The Most Atmospheric Bars in Venice

Theres clearly something in the water around Venices bars
There's clearly something in the water around Venice's bars | © Fabrizio Troiani / Alamy Stock Photo
Julia Buckley

There’s a bar on every corner in Venice – this is a city that’s prized drinking for years. The Rialto Market area has been full of bars since the Medieval period, and for centuries, locals have moored their boats to pop in for an ombra – a small, snackable glass of wine. What’s more, bars can save you money here, as Venetian cicchetti (bar snacks) are cheap, filling and can sub for a pricey dinner. Here’s our guide to the most atmospheric.

Ae Bricoe

The Fondamenta della Misericordia in Cannaregio has become Venice’s most buzzing drinking strip in recent years. Amid all the bars geared towards tourists, however, is this tiny spot run by the Michielan siblings. Stand inside at the bar, or sit outside by the canal. The wine is good, but the snacks – delicate cicchetti and overstuffed tramezzini (sandwiches) are even better. Try the porchetta (herb-roasted pork), produced by a friend of the family.

Cantinone già Schiavi

The crowds outside are the first sign that this is a must-visit place; the delicate cicchetti are the second. This wine shop and bar has a fantastic list of vino by the glass, but the cicchetti – slices of baguette topped with inventive combinations of deli meats and cheese, fish, and even flowers – are the standout. There’s no seating, hence those crowds.

Osteria da Moro

Facing Venice proper, with a straight view across the water west to the Dolomites, the island of Giudecca enjoys the best sunsets in town. This lovely bar, perched right on the waterfront, is a hit with locals for its friendly staff, excellent cicchetti and peerless views.

Quadri

One of the storied cafes on Piazza San Marco, Quadri is our favourite, as it’s owned by the Michelin-starred Alajmo brothers. While the renowned restaurant is upstairs, the downstairs (and outdoor) bar has top-notch snacks and sandwiches, as well as drinks. But it’s the view you’re here for – or rather, the view and the live musicians accompanying it.

Mamafé

The original Mamafé – a Pugliese bakery and bar which opened in 2020 near Campo Santa Margherita – is one of the best lunch spots in town. Now here’s their second offering, located in quiet Santa Croce. It’s more a place for evenings and aperitivi, with cute tables outside. Being a bakery, it has some of the best bar snacks in town.

Rizzardini

This legendary bar and bakery has been making the best cakes in Venice since the 18th century – all washed down with great booze. Pair a slice of delicate-but-rich ricotta cake with a prosecco, or stand with a spritz at the vintage, wood-clad bar. Just be aware that it’s tiny, with no seating – but authentically Venetian.

Ca’ d’Oro Alla Vedova

Venetians rave about the meatballs at this old school bar and trattoria, lining up outside for a plate with the cheap house wine alongside it. This is a brilliantly traditional place – with a sit-down restaurant area if the snacks aren’t enough – where the wine comes from giant painted jugs, and the meatballs are the size of your fist.

Il Brillo Parlante

This lovely little neighbourhood bar lays out its tables in Campo San Stin, a quiet square behind the famous Frari church. Super popular with locals, it’s kind to outsiders too (unlike others nearby, they don’t overcharge tourists). The perfect place for a cooling spritz after a summer walk around tourist hub, San Polo.

Skyline Rooftop Bar

Sometimes it’s worth going for a drink at a chain hotel – especially when it’s sunset at the Hilton. The hotel – a conversion of the historic Molino Stucky flour mill at the far end of Giudecca island – has a rooftop bar with astonishing bird’s-eye views of the entire city. With sights like this, who cares what you drink – although there’s a good cocktail list.

To accompany your bar trips, book a stay at a Venetian boutique hotel, or relax to the max at a luxury spa hotel, all bookable through Culture Trip. Have a browse of what to do while in Venice, or stop by a restaurant for the fresh catch of the day.

This is an updated article originally written by Sonia Cuesta.

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