Top bars in… Rome, Italy

Despite being full of tourists entranced by its historical buildings, Rome offers nightlife to attract the most discerning drinkers. By James Lawrence.

The Italian journalist Silvio Negro said it best: “Roma, non basta una vita,” which translates as “Rome, one lifetime is not enough”. The fabled Eternal City, blessed with an unparalleled historic and artistic legacy, scarcely needs a lengthy introduction and is surely high on all globetrotters’ bucket lists. Its religious buildings, awe-­inspiring Colosseum and delicious gelato draw millions every year, but Rome’s exciting and refined nightlife scene is almost never given a second thought – perhaps because exhausted tourists rarely have the energy for a night on the tiles.

However, with a little research it becomes obvious that Romans know how to party. For while Rome lacks the edge of Berlin or the dynamism of London, it has plenty of options to entice barflies. Whether you’re into the club, underground or reliably glamorous hotel-­bar scene, the city is guaranteed not to disappoint. Indeed, after a slow start, Rome now offers some of the best variety of nightlife in Italy: bars, clubs, cafés and pubs to suit all tastes and budgets.

Testaccio – a working­-class neighbourhood with a lot of local flair – is the place to avoid the masses, and is a mecca for nightclubs and alternative venues.

The Centro Storico, on the other hand, is where you head to for expensive cocktails and chic surroundings. Bohemians and the artsy crowd gather nightly at Freni e Frizioni in Trastevere.

Of course, much depends on the season. In the summer, you’re best advised to explore the city’s five­-star hotels and their stylish rooftop bars. What could be more evocative of the famed Italian notion of la dolce vita than sipping a delectable aperitivo under an open summer sky, reveling in the magic of Rome?

Click through the following pages to see our top bars in Rome, Italy.