bars, expat, italy, tips, tuscany, Uncategorized

Where To Get A Drink In Florence

The Negroni. Old fashioned cocktail. Shallow dof

FlorenceMy list of nightlife venues in Florence could not be fully realized without options for chill wine bars and live music venues especially since, like me – many people are past the clubbing phase and just want a fun place to go out and have a few drinks to unwind after work.

Luckily there really is a variety of local places for people of any age – from chill beer halls to trendy rooftop bars (as long as the city of Florence is fervantly trying to close them down), and even a few more secret locations that have cropped up in the past few years.

One thing to keep in mind is that Italians don’t have the kind of ‘lets get drunk’ culture as we do in the states, but instead prefer to savor one or two cocktails on a night out, it wouldn’t be uncommon to go out with your Italian friends and them order pear juice.

I am always on the lookout for a hip new place to have fun and unwind after a long week. Please let me know if I missed anything on this list with your comments. It’s always appreciated.

Also for those who want a local expert to guide (and drink) them to some of the best spots in town, I highly recommend the Curious Appetite aperitivo tour which I personally did and adored, we went from bubbles to craft cocktails and I know this would be a highlight for anyone’s Florence trip.

Cocktail Bars

  • Ditta Artigianale Oltrarno is out newest addition in the oltrarno and while they might be known more for their coffee, they should be equally as known for their drinks. Now that they have barman Kareem, formally of Fusion, the drinks are absolutely phenomenal. I love pretty much anything he conjures up and often it’s quite creative: imagine saffron gin, blueberry compost, well worth the price of the drink, average 10€. address: via dello sprone 5r (close to piazza della passera).
  • Looking for a fun place to put a nice dress and drink down a craft cocktail in style? My favorite #fancypants spot is definitely Irene Bistrot in the heart of Florence’s historical center, piazza della repubblica. The place itself is a people-watching dream and the bartenders whip up one of the best serendipity cocktails this girl has ever tried. Great for birthdays, special occasions or a girl’s night.
  • Sabor Cubano is probably one of my favorite places for a drink in town. Not fancy, but pretty cool with a Cuban feel serving up margaritas with black salt that consistently get the job done. The interior is dark and not huge, but is nicely decorated. People also tend to spill out onto the street.  Gets very popular on the weekend. address: Via Sant’Antonino, 64. Average cocktail 5€.
  • Florian has recently been one of my top choices to bring out of town guests for a fancy cocktail and a quiet chat (no blasting music here), the interior might be a tad stuffy near the bar but the drinks are fabulous. You’ll find innovative conceptions listed to traditional favorites (try the spritz) by barman Julian, one of the best bartenders in the city. Via del Parione, 32/red, 50123 Firenze.
  • Il Borghesino, one of my newest discoveries, thanks to my fellow cocktail loving friend Shannon of Pitti Gola Wine Bar, is this amazing ‘bubbles bar’ ( I didn’t stutter) hidden away near piazza santa croce. Besides getting your fancy Giulio Ferrari bubbles fix, the real reason I go is for the negroni cart handled by Barbara. Yes an actual cart that makes the best negronis for about 8€ a pop. A seriously cool apertivo bar. address: Via Pandolfini 39/R
  • Mayday bar – cool bar in the center close to the Duomo where you can find craft cocktails like pear, ginger & vodka. It’s one of my favorites and they are pretty consistent. address: Via Dante Alighieri 16, 50122 Firenze. Tel: 055 2381290 website.
  • Il Gesto is a fun new bar in the San Frediano district that has revolutionized the way people order food, namely you just write your order on a chalkboard and call it a day. But what’s also cool about this place is that it makes a great cocktail bar, with decent drinks, wines and beer that won’t break the banks. Nibbles are extraordinarily cheap as well (mind the portions – their mini!). address: Borgo S. Frediano, 27/red
  • Lo Sverso is also in the San Lorenzo neighborhood and is a hit in the craft cocktail scene locally in San Lorenzo. Small interior but a cool one, and they have tables outside. They make a great moscow mule (when they serve you the home-brewed ginger beer which tends to run out on popular nights). address: Via Panicale, 7/9r
  • Il Locale is a fancy new spot near Florence’s piazza santa croce area. The drinks are very pricey here (think 20€) but they are damn good and have a mezcal/peperoncino concoction that makes my heart sing. Drinks come with a fancy pants aperitif platter. The plus about visiting here is that the 15th century location is a historian’s dream, and the new renovations let you in a Midieval/Renaissance/Modern compilation that is pretty unique, don’t be shy about asking for a tour They also know how to mix a fantastic mexcal tequila dream. Trust me, I know. Via delle Seggiole, 6

