The Best Bars in Genoa, Italy

Photo of Matt Charlton
22 August 2021

As Italy’s largest sea port, Genoa has a big foodie reputation – with seafood and pesto on every menu. But it’s also a great place to drink, whether that means sipping cheap Ligurian wines or rubbing shoulders with young Genoese in basement bars.

We could carp on for ages about the beautiful seafood that the biggest port city in Italy has to offer, but we’ve already trawled through the best eateries in Genoa in another article. Instead, let us school you in the under-appreciated bar scene in this beautiful metropolis. Genoa has a rough-and-ready modernity that exists alongside grand architecture harking back to its former glory as a maritime superpower, and the narrow streets of the old town recall that medieval life. The city’s bars reflect Genoa’s blend of old-school beauty and modern grit, from dimly lit dive bars to beer halls and wine shops.

La Lepre

Bar, Italian
Map View

All filament bulbs and untreated wood furnishings, this dive bar wouldn’t look out of place in the trendier parts of Berlin, Brooklyn or East London. With a vibrant ambience, laid-back welcome and very reasonably priced drinks, you can indulge in the generous aperitivi and maybe even a piadina (thin flatbread, usually stuffed with cheese and cold cuts) to go with your Aperol spritz.

Cantine Matteotti

Bar, Italian, $$$
Map View

You never just “grab a drink” in Italy – you take your time. This beautiful place has doubled down on the dolce vita philosophy, with soft classical music greeting you even before the friendly owners do. The wine knowledge here is excellent, and you will be treated to some special local tipples if you ask. There are also some light(ish) bites, with generous antipasti and a beautiful pesto lasagne on the food menu.

Spazio Lomellini 17

Bar, Italian
Map View

A beautiful rustic space with Neoclassical touches and regular musical guests, you won’t find a more vibrant spot in all of Genoa. Sculptor Ruben and his partner Fanny own this striking gallery and live venue that’s hidden in the centre of the city and was born from his desire to “create in Genoa a living room among friends where you can rediscover the beauty of creativity and sharing.” Have a drink, take in the art and do just that.

La Bottega del Conte

Bar, Cocktail Bar, Beer, Cocktails, $$$
Map View
This former butcher’s shop has retained some period detail, with marble walls and iron bars on the ceiling where meat was hung. But it’s on the lower floors where the magic happens. Head down into the atmospheric dungeon to drink among medieval cisterns, which emerged after some serious excavation work, and befriend some Genoese among quirky artworks and under extra-low lighting.

Scurreria Beer & Bagel

Craft Ale Bar, Beer, $$$
Map View

If you want a beer, you’ve come to the right place – though you’ll be spoilt for choice in this cavernous and very popular beer hall. There are over a dozen taps, pouring local and imported beers, and a mind-boggling by-the-bottle list as well. When it comes to snacks, the clue is in the name: bagels, with Italian fillings, are available to help soak up all those fermented hops.

Malkovich

Bar, Italian
Map View

The trend for needing a password to get access to a speakeasy-style bar has reached the shores of Genoa. You’ll find a clue on their Facebook page, and once inside you’ll be greeted by an intimate candle-lit atmosphere under bare-brick arches, which are lined with bottle after bottle of spirits and mixers. The wide extensive cocktail menu is movie-themed (as is the password), and we recommend the Welcome to Italy, Mr Bond negroni – shaken, not stirred.

Les Rouges Cucina & Cocktails

Bar, Italian, $$$
Map View

This bar set in the crumbling beauty of the Imperial Palace, in the historic centre was founded by three brothers in 2013. The attention to detail on the drinks menu is amazing, with well-thought-out ingredients going into each cocktail. They even ask you what kind of salt you want on the rim of your margarita which is the must-order item here. All in all, the beautiful concoctions live up to their beautiful setting.

Enoteca Pesce

Wine Bar, Bar, Italian
Map View

Part wine shop, part local meeting place, this bar under the arches by the port is the place to sample local vino in a buzzy atmosphere at ridiculously low prices. And there are plenty of street food stalls around to soak it all up. Ask the staff for recommendations and get to know the local Ligurian grapes.

This is an updated version of an article originally by Olga Lenczewska.

Looking for more inspiration? We’ve narrowed down the best hotels for every traveller so you can confidently book your next stay on Culture Trip. Discover the top things to see and do in Genoa before enjoying a delicious meal at one of the city’s best restaurants.

These recommendations were updated on August 22, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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