Are you the type that looks forward to that first cocktail on vacation but you want it to be the perfect spot?
If so, this article is for you. We’ve curated the absolute best and coolest places to get that pre-dinner drink in Rome. Get dressed up and paint the town red.
Tips & Structured Options
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There is tons to do and see in Rome. If you are looking for things to do prior to the happy hour, check out our post on the best tours and activities while 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. You simply won’t see Romans there.
Rome was stuck in the past but over the past ten years, the city has modernized in a good way. It is a buzzing metropolis that has added some extremely cool elements while maintaining that classy Italian style.
My recommendations are what I would call the new authentic. Expect to pay 10€ – 25€ a drink.
I mention “casual” a few times as a way to dress in Rome. When I say “casual” I am referring to a situation in public where you are not wearing a suit or sports coat.
You always want to dress nice in Rome or you may feel out of place. A nice polo or button-down does the trick. I don’t think you’ll get into the country with mesh shorts.
I am definitely coming in aggressive with the 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 this post was last updated – 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 is a great opportunity to bring your most daring upscale outfits. Rome is a great city for dressing up – there is no occasion where I have felt overdressed.
If you are going to try heels, stuff some flats in your purse in case you find yourself on cobbles stones.
Before there is an official backlash for recommending a non-Italian restaurant in Rome, this is an article about where to get a drink, ok?
Once you get over the idea that you are going to a sushi restaurant for a drink in Rome, 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 have ever seen. It is decorated to the nines inside and out – it 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.
This is a super classy and old-school cafe footstep from the massive Louis Vitton store in Rome near via Condotti. They have a good amount of outdoor seating, the only reason to go there, and they are just tucked away enough from via del Corso to not feel overwhelmed by crowds.
You can sit down for a cappuccino, glass of wine or 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. Very classy – but don’t expect craft cocktails. This is an Aperol spritz type place.
This spot popped up on the radar in 2018/19. It is a few hundred meters away from our office in Rome.
The food is good but it has a beautiful bar and great service. 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 is reasonably close to Castel Sant Angelo. Between there and the Spanish Steps.
This could really be my #1 place in Rome to grab a drink. Apparently, one of the owners is an Italian actress so its super stylish and frequented by Rome’s fanciest people. Its in the same square as Hadrian’s Temple and footsteps from the Pantheon and Via del Corso.
The interior decor is changed out a few times a year sort of like an art gallery. They make great drinks and the view of the Temple of Hadrian is fantastic.
This is a great place to take a date and have a great conversation. Cocktails are great – as always ask for a recommendation from the staff.
I have actually never personally eaten or had a drink at this bar but have been admiring to 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 6ish and you’ll probably sit down for dinner.
You can dress up or go casual. It is right on the border of Trastevere on the Campo de’ Fiori side of the river. Footsteps from Ponte Sisto.
Pimms Good, formerly Good Cafe, is a stunning little bar and an ideal place for a casual drink or no-frills bite to eat.
I didn’t have a good photo but the entire front of the building is overgrown with this 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 have been coming here for over a decade and we’ve all grown into good friends. Sit down at the bar and grab a beer or manhattan.
Bar del Fico
The bar is named after “bar of the fig” and it sits in “piazza of the fig.” There is a big beautiful fig tree in the piazza which it is all named after.
The bartenders are cool and make cool drinks. The decoration is cool and the people that go there are cool.
It’s the perfect place for a cool spring or fall evening. Buy a drink, walk outside in their garden area, and make conversation. You can show up in a suit or in jeans.
I didn’t specify a specific place as there is a bit of turnover here. Piazza Mattei is a great little piazza in the middle of the city that is void of vehicle and foot traffic.
It feels like a hideaway in plain sight. There is 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 is always at least one bar open in this square.
What to Drink
My recommendations are to point you towards understanding and assimilating to 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 are with, order Franciacorta. It is the better version of prosecco in Italy and a wonderful treat.
If you are going to drink prosecco, ask if it’s from Valdobbiadene. If it’s not, consider something else.
Cocktails have become a part of the Roman culture. I am not talking about getting a Rum and Coke. The Romans I know love muddled craft drinks like 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. Keep an open mind.