Featured Image: The Court Rome at Palazzo Manfredi which offers unparalleled views of the Colosseum.
Travelers to Rome will be delighted to learn that wine isn’t the only option that’s worth exploring. The last few years have seen the advent of a new cocktail energy and culture gripping the city.
Here are our 7 favorite spots right to grab a classic cocktail or a totally innovative concoction created by master barmen in the Eternal City.
1. Jerry Thomas Project
The veritable OG cocktail bar in Rome, the Jerry Thomas consistently ranks as the top cocktail bar not only in Rome but in the world by its continuous ranking among the 50 Best Bars in the World. But the Jerry Thomas Project is far more than just about a cocktail, it’s a whole experience. In order to grab a drink you’ll need a reservation, which is usually easy enough to snag over the phone. But to enter for your reservation you’ll need a password. You’ll be directed to visit the site and locate a secret button which will direct you to a secret page within the website. There you’ll be asked a multiple choice question and your email. If you answer the question correctly, the password will be emailed to you. If not, you won’t receive anything.
Once inside, there are also a few house rules to follow. For starters, they don’t serve vodka. And second, the bartender is always right. So trust him or her, and don’t be too picky. Additionally, smoking is permitted inside the establishment (the space is equipped with special air circulation systems).
If all that hasn’t scared you off yet, then it’s worth checking out the website and reserving your spot today.
Vicolo Cellini, 30 | Open daily 10pm – 4am (Sunday 9pm-3am) | Website
For a little less pomp but all the substance, check out Derriere. A veritable speakeasy because the main entrance is hidden in the back of the Hosteria Coppelle through an unassuming cabinet. The less fun but more practical entrance is around the side on a very small side street that leads out of the piazza.
Bartenders here are accommodating with any sort of request but go for one of their suggestions as they know their craft well. This is strictly an after-dinner place as they don’t serve any kind of food. The place is pretty small, so avoid the crowds by heading there earlier in the night.
Vicolo delle Coppelle, 59 | Open daily 10pm – 4am | Website
3. Suburra 1930
For a great food and drink experience, Suburra 1930 serves up a fantastic aperitivo with careful savory snacks from the kitchen paired with expert drinks. The barmen are well versed in their liquors and are happy to accommodate specific requests. The space is vested in colorful marbles and soft avocado-colored velvet, framed in shiny black-top tables and golden accents.
It’s conveniently tucked away in the small piazza that’s right next to the Cavour metro stop, at the intersection of Via Leonina and the charming shop-lined Via Urbana. Suburra 1930 makes a perfect pit stop for any afternoon shopping adventure.
Piazza della Suburra, 13/15 | Open daily from 6.30pm | Website
4. Drink Kong
A new entry to the cocktail scene that’s made quite the splash in it’s short existence, Drink Kong is the new trendy cocktail hangout for Rome’s socialite scene. Local celebrity barman Patrick Pistolesi helms the bar with a menu that’s more emotional than it is specific, where each page provides a minimal description of each creation with three descriptors rather than ingredients. A bold move that fits in with the near pitch-dark interior that’s only lit by sexy pin lights on each table and a giant neon gorilla face.
For the young and young at heart, this is one Roman cocktail experience not to be missed.
Piazza di S. Martino Ai Monti, 8 | Open daily 6:30pm – 2am | Website
5. Il Marchese
A twist on an old favorite is all you’ll find in the cocktail list at Il Marchese, the self-proclaimed “only dedicated Amaro Bar in Europe”. The bar hosts hundreds of bottles of common and rare aperitifs and digestifs, available to drink neat or added into one of their own concoctions. Even a cocktail purist can enjoy some of the fantasy that Il Marchese offers, with their own renditions on sours made with Montenegro or various classic cocktails enriched with alcoholic herbal infusions.
You may come for the drinks, but stay for dinner too. Their full menu of pastas and pizzas are great accompaniments to the vast menu of libations.
Via di Ripetta, 162 | Open daily 12:30pm – 2am | Website
Deep in the narrow streets north of Campo de Fiori, the small speakeasy, member’s only bar Argot is tucked in the basement of an ancient building. The size of the place is modest, but it’s really a place only frequented by those in-the-know – which on some nights can be a lot! Friendly barmen and staff are happy to accommodate any cocktail preference, or even bring you behind the bar to teach you tricks of the trade!
The member’s-only nature of the bar means you’ll need to “sign up” your first time and pay a small fee. But once you’ve got the membership card, you’re a member for life.
Via dei Cappellari, 93 | Open daily 10pm – 4am | Website
7. The Court Rome
Without a doubt, 2019’s most anticipated opening was The Court Rome, a bar sandwiched between two buildings (both part of the 5-star Relais & Chateau property, Palazzo Manfredi) with the most stunning, uninhibited view of the Colosseum. Another local bar celebrity, Matteo Zed, mans the bar mixing up both classic favorites and creative innovations but the real star is the grand dam colosseum herself.
Via Labicana, 125 | Open Monday – Sunday, 11:00 am to 3:30 pm / 6:30 pm to 1:00 am | Website
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Where is your favorite cocktail bar in Rome? Share your picks in the comments below!