Aperitivo is the Florentine version of a mix between happy hour and Spanish tapas. Starting around 7pm at select bars, snacks are spread out buffet style available for the picking, and are included in the price of your drink. Ranging from a few cold cuts and a bowl of peanuts, to an entire buffet of pasta, grilled vegetables, side dishes and pizza, aperitivo bars are definitely not all created equal. So here is our pick of the best ones, for every style and budget.
Cocktail Bar, Restaurant, Restaurant with Rooms, Contemporary, Italian, Vegetarian, $$$
This modern bar is a popular spot for locals, and for good reason. With a nice relaxed ambiance, good music (with a DJ Friday and Saturday nights), award winning cocktails, a patio view of the Arno river, and a decent appetizer buffet, Rivalta is a great choice for a drink. During the day it’s a restaurant with good modern food and a trendy feel. They offer light lunch and dinner, as well as late night cocktails. Bonus: their unique logo is the silhouette of a French Bulldog with wings!
Golden View Open Bar
Cocktail Bar, Restaurant, Wine Bar, Contemporary, Italian, Mediterranean, Vegetarian, Gluten-free, $$$
Ponte Vecchio John Carlos Buen Flikr
Not only does this bar have an amazing view of the river, it is also half bar and half restaurant. The restaurant is pricey but delicious, and the bar is perfect for a quiet, stylish aperitivo. The appetiser buffet is made by the adjoining restaurant, and the quality justifies the price. The white, sleek, modern decor is a great contrast against the view of one of Florence’s oldest bridges, which you can see from almost anywhere in the bar and restaurant. Whether you’re looking for a romantic night out, or just a trendy place to go with friends, this bar is a great choice. They also have a great in-house cocktail menu and an award winning bartender.
Cocktail Bar, Wine Bar, Italian, Vegetarian
This is by far the most generous aperitivo buffet in Florence. If you’re looking for more than a snack, but less than a full course meal at dinner, this is the perfect balance. You can choose between pizza slices, pasta dishes, seafood side dishes, vegetable side dishes, and classic Tuscan appetizers, all buffet style and all you can eat. The Florentines call this aperi-cena (half aperitivo, half dinner) because there’s so much food. The drinks are standard and the place is a bit scruffy, but you can’t beat the price and the amount of food. This is one of two locations. Kitsch Deux is the central location, and the original Kitsch is just outside the main tourist area where all the locals seem to flock. You do need to call ahead to reserve a table for the original location, but the central location has plenty of space, so a walk in should be fine. In the summer, if you’re looking to sit on the patio, definitely call ahead to reserve a spot.
Cocktail Bar, Restaurant, Wine Bar, Italian, Contemporary, Vegetarian, $$$
Santa Croce Dimitris Kamaras Flikr
Restaurant by day, bar by night, great cocktails and a nice aperitivo buffet spread are on offer here. Due to its central location in Piazza Santa Croce, it is always busy. Be sure to make a reservation, especially if you want to sit out on the patio and enjoy the buzz of the piazza. Try a classic Northern Italian favourite, Spritz, while you people watch. Spritz is a bright orange drink served in a wine glass, made with prosecco, a dash of bitters, and either Campari or Aperol, which is what gives the drink its orange color, and garnished with an orange wheel. Its surprisingly refreshing, but it’s an acquired taste.
Bakery, Cafe, Cocktail Bar, Restaurant, Italian, Contemporary, Vegetarian, $$$
Florence WolfB1958 Flikr
Tucked away into the neighborhood of San Niccolò, this is a cosy little restaurant with a great garden patio and relaxed atmosphere, perfect for any point in your day. Rifrullo has everything from morning coffee and pastries, to late night drinks and a DJ set. After you hike up to Piazza Michelangelo for your photoshoot of the best view in the city, hit this spot on your way down (after all, it’s on your way!) for a drink and a bite to eat. They have a nice aperitivo spread and a great atmosphere. It makes for the perfect evening stop in Florence before your night on the town.
Bar, Brasserie, Craft Ale Bar, Gastropub, Pub, Pub Grub, North American, British, American, Italian, Gluten-free, Vegetarian, $$$
Beer Flight Omid Tavallai Flikr
Beer lovers, this is for you. Ok, so a brewery isn’t exactly a typical aperitivo bar in Florence, but this brewery is well worth a mention. If you were wondering, yes, this is a branch of the famous pub chain from the UK. BrewDog has a large selection of craft beers, including local brews. Florence’s craft beer scene is on the rise, so try some of the city’s newest brands here while you snack on the hearty aperitivo buffet. The central location is easily reachable from wherever you are and is near plenty of other interesting places. Lots of venues in Florence can be a bit too trendy and stylish for some, but this place is just as laid back and casual as you. A craft brewery wouldn’t be complete without good bar food and, of course, juicy burgers are on the menu. They even have gluten-free beers.