Aperitivo in Bologna is taken very seriously. Here is a selection of Aperitivo bars popular with locals: enjoy appetizing drink, snack and perfect time out
After a whole day around the city it’s time to relax a little … and to taste one of the specialties Bologna is known for: the Aperitivo.
Aperitivo time starts around 6:00 PM, when the Bolognese finish their work and study activities, and can go on pretty late, often substituting the dinner: you may hardly still be hungry after a large cured meats and cheese “tagliere” and delicious “bruschette”.
Aperitivo in Bologna is an old and very popular tradition, just like in Milan and in Venice. On top of that, Bologna is a beautiful and lively town, so people just like to stay out, enjoy a drink and spend time with their friends.
You can literally find hundreds of great places to sip a glass of wine (or a cocktail, or a beer), chatting with friends and enjoying life.
Mentioning them all in this post is unfortunately not possible, so I’m just sharing my favorite places, the ones where I go when I’m in Bologna. Feel free to add your own in the comments!
Tamburini is located in the heart of the old city center, just outside the historical old food market of via Drapperie / via Pescherie Vecchie and a footstep away from Piazza Maggiore.
It’s an historical shop, selling wines, cured meat, cheese, tortellini and all kind of traditional food, many of which produced by Tamburini itself. On top of that, it serves some of the best Aperitivi in town.
Aperitivo is served outside, using old barrels as tables. You can also have an aperitivo inside, but the barrels are much more fun. As you can imagine, this is the right place for a good glass of wine and an amazing plate of ham, cheese and, of course, mortadella and crescentine (kind of local soft white pizza). True Aperitivo in Bologna tradition!
Better not to come too late, so that you can sit at your own barrel without waiting too much.
Tamburini, Via Caprarie, 1. Wine bar
Opening hours: Monday – Thursday 12:00 PM- 11:30 PM, Friday – Saturday 12:00 PM – 00:30 AM, Sunday 12:000 PM – 10:30 PM
Mercato delle Erbe
The Mercato dele Erbe (“Herbs Market”) is an historical building, designed in 1910 to host the “treccole”, typical old stalls of foodstuffs.
Now, after the 2014 renovation, the Mercato delle erbe offers restaurants, wine bars, meeting points, frequented by thousands of people, tourists included. On top of traditional stalls and shops, which are still in place!
You can have great Aperitivi, but also eat and drink, in one of the many vegetarian and non-vegetarian bars and restaurants, open until late in the evening, in a unique, cozy setting, warm in winter and cool in summer.
This is one of the coolest places for an Aperitivo in Bologna.
Mercato delle Erbe, Via Ugo Bassi 23
Opening hours: Monday – Thursday: 7:00 AM to 12:00 AM; Friday and Saturday: 7:00 AM to 2:00 AM
Pescheria del Pavaglione
Pescheria del Pavaglione is located just in the middle of the old food market behind Piazza Maggiore, in the very center of Bologna.
It’s actually a real fish shop, which invented what they call the “Aperifish”. That is, an Aperitivo (a glass of white wine or Prosecco) served with delicious fish appetizers, including oysters. It is served in a corner of the rather small fish shop, in a very original setting. I only saw that in Paris before, and I’m in love with this formula.
It’s a very original Aperitivo and could be a perfect option for a light lunch or dinner.
Pescheria del Pavaglione, Via Pescherie Vecchie n.14
Opening hours: 7:30AM–2:30PM, 4:30–9:30PM
Mercato di Mezzo
Mercato di Mezzo is one of the most representative historical places of Bolognese food culture, a few steps from Piazza Maggiore.
After the unification of Italy, it was transformed into the first indoor market of the city, and in 2014 it was renovated and transformed in a three floors pavilion, where you can buy or eat on site excellent food products and dishes: meat, fish, sausages, cheese, fruit, bread, pasta, pastry and of course a good glass of wine!
Needless to say, it’s a popular place for Aperitivo in Bologna, and also the opportunity of tasting a variety of traditional food.