Just go ahead and pass me that mezcal 😍 🍸 #YourFlorence

A photo posted by Georgette Jupe (@girlinflorence) on

  • La Ménagére was one of 2015’s hottest new openings, a concept bar, restaurant and cafe! Beautifully decorated in rustic-chic, exposed walls, minimalist decor – it looks very NYC west village or Berlin but in the heart of Florence. I really like their cocktails, which are not too pricey and it’s a perfect ‘before dinner’ spot to catch up with friends. address: Via de’Ginori, 8
  • Gurdulu might be known more as a place for a nice meal, however it should also be known for a fantastic drink and some Italy-style tapas to match. The cocktails are superb by their sassy woman bartender who shakes her drinks better than Shakira. ;-). address: Via delle Caldaie, 12.
  • Amble is a cool little bar in a hidden square just behind Ponte Vecchio, the locals love it, everyone else loves it, and they have great prices for cocktails including a ‘carrot spritz’ and moscow mules. address:  Chiasso dei del Bene. 
  • Classic Bar near Santa Maria Novella | Looking for a sophisticated location & the clientele to match? Head over to the historic Harry’s Bar located on the lungarno (next to the river on Lungarno Vespucci, 22r | Tel. +39 055 23 96 700) where they have been serving up negroni’s for over 50 years in style. Expect a more mature level of patrons.
  • Terrace | Terrazza Bardini is a perfect place to grab aperitivo and a cocktail with a stunning panoramic view. They often host musical concerts with prosecco here, worth checking out the program.  Located near Forte Belvedere, it is a slightly pricier place but absolutely worth a visit.
  • Terrace| For a swanky rooftop cocktail bar, visit Hotel Continental next to the entrance of Ponte Vecchio, vicolo dell’oro 6r. Think new age music, really good cocktails, panoramic view, and… of course too expensive. Older crowd.
  • Terrace | Grand Hotel Cavour, This is one of my ‘terrace finds’ the drink is not as overpriced as other places, and the terrace is more intimate and cozy. Definitely a nice place for a spritz (don’t ask for anything too complicated) during the sunset hours. address: Via del Proconsolo, 3.
  • Terrace| For an even swankier bar try the Westin Excelsior in Piazza d’Ognissanti, 3. Mixed crowd and pricey, to be honest, I do not find their drinks that impressive for the price, but the view certainly is.
  • Terrace | Grand Hotel Minerva in piazza santa maria novella is always a nice spot for a drink (decent) with a view over one of my favorite squares in the city, plus you can get some interesting detail shots of the basilica from here as well. You can’t use the pool (restricted to guests) but feel free to head up for a moscow mule al fresco!
  • Terrace | Biblioteca della Oblate, a favorite of local students, for those who want an awesome view of Brunelleschi’s Duomo but don’t want to pay the typical terrace view prices, this is where you want to go. Not fancy, there is a reason ‘cafeteria’ is in the name but I like taking people here. address: Via dell’Oriuolo, 24.
  • Fancy | Since I am on the fancy hotel bar kick right now, the Four Seasons hotel in Florence (via Borgo Pinti, 99) has nice cocktails. The only thing lacking here is bar ambiance.
  • Negroni bar on via dei Renai 17/r – Firenze is frequented by Italians looking to have a drink with aperitivo after work. Located on the other side of the river not far from Ponte alle Grazie, this locale is named after it’s famous Florentine cocktail “il negroni” , which is a mix of gin, red vermouth and bitters. The drink I don’t love so much while the bar is nice, if not a little small. 25yrs and up
