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Romans always know where to eat. So follow the trend and enjoy a plethora of dishes to try. Aperitivo is Milan’s chic version of the Happy Hour, which has become popular in Rome during the last few years.
Rome’s Chicest Aperitivo
Choices abound in Rome for places to eat and you could easily find a decent place to dine if you explore off the beaten path and steer away from the tourist menus. There is an alternative to a sit-down meal, which includes socializing and sometimes even dancing. For a small price – depending on the venue – you get a cocktail, food and perhaps even entertainment. It is called aperitivo and you can easily find one of these spots as the evening is in full bloom.
This chic version of a Happy Hour began in Milan, but fun is highly contagious and Rome is enfevered with it. Many lounges and restaurants in Rome offer one and they vary extensively but are linked by a common thread, divertimento.
Radisson Es Hotel – Via Turati 171 – Roma
The top of the line aperitivo takes place at the top of the Radisson ES Hotel, one of the top luxury hotels in Rome. During the warmer months, ES Hotel’s aperitivo takes place alongside the rooftop swimming pool . The first cocktail will cost about €15, but your second drink is usually €10. They offer a light buffet accompanied by the beats of the DJ. Lovely fashionistas surround the glistening swimming pool, sipping their jewel-toned martinis and flirting the night away.
ES Hotel is not alone, however, for there are quite a few fighting for the title of ‘Rome’s Chicest Aperitivo’. Casina Valadier presents their very exclusive Sushi Garden Aperitif every Friday. This gorgeous historical location can be found just inside Villa Borghese, near Pincio’s fabulous panoramic lookout point.
Terrazza Margutta - Vicolo dell’orto di Napoli,10
A new spot to hit the aperitivo scene is Terrazza Margutta. Located between the Spanish Steps and Piazza del Popolo and in the vicinity of where Roman Holiday was filmed. It opens April 17th, 2013 and features Champagne tastings.
Beige -Via Del Politeama 13 – Roma Tel: 06/58330686
When I was searching for a location to celebrate my boyfriend’s birthday, I chose Beige in Trastevere and was more than pleasantly surprised. Beige is elegant and modern decorated in warm golden hues. The hot and cold buffet is satisfying and they have a large cocktail menu. These aspects combined with the chic crowd and DJ playing chillout all night long was all I needed.
When I reserved for a group of 12, I was told that they were booked solid after 10:30pm. Our group would arrive for the aperitivo at 8pm, so I reserved the space. Upon our arrival, the gracious staff immediately refrigerated the birthday cake and was attentive throughout the evening. The DJ was more than happy to let me sing Happy Birthday and when one of our guests spilled her drink, another immediately appeared free-of-charge. The only surprise on the bill was that it was less than we had imagined. That is indeed a nice surprise. When 10:30pm came upon us, the waitress was so subtle that none of our guests noticed.
Beige is definitely the place for a chic aperitivo with friends or a large group. Reservations are absolutely necessary unless you stay at the bar. An aperitivo is €8 and although the selection may change, on that day it featured pasta, roasted potatoes, cous cous, Caesar Salad and various types of delicious bruschette.
Jet Set – EUR
If you find yourself on he other side of of town, Jet Set’s Sunday aperitif is king. Located in EUR, this hot spot turns into a club by the time you finish your first cocktail.
Although closed during the summer months, Centrale offers a live variety show during their famous Sunday Aperitivo featuring comedians, dancers and singers. The evening includes a wide array of tasty Italian dishes and a well-made cocktail. Prices are about €10-15 depending on whether or not you reserve a table.
Centrale Ristotheatre – Via Celsa, 6 – Roma Tel: 06/6780501
If you can squeeze in, Fluid is worth a try. The bar is lined with food and people pulsing to the DJs tracks. This water-themed lounge features waterfalls and ice-cube seats. Reserving a table will guarantee you some space but it will also add €2 to the €8 aperitivo.
Fluid – Via Del Governo Vecchio 46 – Roma Tel: 066832361
However, for the ultimate in ice-themed lounges, the place to see is Ice Club in Rione Monti, which is near the Coliseum. Ice Club is completely constructed in ice and artistically sculpted by Canadian artists. It is a great place to keep cool in the sweltering heat.
Ice Club – Via Della Madonna Dei Monti 18/19 – Roma Tel: 0697845581
Freni e Frizioni – Near P. Trilussa – Trastevere
Freni e Frizioni, is the place to go if you want a crowd of international students overflowing into the large piazza. It’s just off of Piazza Trilussa in Trastevere. It is also a bit frenzied but it is a great place to meet people.
If you are looking for a place that serves lots of food with your drink minimum, then you may want to try Red at Rome’s Auditorium Parco della Musica. Red is great for large groups and has lots of space. If you want a table, you should reserve but if you arrive early enough, you can usually find seating. There is usually a DJ and sometimes live musicians play along to the DJ’s beats. The ambiance is modern and chic so dress to impress.
Rome is littered with places that offer an aperitivo. There is usually a drink minimum. Take a look at the buffet and decide for yourself. It is a perfect stop to make on your evening walk to Piazza Navona or after visiting Rome’s glorious Coliseum.
Just head into the labyrinth that lies behind Piazza Navona. You will recognize the aperitivo crowd. They flock to their favorite haunts just after 7pm. The men don their smiles and fitted white shirts and the women come clad in high-heeled shoes and flirtatious ways. Everyone is welcome…for one drink, which is the minimum. Go top off your day as well as your drink and enjoy yourself at a Roman aperitivo.
For a complete list of Rome’s aperitivo hot spots, check out the following links:
Complete list of Aperitivo Spots, clubs, restaurants and more…: This website is in Italian so use Google Translate to translate the entire page.