When you think of bar scenes around the world, Italy may not be the first country that comes to mind – but maybe it should be. That’s because many bars in Italy have spectacular locations, many are in memorable settings or both. And whether it’s a Negroni, spritz or simple shot of tangy limoncello, there’s nothing like unwinding with a classic Italian cocktail after a day of discovering sights and more. Plus, Italy is home to the aperitivo, or happy hour, replete with delicious Italian nibbles. Some of the best bars in Italy are in hotels – and are popular with guests and locals alike.
1. Not’art Boutique Hotel Bar, Siracusa
I love a great hotel bar, and if the bar at this upbeat hotel in the historic center of Siracusa is not particularly historic itself, that doesn’t make it any less inviting. To the contrary: in a city with enough ancient trappings to give you sensory overload, it’s nice to be able to repair to a decidedly contemporary place to relax and review the highlights of the day. The friendly bar here is the place in this part of town to have a drink, paired if you like with a selection of delicious Sicilian cheeses, cold cuts and other light dishes. And what a part of town it is: Ortigia, the almost incomprehensibly atmospheric fortified island where early Greek colonists settled in 753 B.C.
2. Bar Vitelli
We haven’t left Sicily yet, and with good reason. If you’re touring the area around Taormina, you won’t want to leave without a detour to Bar Vitelli, in the hilltop village of Savoca. A scene from The Godfather was filmed here, and while you don’t have to be a fan of Coppola to enjoy a drink or lemon granita here, it doesn’t hurt, either: “While sitting on the shady terrace of Bar Vitelli, amazing sensations of nostalgia coupled with romance emerged,” says cinema fan and Select Italy acolyte Allen Lechtman of California. “And this was intensified by my cool lemon granita served in a brioche. While it’s possible this could also have happened at Wendy’s, I doubt it.”
3. Arlecchino Lounge Bar, Boscolo Milano
The New York Times called this stylish five-star hotel, which was formerly an 11-story bank, “a canny hybrid of ‘Alice in Wonderland’ fantasy and space-age chic.” We love that the downstairs bar here is open 24/7. According to Boscolo, the bar’s “optical effects create a bubbly mood” and we won’t argue with that, either. If you run out of topics of conversation at this colorful watering hole, don’t worry, you can always talk about the wacky décor.
4. Cocktail and Piano Bar at Hotel Caruso Belvedere, Ravello
The elegant bar at this luxurious hotel features classic Italian cocktails along with some yummy twists on Italian classics, which all pairs nicely with the frescoed setting. But drinks are also served on the outside Arcade, where you can enjoy ravishing views of this part of the legendary Amalfi coast.
5. Bars of the Hotel Cipriani, Venice
You might say that Venice itself is an effervescent cocktail, but the storied bars of the five-star Hotel Cipriani take things to the next level. There’s the Fortuny Bar and Pool Bar of course, but new is the refurbished Gabbiano Bar, facing the famous Cipriani swimming pool. Head barman Walter Bolzanella keeps the drinks slinging until 1AM nightly.