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Where to have an aperitif in Rome

Would you like to have an aperitif in Rome like a real Italian? Don't miss these suggestions!

Isabel Catalán

Isabel Catalán

8 min read

Where to have an aperitif in Rome

Dinnertime in Rome | ©Helena Lopes

As the saying goes, "where you go, do as you please" and in Rome it is customary to have an aperitivo before dinner. That is to say, a small snack accompanied by a few drinks that sometimes is so abundant that it can even serve as dinner.

If you want to enjoy like a real Roman, there is no doubt that tasting the 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 aperitif in Rome is a real pleasure.

1. Freni e Frizioni

Having an appetizer at Freni e Frizioni| ©Jennifer Davies
Having an appetizer at Freni e Frizioni| ©Jennifer Davies

Located in the Trastevere district, near the Tiber River, is Freni e Frizioni. A cocktail bar with a very friendly atmosphere that has a terrace where you feel like going out when the weather is nice to enjoy an aperitif in Rome.

Did you know that Freni e Frizioni is inside an old car workshop? Hence its name, which in Italian means brakes and clutches.

By 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 appetizer: Pasta

Book a gastronomic tour of Trastevere

2. Bar San Calisto

Bar Entrance| ©Iak
Bar Entrance| ©Iak

Perhaps the Bar San Calisto is not the most beautiful in the Trastevere district, 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 is 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 will find Bar San Calisto very close to Piazza Santa Maria in Trastevere. If you can get a place on the terrace because in the area there are usually street musicians who will entertain you in the afternoon and you will have a good time.

  • Address: Via Della Politeama, 4.
  • Recommended aperitif: Tramenzzini

Book a night golf cart tour with beverages

3. Black Market

Inside the Black Market| ©Blackmarket Hall
Inside the Black Market| ©Blackmarket Hall

If after your visit to the Colosseum you work up an appetite and feel like trying an aperitif in Rome, I recommend going to the Black Market bar in the Monti neighborhood.

The atmosphere is great for relaxing after a day of sightseeing. It has comfortable leather sofas where you can stretch out and relax while sipping a glass of wine accompanied by fish and chips that tastes homemade.

In the evenings there are live jazz concerts, so Black Market is a great place to end a perfect day in Rome. Also, in this area you will find more places to eat near the Colosseum if you get hungry.

  • Address: Via Dei Ciancaleoni 31, 00184 Rome Italy
  • Recommended appetizer: Fish and chips

Book a gastronomic street food tour

4. Materia Café

Visiting Materia Café| ©Materia - Food Coffee & Design
Visiting Materia Café| ©Materia - Food Coffee & Design

Also in the Monti neighborhood, 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 where to make a stop on the tourist route to recharge your batteries. Either for lunch as a brunch or for a snack at sunset.

Materia Café is a cafeteria decorated in a simple and cozy way to make you feel at home. If you have the opportunity to visit it, I recommend ordering the ratatouille di verdure with a glass of wine as an appetizer. Delicious!

  • Address: Via Andrea Provana, 7.
  • Recommended appetizer: Ratatouille di verdure

5. Pane e Salame

Enjoying the food at Pane e Salame| ©Pane e Salame
Enjoying the food at Pane e Salame| ©Pane e Salame

If you pass near the Trevi Fountain you have to go to Pane e Salame for an aperitif in Rome.

It is not a very big place and neither is its menu, but it is the right place to enjoy good Italian cold meats at a reasonable price.

If you want to escape from the routine of pasta and pizza in Rome it is 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 cuts 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

Entrance to Salotto 42| ©Ante Kante
Entrance to Salotto 42| ©Ante Kante

Also in the center, next to Hadrian's Temple and a few minutes from the Pantheon of Agrippa, is Salotto 42, a cocktail bar where you can have an aperitif in Rome and the last one before going to sleep.

It is a fantastic bar to go to have an aperitif in Rome and disconnect for a while listening to jazz music.

