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Necci dal 1924 - Roma
Photograph: Andrea Di Lorenzo

The 13 best bars in Rome

The best bars in Rome cover everything from old-school enotecas to hidden speakeasies. The good times all but guaranteed

Natalie Aldern
Livia Hengel
Written by
Natalie Aldern
&
Livia Hengel
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The Romans know how to party. That’s no secret. They’ve been at it since the beginning. But there’s one thing you should know before you hit the town: these guys start their parties like they start their dinners: late.

So have a late, carb-filled lunch, possibly a nap, and then start bar-hopping at one of the brilliant bars on this list. Here, you’ll find the best late-night haunts in town alongside sultry rooftop bars with Colosseum views. But they all have one thing in common: they’re all open late, and they all serve really great drinks. Here are the best bars in Rome.  

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🪩 The best clubs in Rome
🍝 The best restaurants in Rome
📍 The best things to do in Rome
🏨 The best hotels in Rome

This guide was recently updated by Natalie Aldern, a writer based in Rome. At Time Out, all of our travel guides are written by local writers who know their cities inside out. For more about how we curate, see our editorial guidelines.

Cool bars in Rome

  • Bars and pubs
  • Cocktail bars

Drink Kong is iconic in Rome for a reason. Well, maybe three reasons total. The cocktails are innovative and delicious, the decor is modish and fun, and it’s inspired by 80s arcade games. Does it get better than that? (No, is the answer). This bar is huge, with four rooms across a 300-sq-metre-space. And if you’re wondering if it could be a bit kitsch, you’ll be pleasantly surprised – Drink Kong is dark, sleek and sexy, carefully crafted with warm lighting. Don’t know what you fancy to drink? Just ask the very knowledgeable mixologists. 

  • Bars and pubs
  • Café bars

Situated just around the corner from Trastevere's main square, Bar San Calisto’s patio tables are full nearly every hour of the day. The dive bar is more retro coffee shop than cocktail lounge and has long been one of Rome’s most popular bohemian hangouts. The combination of outdoor seating and dirt-cheap booze makes for great people-watching. Some of the regulars look a little worse for wear, but the crowd is rounded out with a good mix of students and local intellectuals, most of whom choose to nurse large bottles of Peroni while arguing over soccer predictions.

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  • Bars and pubs
  • Cocktail bars

Located next to a university on the edge of Trastevere, Freni e Frizioni is perpetually overflowing with a young and thirsty crowd. The name means ‘brakes and clutches’ and pays homage to the space’s history as a mechanic shop. The interior is now a contemporary mix of poured concrete and massive chandeliers, but most people choose to take advantage of Freni e Frizioni’s private piazza to drink outside near the river. Do as the Romans do by ordering one of these classic drinks: a spritz (Aperol with prosecco), an Americano (Campari with vermouth) or a Negroni (Campari, gin and vermouth) and enjoy an abundant aperitivo of flavourful grains, couscous and pasta that can easily count as a casual and delicious dinner.

  • Bars and pubs
  • Sports bars

This hole-in-the-wall craft beer bar in the popular Trastevere neighbourhood is one of the city’s legendary haunts. The name translates to “but what did you come here to do?!” and the answer is, obviously, that you came to drink the most discerning selection of craft beer in the city. The tiny pub is narrow and popular, so you’re likely to see bearded beer aficionados spilling out the door with pint glasses in hand. But what Ma Che Siete Venuti a Fà lacks in space, it makes up for in beer credentials and a laid-back vibe that makes you want to lean up against the wall outside with another round. The selection changes regularly and features craft breweries that are predominantly Italian, with international microbrews occasionally sneaking into the rotation.

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  • Bars and pubs
  • Café bars

The working-class Pigneto neighbourhood is the go-to destination for a night out in Rome. Craft beer bars and speakeasies have moved in, but old-school Necci remains the best place to enjoy a drink in the area. The spot first opened as a gelato shop in 1924 but has slowly evolved into an all-around neighbourhood hangout at any hour of the day or night. The café was once a favourite haunt of Italian film director Pier Paolo Pasolini and continues to attract an equally artistic crowd today. Keeping with its plebian roots, the iconic bar still only charges €5 for an Aperol spritz. Opt for the Italian aperitif or a glass of sparkling wine out of the shaded gravel terrace during summer.

