The Best Bars in Bologna, Italy

Le Stanze is housed in a stunning 17th-century chapel
Le Stanze is housed in a stunning 17th-century chapel | © Hemis / Alamy Stock Photo
Julia Buckley

Tourists know Bologna for its food, but the capital of Italy’s Emilia-Romagna region is also famous for its university, said to be the oldest in Europe. What that means, of course, is that it has a thriving bar scene. And while there are plenty of cheap and grungy places, Bologna also has sophisticated cocktail bars and more traditional spots, combining delicious drinks with food worthy of the city’s gastro reputation.

1. Gamberini

Bakery, Bar, Deli, Italian

Italy, Emilia Romagna, Bologna, Via Ugo Bassi, coffee and pastry Gamberini founded in 1907, counter
Courtesy of Hemis / Alamy Stock Photo

By day, it’s known for excellent cakes. But come aperitivo hour, Gamberini switches up a gear, laying on Bologna’s best buffet. Forget mini pizzas and sandwich quarters – here you’ll find things like seared pork belly and edamame, and canapés topped with prosciutto and cheese. Sit under the porticoes outside to enjoy the evening buzz.

2. Signorvino

Bar, Italian

This is a chain of wine bars, but don’t let that put you off – it enjoys the best views in the city, with tables threaded under the porticoes overlooking main square, Piazza Maggiore. Sit back with a glass of pignoletto (Emilia-Romagna’s answer to prosecco) or choose from the other local wines on the list. Feeling brave? Pick their wildcard option, and if you can identify the wine you won’t have to pay.

3. Osteria del Sole

Wine Bar, Wine, Beer, Cocktails, Pub Grub, Italian

Italy, Emilia Romagna, Bologna, Vicolo Ranocchi, Osteria del Sole
© Hemis / Alamy Stock Photo
In the middle of the Quadrilatero – Bologna’s sprawling foodie area since Medieval times – the Osteria del Sole has been keeping guests happy since 1465. There’s a selection of largely local wines, but the real draw is that you can bring your own food – stock up in the surrounding food shops and enjoy a packed lunch on the long benches, where there’ll usually be some elderly gents playing cards at the other end.

5. Le Stanze

Bar, Wine Bar, Italian

Italy, Emilia Romagna, Bologna, Le Stanze, bar restaurant housed in the former private chapel of the 16th century Palazzo Bentivoglio
© Hemis / Alamy Stock Photo

The most beautiful bar in the city by any reckoning, this sophisticated joint is located in a sumptuous 16th-century chapel owned by Bologna’s eminent Bentivoglio family, its walls covered in frescoes and elaborate stuccoes. Don’t forget to toast the faded fresco of Jesus – possibly turning water into wine – behind the bar.

6. Caffè Ristretto

Bar, Pub Grub, Beer, Wine, Cocktails, Italian

A tiny, low-key cocktail bar on the cobbled Via Montegrappa, just off main drag Via Indipendenza, Caffè Ristretto’s friendly staff will help you let your hair down. The movie-poster-covered ceiling and the strong G&Ts will get you right into the mood.

7. Caffè Rubik

Bar, Cafe, Italian

This little spot in the university quarter screams hipster, with shelves stuffed with cassettes, a collection of porcelain teapots, and vintage toys around the bar. There’s often live music, there are works by local artists on the walls, and it has a formidable selection of amari (Italian digestifs).

8. Zanarini

Bar, Restaurant, Dessert Shop, Dessert

Caffe Zanarini in Piazza Galvani, Bologna, Italy.
© David Broadbent / Alamy Stock Photo
This chic bar behind the main piazza and the Basilica of San Petronio is another good bet for aperitivi. Skip the slightly cramped upstairs and take a table in the pretty Piazza Galvani outside. There’s a nice mix of ages, despite it being near some of the major university buildings.

Looking for somewhere to stay? Book into one of the best hotels in Bologna with Culture Trip. We’ve compiled the must-visit attractions in Bologna, including the best museums. And for a bite to eat, don’t miss the city’s best restaurants.

landscape with balloons floating in the air

KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?

Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.

Winter Sale Offers on Our Trips

Incredible Savings

X
Edit article