WINE BARS OF ROME

wine_bar_Rome_vino_romaI’ve been in Rome for several months now and I am still learning to appreciate much about its culture. I don’t think I will ever get used to some of the Romans’ disorderly habits, such as the incapability of forming a line while waiting to place a bread order or buy a pack of cigarettes.
This is only one example, among many others, that require some facet of organization
that doesn’t seem to exist here. But why should it’ Just the simple act of buying a postage stamp becomes a major triumph so we can congratulate ourselves on a job well done and have some notion of success. Eventually though, everything will be taken care of, but only in its own sweet time.
It hasn’t taken much to persuade me, however, to appreciate Rome’s food and drink, or more specifically, the city’s wine bars (enoteche). So after a frustrating day of looking for lines to stand in to get my business taken care of, or trying to maneuver through Porta Maggiore without being killed, I like to meet my friends in one of Rome’s many enoteche to enjoy a glass of wine, relax, and complain about my day. And this makes everything seem worthwhile. Here then, is a list of some of the wine bars which I have ventured to so far:

Trimani Wine Bar
V. Cermai, 37b, on the corner with V. Goito, 20. Not far from Termini or Piazza Indipendenza; (06-446-96-30).
This wine bar features a short rotating wine menu with prices that range from ‘2- ‘9 a glass. Happy hour is everyday from 5-7 (closed Sundays) that includes two glasses of wine for the price of one, but to get that second glass of wine before the end of happy hour requires some aggressive action on your part. Nevertheless, this is an ideal meeting place in a non-pretentious atmosphere with many tourists and frequenting locals. There is also an impressive and not too expensive dinner menu, but reservations are recommended to dine here. Walk around the corner to the store that not only sells the wines advertised on the menu, but also a wide selection of liquors, beers, and foods. Be careful of the of the automatic door when entering. It doesn’t appear to be automatic, but it slowly creeps inward a second after you approach.

Gusto
Piazza Augusto Imperatore, 9; (06-322-6273).
This wine bar is more central to Rome’s tourist attractions. It is not a far walk from Piazza di Spagna. Here, the city’s younger and more hip crowd gather to impress friends. In front of the long bar are several tables set up in front of a large window where the clientele can crowd together to enjoy their wine, and the prices are reasonable. Connected to the bar is a fairly chic restaurant where reservations are recommended, and also next door is a kitchen goods store selling regional cook books and higher end (expensive) cookware.

Enoteca Cavour 313
V. Cavour 31. Close to the Colosseum; (06-678-5496).
This wine bar is nicely furnished in oak with wine bottles displayed on the rafters high above the drinkers’ heads. The wine menu consists of twenty pages of wines from all of Italy’s regions that range from ’12 and up a bottle. There is also a menu of cheeses and meats from the many different regions. It is a good idea to call before going to ensure the bar being open, since the hours seems to be unpredictable.

Via Prenestina, 124
There isn’t really a name that is advertised for this unique bar, so I’m calling it by its address. It is a small bright pink building located in Pigneto right on the tram numbers 5, 14, and 19 lines. This place is quite popular with the older local crowd and immigrants. Not many tourists venture here to sit in the smoke filled room furnished with scrap marble. Wine is ordered by the carafe and costs ‘1.80 for a liter. The white wine is from Frascati and the red from Montepulciano. Bring your empty water bottles and they will fill them with wine for you. There is also a small selection of salumi and cheeses as well as a basket of raw eggs for you to crack into your mouth. Open all the time except on Tuesdays for some reason.

Il Simposio
Piazza Cavour, 16, Near Castel S. Angelo; (06-321-1502).
This wine bar is rather small with only two seating areas along the bar and a few office chairs scattered around. Drinking wine here is not unlike standing on a crowded bus. You can buy wine for about ‘3.50 a glass that is denoted on a chalk board behind the bar. There is also a menu with bottles of regional wines. Next door they offer the largest wine seller I’ve seen yet, selling wines from all the regions in the world, and the prices here range from ‘6 a bottle to over ‘100.

Vinarium
Via dei Volsci, 103/107, in San Lorenzo; (06-446-2110).
Here is a good place to take a date. The dining room consists mostly of tables for two, though larger parties do come here, and the ambience is expressed by candle light and soft vintage jazz in the background. There is a good, and original, selection of appetizers, such as bruschette topped with lard and honey. The menu of bottled wines is mid-sized and ranges from ’12-’50. There is also a good, and bit expensive, dinner menu. Closed Mondays.

L’Orange
Piazza Ippolito Nievo, 15/16, on Viale di Trastevere; (06-58-300-238).
This wine bar is very pleasing to the eye, furnished with light colored wood and one whole wall devoted to displaying the wines that are served. Bottles are also displayed inside wells of each dining table that can be seen through the glass table top. The wine menu still denotes its prices in lire (from ’12 and up) and not all the wines for sell are featured in it, but the bar attendants are more than happy to bring bottles, from what ever region you choose, to your table for you to look at. There is also a selection of assorted meats, cheeses, and breads you can buy to enjoy with your wine.

It will take some time to experience even a small percentage of the many enoteche in Rome, but I don’t think I will grow bored in trying to do so. Salute! 

by Christian Horlick

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