Italy has given the world innumerable cultural treasures: ancient Roman relics, paintings of the Renaissance masters, and (of course) pizza. But one of the greatest Italian inventions is little known outside of the bel paese – the aperitivo.

Best aperitivo in Rome: top 5 places

  1. Oasi della Birra: for an unrivaled selection of beer and wine
  2. Freni e Frizioni: for people-watching in a private piazza
  3. Doppiozeroo: an aperitivo with desserts? What a treat
  4. Salotto 42: for stylish cocktails around the corner from the Pantheon
  5. Queen Makeda Grand Pub: for craft beer and conveyor belts

Aperitivo is meant to “open” the appetite before dinner.

It consists of a classic cocktail (think spritz) and a selection of nibbles. Even the most basic bar will always serve your early evening glass of prosecco with a free helping of potato chips and peanuts.  However, the real treats are to be found at the Roman watering holes that go all out – featuring delicious buffets with any drink for less than 10 euro.  These happy hours last from about 5 – 8 pm during the week, and can be a sneaky way to sample a range of Italian foods for one very low price.

See also: 5 Best Restaurants in Trastevere You Need To Visit

The aperitivo is an art, not meant to be squandered on bad booze or lame snacks. To guide your imbibing,

Here is where to find the best aperitivo in Rome:

Where to find the best aperitivo in Rome

See also: 5 Most Romantic Rooftop Bars in Rome

Oasi della Birra (Piazza Testaccio 39/40)

Located in the heart of Testaccio, Oasi della Birra is an enoteca stocked with beers and wines from all over the world. During the day, the shop sells everything from Italian chocolates and specialty teas.

Oasi Della Birra, Aperitivo in RomePhoto Source: Natalie Kennedy,

The extensive buffet is popular from the early evening – stocked with cured meats, fresh cheese, and cold pasta plates.  In the summer, sit under twinkling lights on an outdoor patio while you sip a cold beverage. If you arrive too late for the 10 euro buffet (which includes a drink) you can still order a range of affordable antipasti from the dinner menu.

Freni e Frizioni (Via del Politeama 4/6)

By day, charming Trastevere is an ivy-draped wonderland.  Its twisting alleyways lead to quiet picturesque corners, where laundry is left out to starch under the Roman sunlight. By night, the district is taken over by a livelier crowd.

Freni e Frizioni, Aperitivo in RomePhoto Source: Natalie Kennedy,

One of the best places to people watch is at Freni e Frizioni, a cocktail bar situated in its own private piazza.  The all-vegetarian evening aperitivo is free with your choice of drink – but the mojitos with masses of fresh mint are a standout.

Doppiozeroo (Via Ostiense, 68)

Pizzas, pastas, and grilled veggies abound at this locals-only bar at the base of Rome’s gasometro.

Doppiozerro, Best Aperitivo in RomePhoto Source: Natalie Kennedy,

While the savoury flavours are hard to resist, try to save room because Doppiozeroo is one of the few apertivi in town with a selection of desserts. Nutella pizza and cornetti with cream? Don’t mind if I do.  Cocktails and wine come with the buffet for 10 euro, or you can upgrade to a larger pour of vino for 12 euro.

Salotto 42 (Piazza di Pietra 42)

Fashionable Salotto 42 is a cocktail bar with an unrivalled location at the base of Hadrian’s Temple. Two minutes from the Pantheon, the designer space looks out at gorgeous columns and attracts a well-heeled crowd.

Salotta, Best Aperitivo in RomePhoto Source: Natalie Kennedy,

The signature cocktails, which feature ingredients like raspberry and sage or dried pears and star anise, are not to be missed.  The beautiful drinks pair well with the weeknight buffet that is heavy on organic and vegetarian dishes.

Queen Makeda Grand Pub (Via di San Saba, 11)

Craft beer lovers unite! While many specialty bars shun the aperitivo culture, Queen Makeda has embraced the tradition. Order your choice of craft brews or hard cider, and sit at the counter for easy access to the single-portion snacks that whiz by on a motorized conveyor belt.

Queen Makeda Best Aperitivo in Rome
Photo Source: Natalie Kennedy,

Grab as many mini-panini and crunchy chicken as you like while the bite-sized plates zip by.

Did we miss your favorite aperitivo spot in Rome? Let us know!

If you’re not hungry by now, read this article again ?

See you in Rome!