Cannaregio is one of the liveliest sestieri (districts) of Venice, welcoming tourists from all over the world every day while retaining a very Venetian atmosphere. Here, Giulia Zanon, the young owner of Birreria Zanon, guides Culture Trip through the best bars in the area.
As someone whose family has been involved in Venice’s bar scene for decades, there’s no one better than Giulia Zanon to guide you through Cannaregio’s best bars. There’s also no one better to explain how the Venetians do a night out. “See, people should not stop at one place and call it a night,” she tells Culture Trip. “Venetian’s aperitivi are meant to be tours. Starting from the first place of your choice, you drink a small glass of wine (ombra) or a spritz and eat a small snack (cicchetto). From there, you just move on and try different places!” Here are her recommendations for the best bars in Cannaregio to do a truly Venetian bacari tour.
Bar, Beer, Italian
With its artisanal drinks and scrumptious cicchetti, Birreria Zanon is a must for a happy hour in Cannaregio, especially if you’re looking for great quality on a reasonable budget. Located on Fondamenta degli Ormesini, a picturesque spot close to the Jewish quarter, this bar is the perfect destination for beer lovers in a city of spritzes. “We offer seven kinds of beer. Four are Italian while the other three are foreign. We serve cask-conditioned beer, meaning that our beers are not filtered and, therefore, artisanal,” Zanon tells Culture Trip. Sit in the sun with a cold beer and some of the bar’s specially made tramezzini (filled sandwiches). This style of hospitality runs in Zanon’s family: “I’m continuing a tradition that has been going on for 30 years,” she says. “Before this one, my family owned a bar in the San Marco area, and we’ve always made tramezzini using brown bread, the same as we do now.”
“Thinking of places I would go to for a drink, I have to mention the TiME,” says Zanon. “It’s a tiny place close to Strada Nuova, where slightly higher prices are matched by refined cocktails and a great atmosphere.” Managed by a group of young Venetians, TiME Social Bar welcomes its visitors with great customer service and a huge selection of drinks; head here for innovatively mixed spirits and a friendly chat.
Al Timon is a staple in the Venetian food and drink scene. Located on Fondamenta degli Ormesini, at the centre of Cannaregio’s nightlife, this bar-restaurant is divided in two. “Al Timon Bragosso is the site that sells mostly meat,” says Zanon. “I recommend a visit both for the meat and the wine. The owners get their supply from Cantina Fasoli, a wine cooperative that gives them a broad selection of organic wines that are just delicious.” The second site, All’Antica Mola, is dedicated to fish. Slightly pricier due to the nature of the product, the place offers a wide range of fish-based cicchetti that can make any aperitivo a feast. It’s well worth sampling both venues – and of course, both cuisines.
“It’s funny that I’m recommending an Irish pub as one of the top bars in Cannaregio,” says Zanon while laughing. “However, the pub is as Venetian as they come – the owners are locals.” With its tasty panini and refreshing cocktails, The Irish Pub Venezia offers a place to rest your feet and gather with friends after a day walking around the city. The pub also shows football and rugby games so that avid sports fans don’t have to miss out on watching their team while on holiday.
You’ll find Taverna al Remer on the border of Cannaregio and San Marco – tucked away behind a small calle (Venetian lane). Zanon says: “It’s a fancy place for an aperitivo. I remember it does a buffet for something like €10 (£8.50), and it also offers live music.” Famous for its happy hour, the place is also a restaurant, although a bit more expensive than those listed above. Though the food and drinks are spectacular, the true allure of this bar is its location in one of the most seductive spots of the city, a secluded campo (square) overlooking the Grand Canal. Walking to the pier, you can admire the Rialto Bridge from a different perspective; here, Venice’s magic and the spell it has cast over the millions of residents and visitors over the centuries are easy to see.
“You need to try Marciano Pub for its Italian reinterpretation of hamburgers. They’re really good. Plus, it’s also a good spot to watch football on TV,” says Zanon. Located in the heart of Cannaregio, with a second branch in mainland Marghera, this pub combines the best of British and Italian traditions. With its tasty food and variety of beers and wine, Marciano Pub is a great place to start your night out in Cannaregio.
Beloved by students and Venetians, Paradiso Perduto is a bar located on Fondamenta degli Ormesini. “You need to visit the whole Fondamenta during summer, at the Paradiso and all the other nearby bars, drinking something cold while the sun goes down on our lovely canals – it’s just so pretty,” says Zanon. The site offers a lively, homely atmosphere, live jazz music and the freshest seafood. Focussing on local produce, it sources its fish directly from the Venetian markets and its house wine from Friuli-Venezia Giulia, a nearby region famous for its vineyards.
“Last but not least, you should try Aldo’s,” says Zanon. “He owns a place close to mine called Birre da Tutto il Mondo o Quasi, which translates to ‘Beers from (almost) all over the world.’” Located just a few steps from the Jewish quarter, the bar offers, as the name suggests, a huge selection of beers. “It’s the best place to try something new,” she says. “I remember tasting this Australian mango beer that was something totally different from what I’m used to.”