Vintage Bars & Speakeasies in Rome
Speakeasy style saloons offer a unique opportunity to be transported back in time to the prohibition era with secret entrances, hidden locales, and themed décor. Not to mention, they’ve got some of the finest craft cocktails you’ve ever tasted! The exclusive experience these hangouts offer does make them quite popular so, in most cases, reservations are obligatory. Adding to the exclusivity is the fact that you’ll likely have to fill out a “membership card” to join each club, but it’s just a formality due to the late night hours and the fact that some of the bars allow smoking inside. Finally, as you’d expect, guests are expected to dress elegantly and to have fun!
The Jerry Thomas Project
Vicolo Cellini 30 (Historic Centre)
Mon 10pm-3am, Tues-Sat 10pm-4am
Jerry Thomas is well known for being not only the first bar of its kind in Rome, but also the best. This speakeasy truly transports you back to the 1930’s prohibition era with its velvety décor, jazz music, and elegantly clad barmen –not to mention the totally inconspicuous front door – true speakeasy style! These guys whip up top-notch classic and modern cocktails with fresh herbs and homemade syrups. Reservations are required. Upon booking you’ll be given a secret password that you’ll need to get in!
The Race Club Roma Speakeasy
Via Labicana 52 (near Colosseum)
Mon – Thur 10pm – 4:30am, Fri – Sun 7pm – 4:30am
Roma’s race themed locale, owned by brothers Diego and Dario, is conveniently located just steps from the Colosseum. It’s technically a “private club” so you’ll have to sign up for a membership upon arrival, but don’t let that deter you. Dress to impress and relax on one of the plush couches of the underground den, decked in all things vintage mechanic memorabilia, and sip on one of their delicious libations – from classics to modern twists like their yummy jalapeno Moscow mule.
Vicolo delle Coppelle 59 (near Pantheon)
Open daily, 10pm-4am
While there are two entrances to this locale, the more intriguing one is through a neighboring restaurant, in which you have to walk through an unassuming wooden wardrobe to enter. Inside you’ll find cool chairs and comfy couches to kick back on as you sip your scrumptious seasonal cocktails in the dimly lit space. The music playlist varies in style but is usually on point, as well as the cocktail menu itself, which is witty and playfully designed like a sort of comic.
Via Fanfulla da Lodi, 53 (Pigneto)
Closed Tuesdays, Weekdays 7:30pm-3:30am; Fri & Sat 7:30pm-4:30am
You’d have to be looking for it to find this quirky hangout as, from the outside, it’s disguised as a meat shop – with a neon sign and hanging plastic. You have to pick up the outdoor pay phone receiver to enter (why else would anyone need a payphone?) and make your way into Club Spirito. Unlike the other speakeasy style bars in Rome, these guys also serve up Grade A Hamburgers, veggie burgers, and fish n’ chips! But, regardless of the extra goodies, the cocktails are some of the best in town.
Via Iside 6 (near Colosseum)
Mon-Thur from 10pm-4am, Fri-Sat 11pm-4am, Sun 10pm-2am
Whether you’re looking for an exquisite craft cocktail or a super slick haircut, head over to The Barbershop. This haunt, just steps from the Colosseum, is a REAL barbershop by day and a stunning speakeasy by night. The low vaulted ceilings cover all the perfect touches for the speakeasy ambiance, from leather armchairs to vintage swiveling barbershop chairs. With excellent service and elaborate cocktail ingredients like violet, patchouli, and yling yling, these guys offer an exclusively elegant experience.
Via Iside 6 (near Colosseum)
Via dei Cappellari, 93 (Campo de’ Fiori)
Mon-Sun from 11pm-5am
This used-to-be-theatre transformed into a vintage style saloon is centrally located and open until sunrise – so it’s the perfect choice if you’re looking for a cozy place to drink ‘til dawn! The underground bar offers a charming nostalgic ambiance and serves up a wide variety of complex cocktails with a smile. You’ll likely find a lot of college-aged clientele making their way from nearby John Cabot University to catch some of the live music at weekends.
Via Panisperna 101 (Monti, near Colosseum)
Open Daily 7:30pm-2am
Black Market is a bit more casually vintage than the previous listings, but it is definitely worth mentioning. It’s not a speakeasy, but the Monti neighborhood is known for its abundance of vintage shops and hangouts – and Black Market certainly fits in. The ambiance is super nostalgic and, best of all, they host some of the best live music and intimate concerts in Rome, with styles ranging from jazz to indie to folk. They serve classic cocktails with some special monthly concoctions, a nice variety of beer and wine, and even have a great deal on aperitivo!
There are also plenty of smaller churches that deserve just as much hype. One of the most underrated in my opinion is San Francesco a Ripa in Trastevere that features a stunning sculpture of Blessed Ludovica in Ecstasy designed by Bernini in the back chapel left of the altar. Similarly, the Basilica of Santa Maria della Vittoria is home to another mesmerizing sculpture by Bernini depicting St.Teresa in Ecstasy. As I said, there are over 900 churches in Rome so if you walk by one and have some time to spare, peak your head in- you won’t regret it!
Via degli Ombrellari 25 (near St Peter’s)
Closed Mondays, Tues-Sun 12pm-2am
For a super laid-back, slightly Vintage vibe make your way to Bukowski’s bar where you’ll find stacks of books and records to dig through amongst quirky posters and velvety couches. This isn’t really the place if you’re into fancy cocktails, but it’s a cozy place to stop in for a friendly smile and a small bite to eat near the Vatican. They offer a Happy Hour buffet from 7pm-9pm and serve beer, wine, and long drinks ‘til 2am!
Peaky Blinders Roma
Via dei Cartari, 7 (near Campo dei Fiori)
Closed Sunday and Monday; Tues-Fri 6pm – 1am (or later)
This brand new locale was inspired by the popular Netflix series “Peaky Blinders” set in 1920’s England. The eclectic mix consists of vintage sofas mingling with modern chairs, tall candles contrasting neon lights, and some film memorabilia lining the walls. The staff are incredibly friendly and make you feel at home – something which isn’t very consistent across the vintage bar scene. Oh, and most importantly, the drinks are delish!
Cheers, from What A Life Tours!
Author: April Nicole
April is an American writer and photographer who has lived in Rome since 2013. She enjoys exploring the museums of the city, as well as indulging in authentic Italian cuisine!
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