  • Right next to Negroni and pretty similar in style and aperitivo, is Zoe bar.Via dei Renai, 13, 50125 Firenze. They also serve lunch and it’s pretty good!  They also make a great mojito in my experience. 25 years and up
  • Caffe Sant’AmbrogioPiazza Sant’ Ambrogio. A meeting spot for many locals and students alike, this is pretty much the center of this happening little piazza. It’s more of a wine bar than a cocktail bar but it conveys the same message and you can hang out inside or grab a drink and sit on the steps of the Ambrogio church. Crowd tends to me mid-range, 20’s-40’s.
  • Moyo, via dei benci 23. Close to Lochness lounge, this place is open for breakfast, lunch, aperitivo and then a cocktail bar after. I honestly prefer it more of lunch and sometimes aperitivo since at night its way too crowded, hot and awkward indoor space. For a drink I’d rather go to Lochness.
  • Oibo, via dei benci 53, another very “Moyo-type” local. They also offer aperitivo which isn’t bad. It’s nice but honestly way too crowded most of the time and their drinks are just ok and cost around 8 euros, go for a glass of wine or a beer instead. It’s is in the general piazza santa croce area.
  • Dolce Vita is located in Piazza delle Carmine in the oltrarno area of Florence is popular with older crowds. I am a fan of their mojito!
  • Why not have a cocktail and then..go for a swim. Seriously you can! At Le Pavoniere, a pool during the day and cocktail-bar restaurant and.. still a pool at night. I had my birthday here last year ;). Located on Via della Catena 2, 50144 Florence, Italy. One thing I have to say is that unlike last year, apericena does not include a dip in the pool. The price for aperitivo happens to be 15 euros ( expensive ) and just a night swim costs 10 euros. Yeah.. and they now have bouncers reminiscent of “Flo”. It’s too expensive unless you JUST do the swim, in my opinion. Why of why do businesses in Florence makes these mistakes. overcharge people and yes, they will remember.
  • Surf Ventura is a hidden away cocktail bar (very casual) with one of a kind cocktails. And I really mean one of a kind! This place is awesome, unique, with basically no menu and close to Piazza ferucci, check out my post in insidersabroad about it.
  • Backstage, bar on Via Fiesolana 8 with live music and 5 euro cocktails. It’s pretty decent and attracts more of a student crowd.
  • Rex is a really awesome bar worth a visit even if its sort of on a hidden street in the center. Just think hipster, comfy couches, affordable  and very popular on the weekends. Via fiesolana 23-35r. Great pina coladas and they also just got an upgrade.
  • I devoted an entire blog post to Art Bar  after having a great time there the other night. You MUST order the fruit cocktail but dear god order two at a time because the guy is super slow.  They have a happy hour (before 9pm) when the drinks are 6 euros instead of their usual 9. The owners are masters at decorating your drink! Via del Moro, 4-red
  • Bella Blue, is located in the campo di marte area of town is a great place to get a drink and enjoy aperitivo (Italian happy hour). Very laid back, comfy and the perfect place to enjoy a conversation and some yummy food with a friend. I like theur spritzes.
  • A private club ( you just have to get the membership card, which is easy) called Montecarla is located in the Oltrarno on Via de’ Bardi 2, Firenze. This place is very particular with leaopard print everywhere, great cocktails and lots of plants. Weird yes, but more of an after-hours spot.
  • If your near Piazza della Repubblica, stop by Slowly bar to flirt with the barman and get a really good cocktail. Imagine blackberry mojitos, chocolate martinis, passion-fruit, they have some quality drinks. Via Porta Rossa, 63. Older crowd.