6. Il Goccetto

Of all the wine bars in Rome, Il Goccetto might be the best. The interior is atmospheric, with painted wooden ceilings, hanging medieval chandeliers and bottles of vino stacked floor to ceiling. Opened in 1983 by Anna and Sergio when they were merely 20 years old, the pair took a series of sommelier courses to learn the craft and has since built a spot that stocks around 800 different Italian labels, along with some French varietals. Take your pick from 30 different options by the glass and order some savoury treats from the counter for a pre-dinner aperitivo.

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7. The Court

The cocktail bar of the luxury hotel Palazzo Manfredi is known for its imaginative mixology, but the real showstopper is the unobstructed street-level view of the Colosseum. Other Rome bars might offer rooftop vantage points, but none match the vista from The Court – short for courtyard given the outdoor lounge setting on the edge of the ruins of a Roman gladiator school. Bar Manager Matteo Zed takes inspiration from the history of Rome and the area’s local ingredients to craft an evocative drink list full of creative concoctions, while giving due respect and billing to Italy’s most classic cocktails.

🍷 Discover more of the best rooftop bars in Rome

Salotto 42
Photograph: Salotto 42

8. Salotto 42

Salotto 42 is a celebrated bar with some of the best curb appeal in Rome. Set within Piazza di Pietra right off the busy Via del Corso, it looks out onto the neatly lined columns of the 2nd century Temple of Hadrian, making for a unique Roman cocktail experience. For nearly 20 years, travellers and locals have flocked to this ‘book bar’ for carefully-crafted cocktails, a homey atmosphere and a fashionable crowd. Buzzing every hour of the day, it’s also a good spot for morning coffee or afternoon tea in the heart of Rome.

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  • Bars and pubs
  • Cocktail bars

There is no shortage of pilgrims making their way through Rome en route to the Vatican, but serious drinkers prefer to worship at the temple of Jerry Thomas. Dimly lit and hazy with cigarette smoke, The Jerry Thomas Project set off the city’s speakeasy craze and has easily remained at the top of Rome’s growing list of members-only watering holes. Gaining entrance to the incredibly popular private bar requires a membership fee, a quick look at their website to find the daily password and an advanced booking. The over-the-top admission procedures are reflective of the atmosphere, where the booze is custom, vodka is banned, and presentation is just as important as quality ingredients.

  • Bars and pubs
  • Café bars

Although it lies only steps from Piazza Navona, Bar del Fico remains one of the locals’ favourite spots to enjoy a drink at any time of the day. During the day, this quintessential Roman bar is filled with old men playing chess and laptop-toting hipsters. After the sun sets, the space seamlessly transitions into a popular cocktail stop with strong drinks and lots of outdoor seating. The lively crowd and radio-friendly tunes make it a trendy option in an otherwise tourist-heavy area. Stick to the Italian cocktails (think spritz or negroni) and enjoy the parade of Rome’s cool crowd.

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Stravinskij Bar
Photograph: Hotel Photography srl

11. Stravinskij Bar

Stravinskij Bar within Hotel de Russie is a veritable oasis in the heart of Rome. Set within an outdoor patio in the centre of the hotel, it’s a chic place to enjoy a spritz, Bellini or signature cocktails like the Stravinskij house punch, with fresh seasonal fruit and champagne, or the Stravinskij bloody Mary with a secret spicy mix. If you snag a table up on the terraced garden, you can enjoy your drink with a side of cultural heritage: few people know that this part of the garden used to be the historic vineyard of Villa Borghese.

  • Bars and pubs
  • Cocktail bars

Bursting with vintage sofas and original artwork, Black Market in Monti feels like walking into your much cooler friend’s awesome basement apartment. The bar is at home in the trendy neighbourhood but avoids feeling artificial or pretentious. Instead, the labyrinth of rooms and mix of furnishings make for an intimate setting for a few drinks and conversation. The space also often hosts live music acts, so it’s a great place to stop for an intimate concert. The menu of beer, wine and classic cocktails is adequate, but the cosy atmosphere and eclectic music performances make this one of the city’s best places to drink.

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13. Club Derrière

Club Derriere is the speakeasy club tucked within the back of the popular Osteria delle Coppelle, making the venue a great day-to-night place for all your drinking and dining needs. Open until late, you can enter the club through a hidden closet in the back of the restaurant or through a secret doorway on a tiny street near the Pantheon. Expect hip indie music, vintage sofas and an array of excellent drinks, from wine and beer to cocktails. This is one of Rome’s more laid-back speakeasies and is a spacious watering hole, so you don’t need to fret about getting inside: it welcomes all visitors.

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