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Traditional bacari

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Al Portego, Venice, bacari

Time Out says

The humble, neighbourhood salvation of the Venetian dining scene, serving cheap wine and tapas-like snacks from dawn to dusk to a loyal local clientele.

With their blackened beams and rickety wooden tables, bacari (emphasis on the first syllable) are local bars, often hidden down backstreets or in quiet campielli. These establishments – Al PortegoCa’ d’Oro, All’ArcoAlla Ciurma and Bottega ai Promessi Sposi are fine examples – serve alcohol and snacks (cicheti) to market traders, workers and students from early morning onwards, and cater for Venetians on a giro di bacari (pub crawl) at aperitivo time.

They may have a dark room out the back with scant seating, but dominating the front of the premises is a high glass-fronted bar counter piled with cicheti. The drink of choice is the ombra, a small glass of house wine, which is usually priced at around €1, but you’ll find beer and spirits, too. The most famous and most down-to-earth of Venice’s bacari is Da Lele, situated near Piazzale Roma in the back streets of Santa Croce. A drink here – don’t ask for a coffee as it isn’t served – will give you an unrivalled insight into local workaday Venice.


Various locations
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