The Milanesi can certainly take credit for bringing ‘l’aperitivo’ to Italy, but you definitely have to hand it to the Romans for transforming happy hour time into something trendy. Aperitivo or the aperitif as most Anglo-Saxons know it, is an alcoholic beverage taken before dinner. But in Italy, it’s much more than that. It’s concept is similar to that of happy hour but without the two-for-one drink specials. L’aperitivo is a time to meet up with friends and colleagues over drinks after work. One can grab an aperitivo for about €6-10 between 7-9pm .
In Rome, Sunday is the most popular day and also the most expensive. Most places include an all you can eat appetizer buffet featuring finger foods, sandwiches and cold pastas for the price of a drink. Food selection varies on the place you go to.
Some aperitivo places that rank high on the hot spot list around Rome are:
A place to see and be seen. The lounge has a Miami Beach feel to it with its poshy couches and video projections on the wall. Buffet features sandwiches, cold pastas and finger foods.
Crudo – Via degli Specchi, 6 (Centro Storico) – Tel. 06/6838989
This bar tucked away in a tiny piazza near Piazza Navona draws in a mixture of young bohemians and suit-and-tie types. Though space is tight inside, most people opt for the standing only section in the piazza. Buffet features mixed vegetables, couscous and finger foods.
Société Lutèce – Piazza Monte Vecchio, 17 (Centro Storico) – Tel. 06/6830
A tiny but worth while lounge to visit just a few blocks away from the Pantheon. Limited seating, but if you manage to grab a spot inside you may also get to do some celebrity-spotting. Buffet features mixed vegetables, sandwiches and sometimes even sushi.
Salotto 42 – Piazza di Pietra, 42 (Centro Storico) – Tel. 06/6785804
When in doubt, you can always count on Friends. This café in the heart of Trastevere is always a sure bet. Open everyday with a lively young crowd. Buffet features cold pastas, mixed vegetables and finger foods.
Friends – Piazza Trilussa, 34 (Trastevere) – Tel. 06/5816111
Freni e Frizioni
This old mechanic shop (hence, the name—Shocks and Brakes) turned bar attracts a young bohemian crowd (both Italian and not). When space fills up inside, the crowd spills out into the tiny piazza and onto the staircase facing the street . Buffet features mixed vegetables, sandwiches, couscous and cold pastas.
Freni e Frizioni – Via del Politeama, 4-6 (Trastevere) – Tel. 06/58334210
Bar Gelateria Pompi
Known as the ‘King of Tiramisu’ in Rome, this popular bar/gelateria stays busy into the wee-hours of the morning. They also serve up a generous aperitivo buffet that includes pasta, sandwiches and finger foods.
Pompi – Via Albalonga, 7b – 9 – 11 (San Giovanni) – Tel. 06/7000418
Just a stone’s throw away from Rome’s La Sapienza University, this very modern café/restaurant is always filled with university students and working professionals. Both outdoor and indoor seating is available. Buffet consists of mainly pizza but also includes pastas, cold cuts and finger foods.
Momart – Viale XXI Aprile, 19 (Piazza Bologna) – Tel. 06/86391656
View of Rome from Campidoglio Hill originally posted by Geomangio