The setting for Romeo and Juliet and the home of an ancient Roman theatre hosting epic operas, Verona is a city for lovers. No surprise, then, that it’s crammed with tiny wine bars and swish cocktail spots that are perfect for a cosy drink for two.
The Veneto is Italy’s largest wine-producing region, responsible for household names like Valpolicella, Soave and, of course, Prosecco. And with Verona at the region’s heart, it’s not hard to find an enoteca (wine bar) or osteria (budget, local eatery) with a decent selection of vino. There are also numerous cocktail bars and pubs selling craft beer, catering to the many tourists that come here in pursuit of romance, opera and good eating. You’ll find the highest concentration of drinkeries amid the maze of streets that form the atmospheric old town. Here are the top bars in Verona, Italy.
Antica Bottega del Vino is one of the oldest wine bars in Verona. In the 16th century, it was called the Osteria lo Scudo di Francia, taking its name from the street you’ll find it on today. The current wine list runs to almost 200 pages, covering a broad spectrum from cheap-and-cheerful house reds to eye-wateringly expensive champagnes. The knowledgeable sommeliers will help you find your way, and recommend something spectacular to go with your meal if you choose to dine in.
Perched on the banks of the Adige, the terrace of this riverside bar enjoys one of the best views in Verona. It overlooks the Ponte Pietra, built by the Romans over 2,000 years ago, and San Pietro Castle across the river. Heaters and blankets make it a year-round space, but arrive early to bag a spot as seats are limited. Latecomers will have to settle for inside, but with comfortable leather benches scattered beneath a glam chandelier, it’s not much of a sacrifice.
This traditional osteria in the old town has long been a favourite of artists, students and musicians, who spread out on the sunny terrace come summertime and squeeze inside when the weather is chilly. The extensive wine list is chalked up on a blackboard. If you like it fizzy, boost your bubbly bragging rights by ordering a glass of crisp, floral Durello as the locals do, rather than your usual Prosecco. There’s often live music, particularly mellow jazz.
As hard to find as it should be, this intimate speakeasy is tucked down a quiet side street near the river with just a small brass plaque beside the door announcing that you’ve arrived. It’s worth the search: this bar claims that it’s the cure for everything. Pace yourself if you plan to tackle the lengthy cocktail list, or else you’ll be looking for a cure for your sore head the next morning.
Close to the football stadium, this sports bar stakes its reputation on its beer. It has the lot: porter, bitter, IPA, lager and pretty much every other kind you can think of (except for decent non-alcoholic options). This is the place to come to if you like a game on the telly, rock music blaring from the speakers and no-frills pub grub on the menu – plus endlessly poured pints.
Meticulously crafted cocktails are the star attraction at this sophisticated place in the trendy Veronetta district. Elegant decor creates a contemporary vibe that’s worth dressing up for – so it’s a great spot for a date, too. The menu changes periodically to reflect the seasons: gløgg injects some Christmas spirit, for instance, while summer specials include sunripened local veg. Sometimes there’s live music, but it’s never so loud that it intrudes on those romantic conversations.
This dinky place in the old town is a bit of a squeeze, but it’s worth the crush to sample its craft cocktails and beers. A preference for unusual mezcals, obscure bitters and independent whiskies characterises the menu, all to the backdrop of a handful of tables shoehorned between floor-to-ceiling shelves, creaking under the weight of wine bottles. If all the seats are taken, you can always prop up the counter to watch the animated mixologists work their magic.
This Veronese institution has been a fixture on the Piazza delle Erbe since 1901. Old school never went out of fashion in this café-bar, where impeccable service and attention to detail are still highly prized. While the counter’s ideal for a quick coffee, it’s a real treat to sit outside overlooking the square for a leisurely aperitivo. Switch up your usual Aperol spritz for their signature Filippini, which blends vermouth, gin, lemon and ice.
Find the perfect place for your trip to Verona by booking one of the city’s best hotels now through Culture Trip. Explore more whilst you’re there and take a look at the top things to see and do in the city of Shakespeare’s greatest romance. After a long day of sightseeing, spend an evening dining at one of Verona’s best restaurants before heading to the bars. Extend your Italian adventure by visiting not-so-far-away Venice. Book a beautiful boutique hotel and explore the best of what the floating city has to offer.
This is a rewrite of an article originally by Mary Jane Dempsey.
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