Looking for the perfect spot to have a cocktail on vacation in Rome? Well, get dressed up and prepare to paint the town red! We’ve curated the absolute best and coolest places to have that pre-dinner drink in Rome.
Pro Tip: Don’t forget to bookmark this post in your browser, so you can find it later when you’re wandering the streets of Rome in search of a great place to have a drink! Also, check out our dedicated guide to planning your visit to Rome, where you’ll find everything you need, plus the best tours and activities in Rome.
New-Authentic Places to Enjoy a Drink in Rome
You can easily go to Rome and sit at an old enoteca with ivy and cured meats hanging from the walls to escape from modern society. But you won’t see any Romans there.
Rome used to be stuck in the past, but over the past ten years, the city has modernized—in a good way. It’s a buzzing metropolis with some extremely cool additions while maintaining that classy Italian style. The recommendations on this list are what I would call the new authentic. Expect to pay €10-€25 a drink.
I also mention “casual” a few times as an indication of how to dress in Rome. When I say casual, I’m referring to a scenario where you’re out in public but not wearing a suit or sports coat. Look, you always want to dress nice in Rome, or you may feel out of place. A nice polo or button-down does the trick. However, I don’t think you’ll get into the country with mesh shorts.
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€€€€ | Fantastic City Views | Elegant Fine Dining
I’m definitely coming in aggressive with this first recommendation. Casina Valadier, named after famed Italian architect Giuseppe Valadier, is a stunning structure on the edge of Villa Borghese with one of the best views in the entire city. It’s a few hundred meters (uphill) from the Spanish Steps.
This is mainly a restaurant, but they were allowing guests to visit their bar at the time of writing. Call ahead to check, they’ll speak English. You can go for dinner or just get a prosecco and enjoy the view.
I recommend dressing snazzy for this visit. This restaurant is frequented by the city and the world’s uber elite, so it’s a great opportunity to bring your most daring upscale outfits. Rome is a great city for dressing up—there has been no occasion where I’ve felt overdressed. Ladies, if you’re going in heels, stuff some flats in your purse in case you find yourself on cobblestones.
Address: Piazza Bucarest
€€€ | Japanese Cuisine | Locals’ Hotspot | Terrace
Before there’s any backlash for recommending a non-Italian restaurant in Rome, remember this is all about where to get a drink. It may seem strange to go to a sushi restaurant for a drink in Rome, but prepare yourself to be completely surrounded by locals in one of my favorite venues in the Eternal City.
Zuma is a beautiful restaurant with one of the most incredible bars I’ve ever seen. It’s decked out inside and out and has one of the best terraces in the city. Don’t want to eat sushi? You don’t have to. Make a table reservation on the terrace before dinner and have a drink. When you leave, make another reservation for after dinner because you’ll be back.
Address: Via della Fontanella di Borghese, 48
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€€ | Classy | Outdoor Seating
This is a super classy and old-school cafe steps from the massive Louis Vitton store in Rome near via Condotti. The top reason to go is for the good amount of outdoor seating they have, and they’re just tucked away enough from via del Corso that you don’t feel overwhelmed by crowds.
You can sit down for a cappuccino, glass of wine, or a classic drink. This is one of my favorite places to go when the weather isn’t too hot and you can dress up a bit. It’s very classy, but don’t expect craft cocktails. This is an Aperol spritz-type place.
Address: Piazza di S. Lorenzo in Lucina 29
€€ | Beautiful Bar | Business Casual
This spot popped up on our radar in 2018/19. It’s a few hundred meters from our office in Rome. The food is good but what makes it a winner is its beautiful bar and great service. It’s an awesome place to dress nice, sit on a big plush seat, and feel like you’re in the Great Gatsby.
You’ll be surrounded by business professionals during lunch and local residents at dinner. You could dress up or go Italian-casual. It’s reasonably close to Castel Sant Angelo, between there and the Spanish Steps.
Address: Via di Ripetta 162
€€€ | Temple of Hadrian Views | Stylish
This could really be my number one place in Rome to grab a drink. Apparently, one of the owners is an Italian actress, so it’s super stylish and frequented by Rome’s fanciest people. It’s in the same square as Hadrian’s Temple and steps from the Pantheon and Via del Corso.
The interior decor is changed out a few times a year, sort of like an art gallery. The view of the Temple of Hadrian is fantastic. This is a great place to take a date and have a great conversation. They make great drinks, especially the cocktails—as always ask for a recommendation from the staff.
Address: Piazza di Pietra 42
€€ | Tasting Menu and Wine Pairings | Casual
I haven’t personally eaten or had a drink at this bar, but I’ve been admiring it since it opened a few years back. In the summer, this bar/restaurant opens up to the end of Via Giulia and the bar is beautiful.
They have excellent reviews online and prices appear to be pretty reasonable. Stop by for a drink around sixish and you’ll probably sit down for dinner. You can dress up or go casual. It’s located right on the border of Trastevere on the Campo de’ Fiori side of the river, just steps from Ponte Sisto.
Address: Lungotevere dei Tebaldi 4
€€ | Live Music | Casual
Pimms Good, formerly Good Cafe, is a stunning little bar and an ideal place for a casual drink or no-frills bite to eat. The entire front of the building is overgrown with beautiful ivy. The street is a huge foot-traffic area, so it is ideal for people-watching.
Depending on how much the neighbors complain, they often have live music inside. The staff is also amazing—I’ve been coming here for over a decade and we’ve all become good friends. Sit down at the bar and grab a beer or manhattan.
Address: via santa dorotea 8/9
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Bar del Fico
€€ | Cool Vibe | Garden Area
The name of the bar translates to Bar of the Fig and it sits in the Piazza of the Fig. Both are named for the big beautiful fig tree in the piazza. The bartenders are cool and, naturally, they make cool drinks. The decor is cool, and the people that go there are—you guessed it, cool.
It’s the perfect place for a temperate spring or fall evening. Buy a drink, walk outside into their garden area, and make conversation. You can show up in a suit or jeans.
Address: Piazza del Fico 26
I haven’t recommended a specific place as there is a bit of turnover here. Piazza Mattei is a great little square in the middle of the city that has no vehicles or foot traffic.
It feels like a hideaway in plain sight. There’s a little bar called Le Tartarughe Eat & Drink here you can stop at and get a drink or coffee. It may have a different name by the time you get there, but there’s always at least one bar open in this square.
What to Drink
Here are some recommendations for what to drink that will help you assimilate and even celebrate the local culture.
You can’t go wrong with a glass of red or white wine, but a great pre-dinner drink is prosecco. If you want to impress the bartender or the people you’re with, order Franciacorta. It’s the better version of prosecco in Italy and a wonderful treat. If you’re going to drink prosecco, ask if it’s from Valdobbiadene. If not, consider something else.
Cocktails have become a part of Roman culture. And I’m not talking about getting a Rum and Coke. The Romans I know love muddled craft drinks like a Moscow Mule with fresh ginger or a Mojito.
You’ll find a lot of drinks with muddled cucumber or mint to help stay cool in the summer. As always, ask the bartender what the specialty is and they’ll point you in the right direction. I’m sure you don’t need reminding to keep an open mind—you’re in Rome!