When in Rome, drink like a Roman.
With a wine culture that dates back to 2 BC and one of the world’s highest concentrations of grape varieties – over 2,000 in total–drinking wine has been an important national pastime in Italy for millennia. A famous Italian proverb says “l’acqua fa male, il vino fa cantare” (“water hurts you but wine will make you sing”) and nowhere does this ring truer than in Rome’s many cozy wine bars. Take a cue from the Romans and indulge your inner oenophile at the best enotecas in the capital. Cin cin!
With wood-paneled interiors, 18th-century ceiling frescoes, and an impressive collection of bottles lining the walls from floor to ceiling, Il Goccetto is a prime contender for most atmospheric wine bar in all of Rome. Il Goccetto, which means “the little drop”, is a neighborhood favorite with locals who spill out onto the street to sip their glass of Dolcetto d’Alba under the vintage “Vino e Olio” sign painted above the doorway. You’ll find around thirty wines by the glass scribbled onto a blackboard behind the counter, or select a bottle off the wall for a small corkage fee. Be sure to order a slice of tiella, a savory pie, to pair with your vino.
INSIDER TIPInsider Tip: Get there early to snag a seat at aperitivo hour: Il Goccetto opens at 6:30 pm for its evening shift and it fills up quickly.
Ai Tre Scalini
Ai Tre Scalini has been a mainstay in Rome’s drinking and dining scene for over a century, and its enduring popularity doesn’t seem to wane with the passing of time: it attracts an eclectic crowd at all hours of the day and night and many patrons resort to drinking their wine outside come evening, propped up on vespas with a cigarette in hand. This bistro and bottiglieria exudes Roman charm, with many menu items written in dialect, and offers a number of wines by the glass that you can complement with hearty appetizers and entrees. It’s one of the buzziest places to see and be seen on Friday nights.
Al Vino Al Vino
Just around the corner from Ai Tre Scalini lies the more subdued, but no less delightful, Al Vino Al Vino. This well-stocked enoteca is easy to miss despite its central location, so you’re guaranteed to find a seat even during peak hours—no easy feat in the popular Monti neighborhood. Al Vino Al Vino has a small selection of wines by the glass offset by a long list of highly affordable wines by the bottle, making it one of Rome’s best-kept secret spots.
INSIDER TIPCan’t-Miss Dish: Be sure to order some of Al Vino Al Vino’s tasty small plates, like the melt-in-your-mouth caponata, a sweet and sour eggplant dish that will have you licking your plate afterward.
When Litro opened in 2013, it quickly became a favorite with Rome’s natural wine crowd. Nestled in the elegant Monteverde neighborhood, this contemporary spot has a sleek, Instagram-worthy interior design and an ample list of natural and biodynamic wines with an emphasis on small Italian producers. You’ll find all sorts of wines here, including orange, sparkling, and dessert wines. And with indoor and outdoor seating, you can sip a glass of spontaneously fermented Lambrusco while soaking in the capital’s brilliant blue skies.
INSIDER TIPLitro also stirs up terrific mezcal cocktails: try the Bevanda spiritosa with Italian soda and a dash of mezcal.
Il Sorì is an outlier in the radical-chic neighborhood of San Lorenzo that favors craft beer halls to quaint wine bars. This pint-sized enoteca has a noteworthy selection of Italian and international wines, with Prosecco, Franciacorta, and Champagne well represented on the list. Il Sorì is a diamond in the rough not just for the caliber of its wines, but also for the creativity of its culinary offerings, which favor artisanal ingredients. With only a handful of tables and half a dozen bar stools, you’re also guaranteed friendly service and personalized recommendations.
Located just a short walk from the Colosseum, WineConcept is a design-forward enoteca with funky furnishings, a lusciously luminous interior, and an intriguing selection of Italian wines. The cozy and contemporary atmosphere will have you feeling at home from the moment you step inside, and wine aficionados will enjoy scouring the hundreds of bottles lining the walls. WineConcept has an enviable selection of labels, favoring those from northern Italy, and updates its wines by the glass on a daily basis.
From the outside, you’d never guess that Enoteca Ferrara contains a restaurant, osteria, wine bar, and brewery – or that this seemingly demure space boasts one of the largest collections of wine in Rome. With over 1,600 labels, the wine list is a veritable Wine Bible, one that includes vino of all styles and types at all different price points. If you’re not sure which one to pick, choose from one of the dozen wines by the glass and enjoy a small complimentary aperitivo buffet with your drink.
Rimessa Roscioli is the wine branch of the celebrated Roscioli enterprise, which also includes a well-reputed restaurant, bakery, and café. Recently relocated into an elegant, airy space near Campo de’ Fiori, Rimessa Roscioli draws a crowd each evening for its wine tasting dinners, which provide an overview of Italy’s vast oenological heritage. You can also swing by without a reservation for a glass of wine accompanied by gourmet nibbles.
Rimessa Roscioli also offers a number of sensory tasting experiences where you can sample Italy’s best wines, olive oils, and even coffee. You can book your experience online on their website.
Il Tiaso is a picture-perfect wine bar in Pigneto with a great vibe, an ample list of wines, and a lot of heart packed into the intimate space. Amply stocked with wine and books, this “oenolibrary” hosts tastings, live music, and film screenings that cater to the alternative and intellectual vibe of the neighborhood. Il Tiaso has a handful of wines by the glass and offers an assortment of cold cuts and cheeses to pair with your drink.
This trendy newcomer to the Roman wine scene will delight oenophiles who can sample over 200 different kinds of wines by the glass thanks to the Coravin, a game-changing gadget that pierces the bottle without removing the cork and oxidizing its contents. Brylla’s wine menu lists prices for a small taste of wine (as low as €2), a glass, a half-bottle, and a full-bottle, meaning even rare vintages are no longer out of reach. Everything from the menu to the interior design is highly curated, making Brylla a delightful place to stop for a tasting and bite to eat.
INSIDER TIPBYOB for a small corkage fee; Brylla also lets you use their Coravin to sample your own wines.
Enoteca Del Frate
Enoteca Del Frate has catered to the well-heeled professionals in Rome’s Prati district since 1922–and it has accrued an enviable stock of wines over the decades. This distinguished enoteca and restaurant boasts 3,000 labels that span wine regions across Italy and France, and includes hundreds of still and sparkling varieties, liqueurs, and digestives. It’s a great bet for an elegant lunch or dinner, accompanied by a superlative bottle of wine.