10 or €15 plate from the menu
Dram Boat near piazza del Popolo
Dram Boat on the river Tiber, close to piazza del Popolo, was one of the revelations of Rome’s cocktail and jazz scene when it opened early in 2020.
The project is the brainchild of Omar Ghoneim, jazz-loving owner of the city’s historic Gregory’s Jazz Club, who has riffed on river lounging in the past with his successful summer pop-up, Gregory’s by the River.
Dram boat, a permanent fixture moored along the Tiber’s tow-path, is many things: a live jazz venue and dance club; a bar specialising in whisky, with 160 different labels; and an easy evening bar and eatery. From 2020, tables along the river bank also mean an additional outdoor option for drinking on warm summer evenings.
Where: Dram Boat | Lungotevere Arnaldo da Brescia | Rome | Tel 3516457888
Cocktail prices: Regular cocktails start at €10
Snacks included: Minimal bar snacks
Dafne Garden Cafe in Prati
Dafne Garden Cafe is the ground-floor cafe of Apollo Boutique Hotel, a brand new Prati hotel which opened during the latter fringes of lockdown. This cool covered garden is actually a place you should plan to patronise all day, with its continental and American-style breakfasts open to the public, including fresh juices, waffles and pancakes. Lunch includes homemade sandwiches with Roscioli bread, while Dafne Garden Cafe also offers a good value aperitivo at night, with prices for regular cocktails starting at €8.
Where: Dafne Garden Cafe | Via Fornovo 2A | Rome | Tel 06 3974 5319
Rome aperitivo cocktail prices: From €8
Snacks included: Olives and taralli
Aperitivo in North Rome
Mediterraneo Maxxi in North Rome
Mediterraneo Restaurant and Garden, at Rome’s MAXXI contemporary art gallery, is all set to be one of the coolest summer restaurants and aperitivo spots in Rome 2020.
Mediterraneo occupies a green, outdoors courtyard in the grounds of MAXXI, as well as an ample dining hall built round a well-stocked bar. Come early for an aperitivo and order food to blend into a dining experience.
Open Tuesdays to Sundays, from 12 noon through until 2 pm, it focuses on lunch, dinner and drinks, and has been spaciously designed with public health in mind.
The kitchen team includes chef Emanuele Pompili; sushi chef Francesco Di Cori, and pastry chef Irene Tolomei, a finalist in the latest edition of Bake Off Italia. Check out the food review here.
Mediterraneo Roma’s airy location is primed to host events and concerts too, with DJs scheduled on frequent evenings, to accompany your dinner or drinks.
Classic cocktails start at €10, going up to €15 for the most prestigious blends, including champagne cocktails. I loved Panarea, a vodka sour with jalapeño and lime juice, vanilla syrup, passion fruit and eggwhite (€15). which was sharp, spicy and smoothly exotic! Try pairing it with the passion fruit baba (8) from the dessert menu for a dream match.
Where: Mediterraneo Rome | Via Guido Reni 4/A | Rome | Tel +39 391 7053069
Cocktail prices: €10-€15
Snacks included: Order light bites from the menu
Vista 101 at the Rome Cavalieri Waldorf Astoria in North Rome
The Rome Cavalieri’s Vista 101 rooftop bar is the highest roof terrace in the city, while its classy credentials place it at the top of the pile for many other reasons.
Traditionally accessed exclusively by guests of private events or the 3* Michelin restaurant La Pergola, this year the ninth floor bar is open to the public from Wednesday through Sunday, for drinks and light bites from 6pm-1am.
Prices start at €15 for a regular cocktail (think Cosmopolitan, Negroni, Martini) but if you want to eat, go for the €29 formula, which combines a cocktail with a series of small plates prepared by the chef.
Just remember to call ahead because they will also be taking occasional private party bookings!
Where: Rome Cavalieri | Via Alberto Cadlolo, 101 | Rome | Tel +39 0635091
Cocktail prices: From €15
Snacks included: The basic cocktail comes with minimal bar snacks. To dine more substantially, try the €29 aperitivo formula which includes small gourmet plates.