Wine bars

  • Directly in front of Palazzo Pitti is Pitti Gola e Cantina, tiny inside but also a good wine selection, this is my go to for a fancier night out or for a fabulous glass of Franciacorta. Piazza de’ Pitti, 16 50125 Florence, Italy 055 212704.
  • The newest kid on the drink’s stage is likely Dogana located at Piazza Francesco Ferrucci, 3. Already filled nightly with Italians, it is a vintage-inspired wine bar/restaurant in a less crowded area of Florence. I have passed by a few times and have to say the ambiance looks quite nice.
  • Uva Nera is one of the best wine bars in Florence that serves a nicely priced aperitivo every evening in a really nice, vintage ambiance. They are passionate about their wines and cheeses, plus they have private rooms where you can host your own birthday party or event for the price of aperitivo. Reserve in advance. address: Borgo Ognissanti, 25-red, 50123 Firenze.
  • Il Santino is the place I probably go to most often besides the bars in my piazza, it is tiny, tyically filled to the brim with people by 8pm but there is a reason. They serve excellent wine and snack pairings and it is a hidden find for a cozy, tasty spot for lunch. If you come in the evening, go early! Via di Santo Spirito, 60, Firenze FI
  • Signorvino has nabbed some awesome real estate with a bird’s eye view of the Ponte Vecchio and a cool, outdoor terrace. I wanted to hate this spot because I thought it was a tourist ripoff but actually, I really like it. They serve great salads, have a decent aperitivo and a large selection of (affordable) regional and local wines. Reserve a spot if you want to sit on that terrace. Via de Bardi, 46R, Firenze.
  • Sei divino is undoutablly one of my favorite wine bars in Flornce. Located on Borgo Ognissanti, 42, 50125 Firenze, Italy, this place is the perfect stop for any wino looking for a refuge in Florence. I recommend buying a bottle and sharing with a few friends, their cocktails are also pretty good.
  • Sweet Wine Bar is off the beaten path and close to Piazza Ferrucci. They have an excellent wine list and really good food, you can come here for a drink or to eat, highly recommend it. address: via di Ripoli 8/10r, 50100 Florence, Italy, Phone 0556587051 / 333-3276248.
  • A good option in the San Niccolo neighborhood is Enoteca Fuori Porta, just outside the main gate going towards piazzale michelangelo. I have been going there with friends for ages, call ahead to get a spot outside. address: Via del Monte alle Croci, 10/R
  • A great place for a glass of pinot grigio in the oltrarno is Rifrullo. Popular among aperitivo fans and groups of Italian. They have a great closed outdoor area upstairs and a fireplace. Via di San Niccolò, 55r 50125 Florence, Italy, 055 2008155. They also do brunch every Sunday for 20 euros, buffet style.
  • Across from Rifrullo, always in San Niccolo area, is Enoteca Bevovino, where they sometimes have live music, outdoor tables and ok wine, it’s not my favorite but I like the outdoor seating. address: Via di San Niccolò, 59 50125 Florence, Italy, 055 2001709.
  • Of course THE WINE bar that obviously deserves a mention due to their famous name, and pretty great antipasto plate is Frescobaldi Wine bar near piazza signoria. Via dei Magazzini, 2, Florence 055 284724.
  • If your near the Ponte Vecchio, also try Le Volpe e l”uva which is pretty famous and has foi gras, salame and cheese plates and a great wine selection. Piazza dei rossi, 1 50125 – Firenze (FI). I love the hidden location, it’s very romantic.
  • For those on a budget try All’Antico Vinaio on the historical Via de’ Neri 65. This is a place we often go to begin the night in the center of Florence. Pick up a glass and pour the wine yourself, it’s all on the honor system (roughly 2-3 euros per glass), yummy crostini and paninos.
  • I also really like Enoteca dei Macci, very casual and cheap prices, I love their prosecco. Via dei macci, 98/r. They also do aperitivo.
  • Hidden away in a small beautiful piazza near Palazzo Pitti is Caffe degli Artigiani in Piazza della Passera. This place is perfect for a prosecco, snacks, spritz (5€) and people watching. There is also a great geleteria in that same piazza.

