lion-rome

While the Milanese are said to have invented aperitivo, we think it’s the Romans who perfected it. The most classic of all? The negroni, of course. Here are five spots in the capital made for a 6pm tipple.

1. Liòn

This contemporary Italian bistro and cocktail bar is situated mere steps from Piazza Navona – but you’d never know it. Far from a tourist trapping, this gastronomic hideout is hidden from plain sight. Make ways inside and ogle over an interior kitted with lacquered ottomans, mosaic-studded columns and a furniture palette in hues of teal, turquoise and red – to complement that negroni.

2. VyTA Enoteca Regionale del Lazio

Don’t let the name fool you, this spot is not exclusively for wine lovers. A 16th-century townhouse converted into a three-storey cavern of jewel-toned colouring, grab a stool at the polished copper counter on the ground floor and order your first round. Before too long the rose gold mirrors and green velvet finish of the bijou food and wine library, just beyond the bar, will lure you in.

3. Latteria Garbatella

Cosy and relaxed, Latteria Garbatella is a go-to for pre- pre-dinner drinks. If you’re visiting the Eternal City in the summer months we’d advise grabbing a seat in the courtyard (a welcome evening breeze wafts through) molto presto. Inside, the leather on the seats is tired, the paint is peeling and the drinks are undeniably good. Order the Negroni Latterua (vermouth, Tanqueray gin and Pimento bitter) for extra tang.

4. JK Place Roma

Considering that this was once Rome’s school of architecture, it goes without saying that JK is an impressive spot to while away a few hours. Littered with antique furniture and marble sculptures, slip down through the restaurant to the hotel bar, insulated by round brass tables. ID the faces featured along the frame-clad wall of 1950s photography while you nurse a red martini garnished with orange peel – just make sure you don’t spill your drink when the playlist unexpectedly shifts from Ella Fitzgerald to Stormzy.

5. Portofluviale

This former warehouse is something of a rubix cube. There’s the trattoria, which offers traditional regional dishes; the pizzeria, kitted with two ovens to cater to both “Roman-style” (thin-crust) and “Naples-style” (thick-crust) pizza; the bar, for a quick lunch or a long aperitivo; and the lounge for an all-hours rendezvous. While you’re working out which way is up (and not because the menu is in Italian) we’ve made tracks or the bar and ordered ourselves another of the same.

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