When you think of drinking in Italy, wine always pops into your head first. Then come negronis and spritzes. Limoncello. Amaretto. Beer winds up pretty low on this list. That’s a shame. Italy is one of those places where attention to detail in food and drink is paramount to all things. The same goes for Italian breweries. The whole scene is as carefully and lovingly executed as any Chianti or Campari.
Today, we’re here to turn the tide. To start connecting Italia with great beer in the minds of backpackers and travelers.
Not surprisingly, the best gateway to the nation’s diverse scene is Rome. The Eternal City’s bar culture is already legendary and the beer spots are some of the best on earth. We don’t say that lightly. What sets the city apart is the food that always comes along with the brews. It’s impossible not to get an amazing sandwich, pizza, plate of pasta, pile of cheese, or even burger at any of these places, right alongside a seriously well-crafted beer.
The ten spots below are a sampling of how wondrous the Roman beer scene is. Take these recommendations as an introduction. Talk to beer-lovers, bartenders, and bottle shop owners and blaze your own sud-soaked path through the city. One thing’s for sure, you won’t go hungry along the way.
L’Osteria di Birra del Borgo
L’Osteria di Birra Del Borgo is one of those places that travelers dream about. It’s absolutely everything you want from a Roman culinary experience. Seriously… this place rules.
There are eight “Le Birra della Casa” or house beers on tap. These are local masterpieces which have been chosen specifically to pair with del Borgo’s amazing risottos, pizzas, sandwiches, and pastas. They also have about 13 or 14 guest beers on tap (Le Birra Ospiti) from the best of the best Europe has to offer right now. These have also been carefully curated to accent the food. Everything about the beer and food menu is so well thought out that it’ll give you a new appreciation of how food and beer can be paired, while also introducing you to the greatness of Italian craft.
A little bit south of the city center you’ll find HeyHop near the Garbatella Metro station. HeyHop is a sort of dive bar meets bottle shop meets outdoor beer cafe. This is straight up a neighborhood haunt where locals start to gather around six every night to drink from one of the best selections of Italian beers you can find, and maybe nosh on a few bar snacks.
The bar has a very dive-y feel to it. It’s covered in stickers, gig posters, and street art. The vibe here is very dirty and hip. The beer selection is massive with a wide-ranging tap list (birra alla spina) that highlights local Roman and regional Italian craft alongside a deep bottle list of the best of the best from around Europe (with a few American classics thrown in). This is where punk Rome meets great beer.
Brasserie 4:20 combines great party nights with stellar tap lists, a killer bottle shop, dope food, and a great rooftop beer garden. This joint is also a chance to take a break from all the pasta and pizza you’ve likely been gorging on. They serve serious burgers, fried chicken sandwiches, and awesome homemade chips with plenty of dipping sauces.
The beer is the real highlight here. There’s a constantly rotating tap list that has well-sourced kegs from Italy and Europe. Then there’s a bottle shop with some of the best beers in the world. This is the sort of place where you start off with a quick bite and beer, maybe two. Soon, the crowd picks up and you start chatting with the local beer lovers. The next thing you know it’s 1 am and you’re having the time of your life. Beer in hand, of course.
Out in the eastern reaches of Rome, you’ll find a little hole-in-the-wall dive where the cool Roman kids hang. Birra Più is the sort of place where arm tattoos dominate. It’s part Italian punk and all beer lover. This is also a very local place. It’s far away from the tourist throngs and you’ll be able to really dive into Roman and regional beer culture with the bartenders here.
There are 13 rotating taps that highlight amazing Italian craft beers. Trust us, you want to try an Italian craft take on a Belgian tripel or saison. Their bottle lists highlights great German beers like Schonramer Pils and Schenkerla. This is a great place to meet a local over a beer or three.
Birra e Sale
Birra e Sale is a full-on Salumeria (Italian deli) with a shockingly well-curated bottle selection. For a beer and food lover, this is probably as close to The Good Place you can get. Our tactic, order some freshly sliced mortadella, salami, and prosciutto. Add plenty of parmesan, pecorino, and maybe something of the blue persuasion, cheese-wise. Don’t’ forget a few piles of local olives, capers, and olive oil soaked red peppers. Then comes the beer.
Since this is more a deli than a beer bar, the beer selection lines the walls of the joint. Order an Italian masterpiece bottle to go along with all that food — maybe try two or three. Pair a bottle with the cured meats, another with the cheese, and a third with the olives and such. You’ll never want to leave this place.
Baguetteria Del Fico
Hell yes, we’re including another salumeria in this beer list. One of the best things about Baguetteria Del Fico is that it’s right in the middle of the touristy part of the city. It’s accessible and fantastic for a quick lunch break or a post-tour reset. The little shop is mostly standing-room-only, with a few seats. The sandwiches and deli are dope. The beer selection is fantastic.
Once you order your amazingly fresh mortadella or ham sandwich, grab yourself one of their great Italian craft bottles. This place really is perfect for a quick lunch stop, so maybe try an Italian pilsner or lager with a lower ABV. Or go all in and order a few, because there are nearly 100 great bottles of beer on offer here.
Bir & Fud
Bir & Fud sits across the river in the hip Bohemian neighborhood Trastevere. The beer bar is a convivial place where the food and beer are meant to be enjoyed together all day and night. The space is a little more modern and gets a fair few tourists in-the-know, but that’s okay.
The tap list here is long and focuses heavily on Italian classics and new craft styles. The local stuff is side-by-side with the best Germany, England, Denmark, and Belgium have to offer right now. Fresh ideas and innovative brews are poured next to stone-cold classics. The common thread is that they all pair wonderfully with the pizzas coming out of the wood-fired ovens.
The other salumerias on this list were more “Italian deli that happens to have an amazing beer selection.” MyAle is the opposite. This is an amazing beer haunt that happens to be a great salumeria too. The hole-in-the-wall joint is all about the beer but also has line of salamis, cheeses, and hams hanging behind the bar. Seriously, the Romans may have perfected the beer snack with their sharp cheese and umami-bomb cured meats.
Once you pass the beer bar out front, there’s also a small restaurant and club out the back. You can chill out front and eat all the prosciutto and drink amazing local craft or you can find a table in the back and settle in for a well-appointed meal that’ll rock with a nice beer pairing. Then it’ll be time to really tie one on.
Open Baladin is the gastropub attached to the Birra Baladin brewery. They’re doing some serious beers here — sure to help you fall deeply in love with Italian craft. Back at the bar, the burger is a goddamn delight and don’t sleep on the arancini selection. Open Baladin is one of those places where you can meet up with all your new Roman friends, eat a nice meal, and then get lit for the rest of night on great local craft brews. It’s rad.
The beer selection here is one of the best in the city. There’s a long, long tap list of specifically selected Italian craft suds that’ll offer you a deep insight into what’s happening in the scene right now. From there, you’ll find a wonderful selection of great beers from all over Italy and Europe, both on tap and in bottles.
Ma Che Siete Venuti a Fà
Ma Che Siete Venuti a Fà might be the best beer bar in all of Europe. Yes, you read that right. The owners of this place spend months traveling around the continent, sourcing the absolute best casks, bottles, and kegs available at the moment and drive them back to Rome. In their tiny Trastevere bar they serve those beers with precision to anyone smart enough to post up and hang.
Seriously, the beer selection on taps and in bottles and cans impeccable. This is the sort of place where you’ll be sitting there — drinking a beautiful something-or-other from, say, Norway — when the bartender brings up a small wooden cask from the cellar and taps that masterpiece right in front of you. When that happens, you’ll know right away that you aren’t moving for the rest of the night.