Every day opened every day 9:00 AM – 12:00 AM
Just behind San Petronio cathedral, this is one of the “upscale” bars in Bologna (locals would say “snob”) , where you would come not only for Aperitivo but also for great breakfast.
It’s an elegant place, with ample space inside, by the bar, upstairs where the buffet is laid out, and outside in the square. The place is especially known for traditional cocktails and canapes, served in a great setting.
Surprisingly enough, the aperitivo doesn’t cost much more than in less sophisticated bars, so it’s good value for money.
Caffé Zanarini, Piazza Galvani 1
Opening hours: open all days, from 7:00 AM to 9:00 PM
Enoteca Bibe is a recently opened wine shop, and it became from the start one of my favorite places for an Aperitivo in Bologna. If you consider Aperitivo also as an opportunity to taste good wines and local delicacies, this is the right place to come.
Carlo, the owner, personally selects each single product, and if you call him at your table he will share all his knowledge and enthusiasm. Last time I was there I got a real lecture!
On top of having a great wine aperitivo, you can also purchase what you drank and tasted and have a simple but delicious lunch or dinner. Do try the Bruschette (toasted bread topped with cheese, mushrooms, tomatoes or anchovies) and the lasagne.
Enoteca Bibe, Via Mazzini 13/c
Opening hours: from Tuesday to Thursday 11:00 AM – 10:00 PM, Friday and Saturday 11:00 AM – 12:00 AM, closed on Sunday and Monday
Camera con Vista
This is another fairly upscale bar, a footstep away from Piazza Santo Stefano, in my view the most beautiful square in Bologna.
Camera con Vista is mainly a restaurant, recently opened inside the historic Palazzo Isolani. It has a charming atmosphere, with furniture coming from all over Europe, a beautiful marble counter and wooden display cases to host the many bottles and spirits.
Of course, they also serve great Aperitivi, and this has become one of my favorite “drinking destinations”, especially during summer time when you can stay outdoors. The few tables in via Santo Stefano overlook the beautiful square usually called “of the Seven Churches” and are the perfect setting for a flute of Franciacorta or for a fancy cocktail.
Camera con vista bistro, via Santo Stefano 14
Tuesday (bar only): 19:00-01:30
Listed as one of the historical bars of Bologna, this pastry bar is located right in the center, overlooking the Towers and close to Piazza Maggiore, an excellent opportunity to feel the beating heart of the city.
It is one of those places suitable for all hours of the day, for breakfast, for lunch or for an aperitif. The vintage counter and the bar decorations will let you feel back in a XX century movie!
Needless to say, Aperitivo is great. The boss Barman, Mr. Celestino, serves some of the best cocktails in town. The buffet of aperitifs is rich and varied: there are savory puffs with different fillings, selection of cheeses and mustards, tartlets with prawns and vegetables and finger food of all kinds (vegetarian, meat, fish). Simply memorable!
I like them so much that instead of sitting at a table and be served, I prefer to stay by the counter and have a (nearly) unlimited refill of these yummy delicacies!
Gamberini, via Ugo Bassi 12
Opening hours: Monday to Thursday from 7:00 AM to 9:00 PM, Friday and Saturday from 7:00 AM to 10:00 PM, Sunday from 9:00 AM to 9:00 PM
MAMbo art bistro
This is a very particular one, since the MAMbo art bistro is actually the Bologna modern art museum bar!
That said, it had such a success with locals that it’s now a fairly crowded meeting point to pleasantly spend all hours of day, including, of course, the Aperitivo time.
The set up is a blend of old and modern, the rooms have been designed with simplicity in mind in order to make people feel at ease, like in a living room.
The recycled furniture and objects found almost by chance in the markets, with the informal taste of vintage, are combined with interventions by contemporary artists and design objects.
On top of Aperitivo you can also taste quality gourmet street food menu, sandwiches, vegetarian miniburgers, risottos and soups.
Mambo bar bistrot, Via Don Giovanni Minzoni, 14
Opening hours (for Aperitivo): all days from 7:00 PM to 10:00 PM
Enjoy your Aperitivo in Bologna!
You may also be interested in reading my Bologna in one day post.
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