Rome is deep into its third millennium of wine consumption, and though statistics show Italians are drinking less wine every year, the city’s wine bars keep getting better and better. A growing number of enotecas outside the historical center stock artisanal wines that celebrate Italy’s native grapes and many catalogs venture across the Alps, featuring French, German and Austrian wines from small, traditional producers. Low markups at wine bars and restaurants keep the national beverage affordable, a major bonus as Italy staggers through a period of economic crisis.
While wine is losing traction, spirits are on the rise and a few notable craft cocktail bars have cropped up in Rome’s nightlife hotspots, like the Centro Storico and Pigneto, providing properly made drinks prepared mainly by foreign-trained Romans. The influence of global drinking trends is also evident in the growth of a craft beer culture and some—though not quite yet all—young drinkers are choosing microbrews over the cheaper and ubiquitous industrial labels like Peroni. So while Romans are certainly drinking less than they did a decade ago, many are finally choosing to drink better. –Katie Parla