Among the dishes you can choose from at Salotto 42 there is a great 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 appetizer: Sushi

7. Micca Club

Inside Micca Club| ©NightandStripClub
Inside Micca Club| ©NightandStripClub

Near Termini station and close to the Basilica Santa Maria Maggiore (one of the oldest churches in Rome ) you will find this nightclub where you can have an aperitif in Rome while you go out to burn the night away on the dance floors.

Ordering a cocktail you can choose from a buffet of assorted appetizers. It's not too 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

Visiting Momart Café| ©Momart Restaurant Cafè
Visiting Momart Café| ©Momart Restaurant Cafè

Another cafe 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 taking some of the best cocktails in the Italian capital with your friends or your partner.

In Momart Café you can enjoy an aperitif with free buffet. The menu is so diverse that you can choose from pizzas, chicken, quiches, pasta, salads and much more. You'll be able to eat until you're full, so you probably won't want to eat any more.

Or do you? There's always room in your stomach for dessert! I'm sure you'll want to go for an ice cream at one of Rome's best gelato parlors.

  • Address: Viale XXI Aprile, 19 | 00162 Roma RM
  • Recommended appetizer: Wood-fired Pizza

9. Oasi della Birra

Having an Aperitif| ©Oasi della Birra
Having an Aperitif| ©Oasi della Birra

Before discovering the Trastevere neighborhood by night, a great plan that I recommend you to do to close a fun day of sightseeing, you have to go to Oasi della Birra (in the lively Testaccio neighborhood) for an aperitivo in Rome.

It is a nice tavern with a terrace where you can relax on sunny days to have a few beers or wines accompanied by a delicious appetizer based on cous cous, pasta, rice, vegetables and, best of all, delicious cheeses, cold meats and Italian desserts. As its name says, an "oasis of beer" that will seem like paradise to lovers of good food and drink.

For very little money, at Oasi della Birra you will be able to get your boots on and you won't need to book a table for dinner later on. Anyway, in the post Where to eat in Trastevere I leave you some ideas if you are one of those who do not forgive to go to sleep without having dinner and dinner.

  • Address: Piazza Testaccio, 39, 00153 Roma
  • Recommended appetizer: Cold cuts and cheeses

10. Doppiozeroo

Enjoying the Aperitif at Doppiozeroo| ©doppiozeroo
Enjoying the Aperitif at Doppiozeroo| ©doppiozeroo

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 four Major Basilicas of the city, 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 reserve 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.) because the dishes are quite tasty and the menu is constantly renewed.

  • Address: Via Ostiense, 68, 00154 Roma
  • Recommended appetizer: Pizza

What is the Italian aperitivo?

Having an Italian Aperitif| ©Elina Sazonova
Having an Italian Aperitif| ©Elina Sazonova

The Italian aperitivo consists of going to a bar or tavern to have a good drink and some snacks as an accompaniment while you spend a good time with friends chatting and enjoying life.

It is a deeply rooted Italian custom that emerged in the eighteenth century in the area of Turin by the hand of Antonio Benedetto Carpano (the creator of vermouth) and liked so much that quickly spread from the north to the rest of the country.

What time is the Italian aperitivo?

Normally, the Italian aperitif takes place from 5 PM to 8 PM although in some restaurants it extends beyond that and becomes a free buffet with a closed price.

The Italian aperitivo is an excellent option for a snack-dinner without spending a lot of money, an ideal gastronomic proposal for low cost travelers!

How much does the Italian aperitivo cost?

Generally, the Italian aperitif costs around 10 € although the price varies depending on the city and the bar you are visiting. The offer of places to have an aperitif is as varied as the number of restaurants to eat in Rome.

What is the Italian aperitivo?

To drink is usually beer or wine but also classic cocktails such as Spritz, Campari or Negroni.

In fact, in recent times the drinks menu has been greatly expanded 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! The most typical are cheeses, cold meats, nuts, olives or chips 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. Even desserts!