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Guide to the best bars in Rome

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A good bar can provide answers to many important questions.

For example, in the summer of 2022, my wife, Cecily, and I sent our daughter Marie to a dormitory in Rome because she thought attending college in the Eternal City seemed more attractive than attending college in Newark. WA – Think about it – we wandered aimlessly for a while in the August heat and found ourselves sitting in a small bar near Piazza Navona, feeling a little out of sorts.

Having your only child leave home is a strange experience. “What are we doing now?” my wife asked me. This question has been relevant almost our whole lives, but I’m just going to say, “I guess, have a drink?”

Best bars in Rome

From left: The drink menu at the Enoteca Il Piccolo bar near Piazza Navona; part of the Il Piccolo wine range | Photo credit: Camila Glorizo

Il Piccolo wine shop What happened at that strange moment has become one of my favorite bars in Rome. I later discovered that it was also a favorite of many of my friends in the wine industry, for its mostly (but not exclusively) natural wines from small producers and its unmodified, non-touristy, intensely Roman vibe. It’s small and dark inside, but cozy. There are mismatched tables outside, and if the temperature wasn’t the nine million degrees it was when we went back last summer, you could be sitting among a group of guests, half of whom appear to be from the 1950s in a black-and-white room. White Italian movies, half of which are obviously younger. Have some bruschetta, some mortadella, and some olives. Pick a drink from the shortlist or pick a bottle from the wall inside (the stock is extensive, both Italian and international). Figure out your life.

The truth is, in Rome, bars—or bar — It could be almost anything: old-school restaurants like Il Piccolo, with a simple menu of salami, bruschetta and panini; places that are more restaurant-like but still traditional; and places that greatly enhance the ambition of the food, While still offering small plates designed to pair with wine. My cookbook writer friend Katie Parla, who lived in Rome for many years, describes the latter trend: “ red hotel It used to be that you would have a glass of wine or a glass of grappa here, maybe have a bite to eat with friends, and that was it.Nowadays, you see these more and more often bar Run by a team of young people who have either trained abroad or realized that real food can be had in a pub. “

From left: RetroBottega, in the Centro Storico neighbourhood, known for its seasonal dishes paired with wines from small producers; grilled octopus at Latteria Trastevere | Photo credit: Camila Glorizo

For me the model of this sport is RetroBottega, One of Rome’s most popular attractions. It’s about a 10 minute walk from Il Piccolo, which is a completely different experience – but not quite like that. Although it’s located in a 16th-century townhouse, the design is distinctly modern: black bar stools, blond wood and moody lighting. Chef-owners Giuseppe Lo Iudice and Alessandro Miocchi’s ever-changing menu is hyper-seasonal—when the restaurant closes on Mondays, the staff often Head to Lazio or Abruzzo to pick.

From left: Bottles at RetroBottega; Partner Giuseppe Lo Iudice checks the temperature of bottles at RetroBottega | Photo credit: Camila Glorizo

Last time I went there I was blown away by them Green pasta, garlic, Roquefort cheese and peppers. It’s a dish of bright green pasta (wild spinach and green garlic sprouts are used in the dough), simply garnished with bright red peperoncino flakes and plenty of grated pecorino. A glass of Greco di Tufo from Campania’s famous producer Quintodecimo is an excellent accompaniment. But choosing any number of wines from the extensive wine list works just as well. As Livia Alyson Careaga, a Rome resident who oversees U.S. wine importers’ Italian operations, said, “The team values ​​the idea that you come here to try something new, to try a special glass, even if it’s just for the sake of it. Get together with friends and have a glass of wine.”

Via di Porta Settimiana, near Latteria Trastevere | Photo credit: Camila Glorizo

If you’re a natural wine lover, head across the river to Trastevere. Skip the student bars packed with revelers and head straight to Latteria Trastevere. I’ll quote Katie Parla again because that’s where I was drinking the last time I saw her. “I hate drinking in Trastevere,” she told me, “but Latria has one of the best wine lists in the city, and it stands out among a bunch of tourist traps.”

From left: Cured meats and cheeses stored under the bar at Latteria Trastevere; Latteria Trastevere, a haven for natural wine | Photo credit: Camila Glorizo

The best thing to do is find a wooden table outside and order something refreshing—I had a grillo from Sicilian organic producer Masseria del Feudo—and pair it with some that owner Antonio Cossu has brought from Sardinia. Cheese, where he grew up. Throw in some beef tartare and (miracle of miracles, as they are very rare in Italy) a fresh green salad, and you have bliss. “You can come here for a short stay,” Parla said. aperitif, Before you know it, you’ve spent the entire night hunkered down. ” I can attest that this is true.

From left: Lunch of ravioli (and wine) at L’Angolo Divino; L’Angolo Divino owner Massimo Crippa pouring a glass of wine | Photo credit: Camila Glorizo

Back to the Campo de’ Fiori area, sacred corner is another place not to be missed. Owner Massimo Crippa’s encyclopedic knowledge of wine is also reflected in his bar’s encyclopedic wine list, which ranges from humble low-intervention bottlings to classics and wide-open wines. Popular rare wine. Inside, old wood-beam ceilings and brick walls make it feel like a historic wine cellar, and in some ways it is. Crippa’s grandfather founded the company in 1946, and it’s a classic wine and oil — a place where you go throughout the week to fill jars with olive oil and wine. “These are very Roman places with very ancient traditions,” Kripa said.

