The Best Cocktail Bars in Rome

Rome’s taste for cocktails has improved exponentially recent years. The catalyst for change was the Jerry Thomas Project, a speak-easy-style bar, which opened in 2010 and set about training bartenders—and customers palates—to reject the reigning drinking culture of bad mojitos and watery spritzes. At about the same time, Romans who had gone abroad to find work have returned with awakened sensibilities, new skills and a real desire to drink well. –Katie Parla

  • 1

    Jerry Thomas Project

    With space for just 35 in its single, password-protected room on the ground floor of a 500-year old building in the historical center of Rome, The Jerry Thomas Project was the city’s first, serious craft cocktail bar. Over the past four years, the mustachioed staff has poured stellar pre-Prohibition-era classic cocktails, while simultaneously developing their own inspired drinks and style.

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    KNOWN FOR

    • craft cocktails
    • lots of whiskey
    • lots of rum
  • 2

    Barnum Café

    This bar and cafe near Campo de’ Fiori is open from morning until late at night, but the magic really happens when barmen Patrick Pistolesi and Federico Tomaselli are in, from 6 p.m. until closing. This team trained all over Europe before settling down in Rome, where they pour fantastic drinks in a neighborhood known for its nightlife—but not necessarily the quality of its bars.

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    KNOWN FOR

    • craft cocktails
    • lots of rum
    • lots of whiskey
    • lots of mezcal / tequila
    • bar food
  • 3

    Co.So. Cocktail & Social

    Co.So. Cocktail & Social is among the dozens of bars in Pigneto, Rome’s main nightlife destination. But you won’t find the standard swill or Midori spritzes that populate the neighbors’ menus. Owner Massimo D’Addezio, formerly of Stravinskij Bar—Rome’s most luxurious cocktail bar—opened Co.So. in late 2013, attracting a loyal following with his tongue-in-cheek creations, like the Carbonara Sour (pork-jowl-infused vodka, egg white, black pepper, lemon juice and simple syrup).

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    KNOWN FOR

    • craft cocktails
    • lots of whiskey
    • lots of rum
    • bar food
  • 4

    The Gin Corner

    In June 2013, Patrick Pistolesi—of Barnum Café fame—took over the Hotel Adriano’s lobby bar, and refashioned it into a gin emporium. It's now Italy’s largest gin collection, featuring more than 85 labels. The menu is, obviously, gin-centric and martinis and gin & tonics are the house specialty.

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    KNOWN FOR

    • craft cocktails
    • hotel bar
  • 5

    D.O.M.

    While Rome’s hotel watering holes once appealed mainly to tourists after a recognizable drink, places like the newly opened D.O.M. Hotel—with its rooftop bar overlooking an ancient Roman archaeological site still under excavation—are attracting a well-heeled Roman audience in search of sophisticated flavors.Built within the walls of a 15th-century palace, D.O.M. typifies the constant shift and juxtaposition between Rome’s new, old and very, very old.

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    KNOWN FOR

    • craft cocktails
    • hotel bar
    • lots of mezcal
    • lots of rum
    • lots of whiskey
    • bar food
    • outdoor / patio
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