Secret Speakeasy

I just added this because I am aware that there are ‘secret’ speakeasy joints where you can revel in the fact that you found a cool spot in Florence to sip craft cocktails into the wee hours with Florentines. Shh don’t let anyone know I told you!

  • Vanilla Club, neighborhood: Ponte Vecchio, address: Via dei Saponai, 14. 1930’s ambiance when alcohol was illegal but style certainly was not. My favorite is the moscow mule served in an oversized teacup. It’s open nightly 6pm-2am and the Italians LOVE it on Yelp. I think it’s need a little marketing love because it was pretty empty.
Photo credit: Vanilla Club

Photo credit: Vanilla Club

  • Rasputin, the newest ‘secret’ speakeasy in the santo spirito neighborhood. I just discovered it this past week with a friend and let me just tell you, wow.  Besides the fact that the ‘door’ is hidden and you feel like you’ve just uncovered a secret world of throw rugs, antiques and vermouth. This place is seriously cool! I won’t give away the address but trust me, it’s worth finding. Call to book a table+39 055 280 399.

Pubs in Florence

  • Brewdog is the place to go if you are looking for great beer in the center of town. They offer patrons a chance to try the beer before ordering and they serve a selection of their well-known Scottish craft beers. They also offer a cheap aperitivo. address: via faenza 21, Firenze.
  • One of our favorite spots in the oltrarno side of the river, not far from Ponte Carraia is Archea Brewery. address: Via dei Serragli, 44. they have beer in bottles or tap and have a nice selection from all over the world. They are also a micro-brewery, making their own brew in the back of the shop.
  • Ever see one of the mediocre-looking places and wonder why so many people are there? Well there usually is a reason, and the reason is that something there is awesome. This is the case for the humble Diorama bar on via pisana 78/r. A place with truly awesome beers both on tap or in the bottle and a local favorite. They also serve a small selection of food, hamburgers, ramen, that sort of thing.
  • Young Florentines’ love Williams pub located on Via Antonio Magliabechi, 7-red 50122 Florence, Italy 055 263 8357. It is a rather large pub and they also have outdoor patio seating and cider.
  • Public House 27, quirky name and cool pub with happy hour everyday until 9:30pm. Located on Via Palazzuolo, 27, Tel: 339/3022330.
  • A new place to have a beer is the BHS ( appropriately names Beer house club on Corso dei Tintori 34/r near Piazza Santa Croce). You need a tessera-membership card  (cheap) which lasts for one year . Note that their beer is a 100% artisan product so this place is definitely worth a visit and gains some points in my book. They also offer snacks and beer tasting courses, which is dangerous 😉
  • The first Irish pub to open in Florence was the Fiddler’s Elbow in Piazza Santa Maria Novella which is still a regular haunt amongst expats. They have satellite tv and offer Guinness, Harp, Kilkenny, Becks, Warsteiner, and my favorite.. Strongbow cider.
  • For a beer during the day, stop by Mostodolce on Via Nazionale, 114 for some artisan locally made beer. They also have a location in Prato.
  • Another Irish pub and consequentially very popular with students is Lion’s Fountain on Borgo degli Albizi, 34. People tend to grab a beer and stand outside in the Piazza with their friends. They also have bagels for breakfast.
  • There is a German pub that serves food and beer located near Piazza della Liberta called Braumeister. It’s really nice inside, spacious and they have a large beer list. It’s definitely worth a visit. Via madonna della tosse, 12/r
  • A chain of pubs called Old Stove are located near some of the main piazza’s in Florence, namely Piazza della repubblica, piazza della signoria and piazza duomo. Popular with tourists and students.
  • One of my favorite pubs is located near Piazza Ferucci, called James Joyce and usually filled with Italians. address : Lungarno Benvenuto Cellini, 1. They have a large outdoor beer garden as well as a cozy interior. Perfect for catching up with friends.
  • Red Garter is the oldest American bar in Italy (opened in 1962) and is a huge hit with the english speaking students and tourists. They also offer beer pong, a restaurant and often have live-music- cover bands. Via dei Benci 33-35r.

