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Bologna: Aperitivo Time

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Mar 26th, 2015, 01:17 PM
  #1
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Bologna: Aperitivo Time

Welcome feedback on where and when to go for Aperitivo Time. Prefer a visitor-friendly place where we can relax and do some people watching. Info on basic do's and don'ts would be helpful. Trip is in late april:

Zannarini - Plaza Galvannil?

MaMBo - via Don Minzononi 14?

Osteria del Sole - Vicolo Ronocchi 1D?

Newbie question: do most places have a set menu with food and house wine inclusive or do you order and pay for individual food items off of a buffet line/board and order wine separately?
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Mar 26th, 2015, 02:00 PM
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There is a lot of variation in the places you are mentioning. Zanarini is a posh, sparkly, almost Parisian like fishbowl, where posh people stand at the bar, or if the weather is pleasant, sit outside in the piazza. People typically drink prosecco or cocktails, and nibble on dainty snacks. I'm sure you can order more food if you want it (their sandwiches and salads are nice).

Osteria del Sole is a dank, 14th c cubbyhole (the Bolognesi have long had a sense of humor, since there is barely a scrap of sunlight there) where you bring your own food and are allowed to sit down at a grubby communal table and eat it provided you buy a glass of not-so-special wine. I have never gone in the evening, so it's possible they put out snacks, but I wouldn't expect more than potato chips, and I wouldn't expect many English speakers on the staff.

MaMBo is an art museum, and I've never been for evening drinks, but unless you are planning to eat in that neighborhood or your hotel is right there, or you are attending a museum event, I don't know why you would tromp out there, since you will pass no end of lively bars packed to the gills with people enjoying the aperitivo hour(s).

Some things to consider when looking for the nicest spot for an aperitivo in Bologna. Overwhelmingly, the bars and snacks are geared toward students, so if you are over 22 years old, you might feel your age. This is especially true around the via Zamboni and the due Torri, and anywhere close to the university.

Some of the liveliest places to enjoy a drink and people watch -- right in the piazza Maggiore, or along the via Claveture in the heart of the old market area -- don't serve cocktails (just wine) and many don't give out free snacks much beyond peanuts, but instead you order a plate of sliced cheeses and meats.

If you do want something special, or romantic, or that will serve as a light dinner, consider either Divinis (via Battibecco) Enoteca Italiano (via Marsala if you are interested in wine. Or try the beautifullly frescoed Le Stanze for cocktails (loud music, lots of free food -- via del Borgo San Pietro) -- but when you go to Le Stanze, hang on to your bar receipt, because you will be asked to show it as proof of payment when you head out the door. (this may be true of any of the bars that have extensive buffets of free food).

There is also no end of picturesque corners and piazze to have a pre-dinner drink in Bologna. (Piazza Minghetti is particularly attractive, so is the area around Santo Stefano). Bologna is really not a cocktail savvy town, or even a great wine town, so you might as well pick for preferred atmosphere, based on what you see as you walk around, rather than aim for a destination. One word of caution: If you plan to have dinner later, you should really go light on the pre-dinner nibbles. It is easy to end up feeling unpleasantly stuffed in Bologna -- the food is very filling -- with six hours of arriving.
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Mar 26th, 2015, 02:16 PM
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Thank you Sandralist- exactly the type insider info i was hoping for. I found those places in an article somewhere. We are 55+ and staying at the Aemilia Hotel (San Danato). Prefer to stay away from posh places or university student groups. Atmosphere/area instead of specific destination is the way we will go.
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Mar 26th, 2015, 02:34 PM
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If you are staying at the Aemilia you are going to have a bit of a hike to get out of the student quarter for drinks. You'll need to walk at least as far as the due Torri, or if you want, you could also make your way over to the art museum/opera house area.

I noticed on your other thread that you like fish. Da Maro is right near the Aemilia, and is very good for fish. Make a reservation.

Two other good bets for food right in that area when you simply cannot face another plate of pasta and you feel like you will burst:

Alce Nero for light food and pizza on the via Petroni

http://www.alceneroberbere.it/en

http://www.alceneroberbere.it/en/contatti/

and the Greek/Cretan restaurant DeLogo right up the street from the Aemila. It's a very popular place with locals so ask the hotel to call ahead for you. They have tasty cheap food and silly decor. They are very friendly (they're Greeks!)

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Delogo/267462273358534
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Mar 29th, 2015, 11:38 AM
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Thanks sandralist, good to hear we have some solid choices near our hotel. I expect we will not have a big dinner every night, maybe just do the Aperitivo Time most nights, and then do a spurge dinner one night.

A friend sent me the following to consider:

Cafe Zamboni

Le Stanze

Banco 32

Casa Minghetti
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Mar 29th, 2015, 11:55 AM
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I don't know Banco 32, and I think your friend might mean Cafe de Paris in the piazza Minghetti but maybe he or she means exactly what they wrote! My favorite on your list is Le Stanze (although the music does pound a bit). Cafe Zamboni is a zoo, just overwhelmed by the university crowd. I have never worked up the determination to elbow my way in.

Right near the Aemila is a funny little sidewalk bar called Toffee Art. It's got a spiffy outdoor glassed-in seating area that is actually a re-purposed shipping container. Their cocktalks aren't as good as Le Stanze, but it is fine for wine-type refreshments, and they do an extensive buffet with food that is sometimes better than Le Stanze -- quite easy to make a meal of if you had a big lunch. The hotel desk can point out to you exactly where it is on the via Zanolini.
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Mar 29th, 2015, 01:35 PM
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Someone from this board (sandra?) or perhaps on chowhound recommended having a light snack/salad-type aperitivo/early meal on Piazza Santo Stefano. I did that the evening I arrived, because it was hot and I was jet-lagged. It was very, very pleasant to sit outside and have a salad and some wine on that beautiful piazza.
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