This daytime-only bar tucked in San Polo, not far from Rialto Market, is among Venice’s most classic bacari. Locals crowd the standing-room-only space while selecting cicchetti from the display counter, along with glasses of vino bianco, rosso or spumante. The folks from the gracious family behind the counter are pros at welcoming everyone who enters, even when jammed. Make eye contact, point to order, then move out of the way. Not a place for large groups or impatient attitudes.
The best Venice bars paint a picture that's different from anywhere else in Italy – and the world, for that matter.
Local drinking traditions range in scope, price and, of course, choice of liquor. Take the high-social and inexpensive giro d'ombra (giro means stroll and ombra is a slang term for wine), for example: it's basically a Venetian pub crawl that asks of participants to drink at one bar and then another with friends in tow – all while consuming cicchetti, traditional small snacks served in bacaris.
A classic Venetian spritz after work is as elemental to life on the island as water taxis are to transport, and enoteca wine bars are as plentiful as footbridges. A new breed of inventive cocktail lounges and live music hotspots keep the scene fresh, along with some hidden gems tucked into the city's top restaurants and hotels.
The best bars are found far from the bustle of the main attractions, so put on your walking shoes, wander about, get lost and, most importantly, slow your pace. Here’s your guide for getting beyond tourist meccas and experiencing the true essence of Venice, one tasty sip at a time.