The last time I went to L’Angolo Divino, Crippa poured me three different orange wines – my favorite was the Barraco Altomore Grillo from Sicily – and I had it with a bowl of olives, some mortadella and some fresh Drink it with farmer’s cheese. I asked Kripa for the name of the bar. “Well, it’s definitely because we’re on the corner of the street,” he said. “But I also like this word Holy, Because wine is cultural, it’s religious, and it goes back to the time of Jesus Christ. I like to think that people come here and feel a little bit of that. On the other hand, a lot of people just think my name must be Un’Goro. “

When I asked my friend Federico de Cesare Viola, editor of the Italian edition of the magazine “Italia.” Food and wine, “How do you define a Roman bar?” he said with a smile. “In a way, there is no one definition – for Rome, almost anywhere can be a bar if you decide.” This seems to me to be a typically Italian way of defining: e.g. Driving in Italy is simply about using your vehicle to get from point A to point B; whether it involves streets, laws or speed limits is purely a personal choice.

From left: Desserts at Salumeria Roscioli; deli counter at Salumeria Roscioli, selling 150 cured meats | Photo credit: Camila Glorizo

In that spirit, I have to add Salumeria Roscioli to my list of favorites. Beyond that, it’s unique in that it’s the only place that’s been recommended to me by wine professionals and poets (I honestly can’t count how many sommeliers I know rave about it; though) , the poet was the late Mark Strand (who got there long before any wine expert).

From left to right: Diners tasting bitters and spirits at Salumeria Roscioli; Salumeria Roscioli wine director Maurizio Paparello (left) with Maria Elena Roscioli and Alessandro Roscioli | Photo credit: Camila Glorizo

Salumeria Roscioli exists in a nebulous realm between a shop filled with amazing handmade salami and cheese, a bar and a full restaurant. (It has also been discovered by many, many people in recent years, so be sure to book in advance.) The food is great, especially the pasta: oxtail ravioli and cheese and black pepper Not to be missed, but order the homemade ones first pink salami, Snack on old-fashioned salami and pickles while perusing wine director Maurizio Paparello’s two-volume wine list. There are hundreds of options, but if it’s in stock, grab a bottle of Stella di Campalto’s ethereal Rosso di Montalcino (or her more glamorous Brunello, if money is no object).

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Remember, a few blocks away there’s Rimessa Roscioli (also very wine-centric), which is outstanding (and always Instagram-worthy) Maritozzi Roscioli Caffè next door offers pastries, and around the corner is the family’s original bakery (where it all started). Oh, and there’s also the newly opened Roscioli R-House, In Trastevere, it’s essentially a one-room hotel, or short-stay apartment, or, since this is Italy, whatever you decide to call it. Either way, this is a completely charming non-hotel option for those who need a place to sleep.

From left: St. Peter’s Basilica with the Tiber in the foreground; courtyard of the Rocco Forte Hotel Hotel de Russie | Photo credit: Camila Glorizo

Don’t discount hotel bars when in Rome either. First of all – I admit it – sometimes the desire for a delicious cocktail trumps the need for wine. In this case, if you don’t head to the Stravinskij Bar in the oasis-like courtyard of the Hotel de Russie at the Rocco Forte Hotel, then What a dereliction of duty. The hotel is located next to Piazza del Popolo, where tourists usually gather. At the Stravinsky Bar, however, you’re serenely unaware of the frenzied crowds, a feeling undimmed by the bar’s romano tuna, which tastes of celery shrub, sage and black pepper.

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From left: View of the Mater Terrae Bistrot on the rooftop of the Bio Hotel Raphaël; a Mater Terrae sommelier serving the Masi Costasera Amarone Classico 2018 | Photo credit: Camila Glorizo

For a drink and one of the city’s most stunning sunsets, head to Mater Terrae Bistrot on the top floor of Bio Hotel Raphaël, The Relais & Châteaux hotel in the historic center is where my wife and I took our daughter for a drink during her first summer after sending her off to school for a year. She was about to start her sophomore year, sharing an apartment with friends and starting student life in Rome.

From left: Bio Hotel Raphaël, Navona district; toasting on the terrace of Bio Hotel Raphaël | Photo credit: Camila Glorizo

As the name suggests, Bio Hotel Raphaël focuses on organic growing, from its vine-covered exterior to its vegetarian and vegan menu, and its selection of organic and biodynamic wines in the restaurant and bar. Anna Spanu, the young sommelier in charge of the project, is an excellent tour guide. At her suggestion we had a bottle of Sergio Mottura’s lovely Poggio della Costa white wine from Umbria. Next up was a glass of a more elusive dessert wine: Buca delle Canne from natural wine producer La Stoppa. With its amber-like sweetness, it’s a wonderful thing to taste while looking out over the rooftops of Rome.

Twelve months later, my wife and I were sitting in Il Piccolo restaurant, wondering what on earth we were going to do, when it dawned on me that our only child had left home. Everything is different now; but we are still together as a family and everything is the same.

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(Feature image credit: Camila Glorizo)

This story first appeared on travelandleisure.com

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