Perched on a mountainside and overlooking the sea, Taormina is one of Sicily’s most atmospheric towns. Once the day trippers leave at sunset, the ancient streets come to life, with an array of cocktail bars spilling out into plant-filled piazzas and wine bars emerging from vaulted cellars. Whatever your favoured tipple is, you’ll find the perfect spot for it in Taormina.
This picture-perfect cocktail bar is full of foliage-dappled seating nooks, creating the kind of backdrop featured on an Instagram influencer’s grid. It’s not all style and no substance, though; apart from golden palm backdrops you can expect beautifully garnished cocktails mixed by expert bar staff. The cucumber negroni is a refreshing take on the Italian classic, while the sicily my love, with its homemade orange blossom syrup, is like a warm hug in a glass.
In Taormina’s main square, this buzzing cafe-bar has the offer of people-watching in one direction and a pretty sea view in the other. The location has enamoured the likes of Tennessee Williams and Greta Garbo, and it’s easy to see why. It’s the perfect spot for a foamy cappuccino or rocket fuel espresso by day, and a swanky cocktail bar by night. The selection of spritzes provides the perfect tonic for an afternoon in the Sicilian heat.
This place is all about craft beers, jazz and small plates. Featuring a selection of Sicily-brewed beers on tap, and plenty more in bottles, this cave-like bar is the ideal watering hole after a day exploring Taormina. Beer snacks come in the form of bruschetta topped with ripe tomatoes, and sharing plates of prosciutto and olives, while a tinkling backing of live music can often be heard alongside them.
This swish cocktail bar has a sleek and modern lounge inside and a sun-dappled courtyard outside – perch on one of its pristine white sofas in the shade of pink-and-white blossoming trees. The negronis are particularly good here, and the strawberry daiquiri is just what the Sicilian sun leaves you craving. What’s more, this little treasure is just steps away from the Corso Umberto: step in and leave the crowds behind.
Tucked down a narrow alley, yet still in the centre of town, Casamatta is not your average Italian wine spot. The bar and chairs are made from reused wine crates; the tables are upcycled wine barrels. The menu specialises in natural wines, where the grapes have been grown, harvested and fermented using traditional methods. Live music livens up the joint on select days of the week.
Courtesy of Hotel Continental Taormina / Booking.com
On the rooftop of Hotel Continental, there’s a secret bar with some of the best views in Taormina. Settle on a sofa seat and sip something bubbly as the beautiful blue Bay of Naxos stretches out before you, just beyond the shambling roofs of old Taormina. Waistcoat-clad waiters serve luxe cocktails and local wine; the vista, which extends all the way to Mount Etna, is spectacular in the haze of the Sicilian sunset.
Negronis made with homemade etna bitters; gin and tonic with a dash of lemon juice and chilli pepper – Daiquiri Cocktail Bar is all about innovation. Their drinks are crafted with the finesse of a fine-dining meal, with acute attention to flavour pairings. Chairs and tables are scattered around ancient steps in the charming Piazzetta Paladini for a tipple in the balmy night air. Alternatively, sit inside on plush velvet sofas.
In the historic centre of town, you can’t miss the bright tiled sun on the outside of Bam Bar. At this local favourite, you can grab a cold beer, coffee or glass of wine and enjoy it at the bistro tables outside. Or, opt for their famous granita – a frozen, sorbet-esque dessert – with a side of home-baked brioche, and join the locals in their morning ritual.