Outdoor-Live Music

  • All year | An oasis from the crowded center (still IN the center) is Le Murate, which is an artistic meet-up, aperitivo live-music bar in Piazza delle Murate. I really like it there since the place itself has an interesting history (the area and restaurant nearby actually used to be a prison).
  • Summer | Easy living, the lungarno “beach”located near Piazza Poggi,  returns this year for the summer season open during the for sun tanning and during the night as a cultural meet up for young people. A neat outdoor space with a huge maxi-screen showcasing this year’s Olympics and European football championships, live music, cinema, bar, you will see a lot of locals 🙂
  • RARI Firenze, new outdoor restaurant turned disco-dance pub located near Piazza Ferrucci (lungarno ferrucci 24 to be exact). This place is great!
  • Piazza Tasso – there is a great outdoor bar, Aurora, located in this piazza. Seriously go there, and find the wooden bar outside and order yourself the BEST mojito in Florence ;-).

If I missed anything, let me know. I didn’t add places that I have never been to or just didn’t feel worth mentioning. I hope this gives people visiting or living in Florence a better idea of the various bars and pub around town. Enjoy!

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10 Comment

  1. Sarah
    06.07.2012 at 12:41

    Great list! You’ve got to check out Angie’s Pub on Via de Neri if you haven’t been already – great Sangria and a very unique, artsy atmosphere. Highly recommend it!!

    1. ggnitaly84
      06.07.2012 at 14:38

      I’ve been there a few times, it is really cute. The music was a little loud for my tastes ( not really conducive for conversation but you gotta love the location aka via dei neri!)

  2. Eric
    12.10.2013 at 20:52

    Is there an area or neighborhood to stay in you’d recommend that is walking distance to several wine bars, pubs, and cocktail lounges?

    1. ggnitaly84
      14.10.2013 at 0:18

      The entirety of Florence is quite walkable so I am very sure that if you are in the historical center you will be fine. I would look to stay in the San Niccolo, Santo Spirito or Santa Croce areas of town.

  3. […] Nightlife in Florence […]

  4. Jacqueline Mariani
    20.09.2014 at 12:24

    Hi. Great post. I’m an older transplant (single female near 60) and one of the few things I miss about home is the having a drink and listening to live blues/jazz, or a place that plays good classic rock. I noticed in one of your other posts that you mentioned the Four Seasons (jazz on Thursdays), but if you know of anything new that has opened up that might be of interest to someone my age, please do post. Love your site; it is extremely interesting and informative!!

    1. Laura
      22.10.2014 at 1:06

      Hi Jacquline, I’m your age and status and will be in Florence for 3 months this winter. I bet we have similar interests. Would love to chat. Thanks! Laura

  5. gerald
    02.10.2014 at 18:43

    Hi am in Florence for this weekend 2-4 Oct. Anywhere I can go with my girlfriend and her brother that you might say is distinctly Florence? Cocktails/wine bar or even a club is fine. But prefreabbly somewhere with reasonable prices and easily walkable from the centre?. Saw the post on Rari will be checking it out! Your posts have been very informative thanks!

  6. Liv
    02.01.2015 at 8:41

    There’s a place called Jazz Club that’s on Via Nuova de Caccini. It’s kind of hidden but a really cool spot. Lots of Italians but also a bit of an international vibe. There’s a cover with a drink, at least on weekends. They have live music and it’s not your stuffy jazz club. The two times I have gone there was a dj after the band who played The Beatles, Rolling Stones, and other really fun classic rock songs. There’s also BeBop, which is known for it’s Beatles cover band nights on Tuesdays. As a student, I had a decent time on Tuesdays, but it’s MUCH more enjoyable when the place isn’t packed to the brim. One band, I think called the Rolling Johnny’s plays lots of blues tunes.

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