After lockdown limitations were raised, Rome started to move again. People are finally back on the streets, kids are playing outside, people are driving to their offices...and everyone is going back to restaurants and aperitivo bars in Rome.
We already talked about the most famous bars in Rome, but today we want to give you the inside scoop on two cool local non-touristy aperitivo bars that you probably didn't know about. What has changed in terms of Roman city life? One thing is for sure: the atmosphere of aperitivo is a bit different due to the way bars are dealing with remaining limitations, but that doesn't mean the experience is any less enjoyable. Let's jump into it!
It's been now more than a month since restaurants and bars could finally open their doors to customers. It all seems to be back to normal, but are there still limitations in place? The answer is yes, but not the rules are not as restrictive as before.
In fact, to avoid crowds in enclosed areas, bars and restaurants have been allowed to expand their outside spaces, with many of them using plants to give the outdoor dining experience a refreshing, pleasant touch. This way they can be sure to meet the minimum 1-meter distance requirement between tables and chairs.
What else is different?
Waiters must wear masks and gloves at all times during service;
Clients must wear masks when ordering and can't stand long at any front desk limiting cues;
When in line, a meter has to be maintained between each person;
Once sit, during the aperitif drinking and eating people are allowed to take off masks;
Buffet aperitives aren't allowed yet - those who could offer individual platters are still able to offer food and snacks during the aperitif.
The OTIUM Club is a cute little gem in the Garbatella neighborhood, one of the most appreciated and touristically underestimated areas of Rome. The bar is well suited to the local atmoshpere, with its own peculiar character and style.
Much appreciated by locals, during the weekends it becomes extremely hard to find a place to sit. The cute little outside area is a lively spot for some friendly chit chat, far from the noises and the traffic of the central square of Garbatella - and just two minute walk from it.
It offers a good selection of locally produced beers, wines and cocktails. From 7 PM to 9 PM a tasty platter is brought your way, and just might make you want to skip dinner, for just the cost of the drink!
Note: the bar currently has opened the outdoor area only and still doesn't allow any customers inside for safety reasons.
Behind the Colosseum, you'll the most hip open-air bar in Rome: the Voodoo Bar.
Next to the panoramic park of Colle Oppio, this bar magnificently exploits the big open space, creating a one of a kind curated boho atmosphere. The setting can be described as a magical summer garden.
The aperitif from 7 PM to 9 PM costs 10€ if you choose beer or wine - 15€ for cocktails - and offers a food selection of pizza or sushi, included in the price!
Note: The VoodooBar is only open in the summer.
We chose these two bars as they perfectly represent popular and residential neighborhoods. How did we feel about frequenting them? At ease.
Being bigger and having a consistent number of workers, the VoodooBar leads each customer through the bar, illustrating limitations and protocols to follow. For example, in certain areas of the bar, like the restaurant and club area, the entrance is restricted and must be booked in advance. Nonetheless, it must be said that both places are doing a good job at keeping infrastructure compliance with the new rules, tables and chairs sanitized, respecting the rules on distancing, wearing masks...and represent the normality of how local bars are dealing with restrictions and safety measures still in place after the lockdown.
Of course, people are feeling more relaxed after three months in quarantine, that's why you can spot small groups of friends who aren't respecting the meter distance rule, but they stay in their group. Overall, we found it easy to keep the required distance from other people in each of these two places.
Note: Social distancing between customers is left up to individuals and personal judgment, but we haven't experienced anyone overstepping their boundaries.
We highly recommend both bars, if you want to see the true local life of the Eternal City. Have Romans show you the way to help you find them and similar hidden gems!
©Photo Credits: Photos by Roberta Bianchi
Roman living in Venice. Plant lover, avid reader and seasonal yogi