5-Luxe Bars In Rome That Offer History, Glamour, And A Peek Into La Dolce Vita

  • 3 Apr '24
  • 5:39 pm by Satarupa Datta

To visit Rome is to love the fascinating universe that combines art and architecture. There are few places in the world with as many ancient sites, architectural wonders, and celebrated artwork as Rome. A city filled with antiquities, grand piazzas and frescoed cathedrals could train anyone to pick up Gothic, Romanesque, Baroque, or Byzantine features of a facade. An easy way to admire the fascinating skyline or engage in a bit of Il bel far niente, meaning the beauty of doing nothing,  is to sit back in one of the luxe bars reckoned to be the most magical places imbued in glamour and philosophy. DP picks five of the best luxe bars in Rome where you can soak in Italian art and culture with a negroni, refreshing limoncellos or a classic Bellini in hand.

Tucked away from Salone Eva, the meet-and-greet spot of the hotel, the hidden Hassler bar evokes a speakeasy vibe. (Image Credit: Hassler Hotel Roma)

# 1 The Hassler Bar Embodies Timeless Sophistication and Mastery In Mixology

Hassler Roma, the most luxurious hotel in the shadows of the famous Spanish steps, welcomes well-heeled guests to its cocktail bar, known to host celebrities and royals like Princess Diana, George Clooney, Prince Charles and Bill Gates to name a few. Entering Hassler Bar would mean stepping back in time to the 1940s. Decked out in dark wood, gilded mirrors, and rich red leather upholstery, the bar is like a time capsule. The elegantly designed cocktail bar prides itself on its high standard of service wherein each staff ensures a guest’s experience is nothing short of exceptional. Hassler Bar has built a legacy in conjuring an elevated cocktail experience ever since it opened its doors in 1893. An anecdote making the rounds is that the late Princess Diana once confessed to the GM and owner Roberto Wirth that she had enjoyed the world’s best “Bellini” in the Hassler bar– only one way to confirm the validity of this story. Some of the top picks include Prosecco, to start with and then venture into some Hassler classics like the signature Veruschka — a refreshing sparkling cocktail with a mix of pomegranate juice or the Negroni with a Hassler twist. 

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The cocktail list ranges from Martinis to Hassler specials that include an invigorating mix of Italian liqueurs and sparkling wines. (Image Credit: Hassler Hotel Roma)

#DP loves the all-wooded hidden entrance, elegant illustrations of portraits and mood lighting that transports you back to the Prohibition Era.

Aroma perched atop Hotel Palazzo Manfredi offers the best wide-angle view of the Colosseum from a top vantage. (Image Credit: Hotel Palazzo Manfredi)

# 2 Aroma Wins For Panoramic Views of Colosseum 

Rome’s majestic skyline’s abundance of Gothic architecture buoys up the experience of rooftop bar drinking. With captivating views of the Colosseum, Aroma as the name suggests is on the top floor of Palazzo Manfredi and is designed to surprise. The aroma also promises an unforgettable culinary experience. Chef Giuseppe Di Iorio vows with three gourmet tasting menus that hero ingredients with unique twists on the tastes and traditions of classic Italian cuisine. An impressive array of desserts created by the pastry chef completes the experience. 

For seafood lovers, veils of red snapper marinated in rose, chicory, and raspberry are an introduction to a mouthful of herbaceous flavours and aromas. Unique in flavour profile, the white asparagus parmesan marinated in whiskey and béarnaise sauce promises to be a melt-in-the-mouth experience. The fluffy, aromatic, sweet bun – ‘maritozzoserved with cream and candied orange peel comes highly recommended. Sommelier Alessandro Crognale takes great care in pairing the wine selection with each plate. Aroma is the most sought-after enogastronomic destination in Rome allowing guests to rediscover ancient flavours with a contemporary flair.

Vanilla milk-rice, mango, cassis, raspberry foam and karkadè. (Image Credit: Aroma Manfredi Collection)

#DP loves the intimate romantic sundowner setting of Aroma that offers front-row seats to golden hour views of the Colosseum.

From dusk till dawn, Cielo remains the most glamorous hangout matched by unrivalled views.
(Image Credit: Rocco Forte Hotel De La Villa)

#3 Cielo Terrace, An Irresistibly Retro Chic Designed Rooftop Bar 

Cielo Terrace, a rooftop terrace on the 7th floor of the stunning Hotel De la Villa comes dressed in white and red retro-striped umbrellas, lounge sofas, and lush greenery— incomplete without the spectacular Eternal City skyline in view. Immerse yourself in a moment of pure pleasure with an apéritif as you begin to discover the listing that captures the essence of the 80s. ‘Gargamel’ is a heady mix of gin, bergamot, Curacao island blue orange liquor, lemon juice and panniers also known as grapefruit bitters with a Campari base, rose vermouth, karkade soda, and sparkling wine reduction is perfect for whet your appetite for dinner. The Cielo restaurant offers a selection of dishes that are the chef’s modern take on traditional comfort Italian plates. 

After rounds of refreshing aperitifs at sundown, guests linger for dinner to enjoy a gourmet selection of seasonal produce including fresh vegetables, seafood, farm-reared meat and sumptuous, Italian desserts. Chef Fulvio’s menu celebrates regional Italian fare with his signature style. Seafood lovers must opt for ‘Fregola pasta with seafood – a sundried Sardinian pasta made from hard durum wheat flour. Vegetarians mustn’t feel unlucky, the vegetarian plates such as ‘caramelized eggplant with tomatoes and light pesto’, and ravioli with pears, pecorino cheese and truffles’ with chunks of rustic bread are both delicious. Keep some room for the classic desserts, highly recommended is the traditional, ‘ Roman Mille Feuillemade with lashings of ‘Ricotta’ cheese, red berries and pistachio ice cream. 

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The Aloha-themed cocktail ‘Gooniess’ is a lemon-hued drink made of Jamaican Appleton Estate rum, Malibu coconut liqueur, maraschino cherry liqueur, Marachua syrup and fresh pineapple. (Image Credit: Rocco Forte Hotel De La Villa)

#DP loves the retro-furnishings and cocktails celebrating Rome’s vibrant nightlife and social scene from the 80s

Lumen cocktails and cuisine exude a refined taste in interiors inspired by contemporary and belle époque design styles. (Image Credit: St.Regis Rome)

#4 Lumen, Cocktails and Dining At St.Regis, Is Rome’s Best Address For  Sophisticated Drinkers 

Much like the Italian capital city Rome, St. Regis defines disruptive artistry and supremely luxurious suites and common spaces. ‘Lumen Cocktails & Cuisine’ is a lifestyle for the affluent who wallow in sophisticated mixology and cuisine. An all-day dining restaurant and cocktail, Lumen marries the concept of “live exquisitely” which finds expression in its cuisine and crafted mixology. The newly revamped lounge exudes an airy and luminous interior that continues offering patrons exclusive dining and cocktail experience. The menu reads as a bespoke journey that includes ancestral cocktails to the most classic and evolved apéritif counted as the true metamorphosis of great classics. 

The love for Martini has spurred an entire movement—a separate martini culture within the broader cocktail scene in Europe. Hence, for Martini lovers, there is a section dedicated to the timeless glass. ‘Tuxedo’ is a modern Martini filled with flavours and fun to explore. The signature Lumen cocktails are unmissable. The experience pairs well with signature glasses designed by contemporary artists whose work complements the drink it holds. This unique cocktail experience blurs the lines between design and mixology. Clean and crisp ‘Atollo’ is a delightful mix of  Champagne, Italicus, Americano Cocchi, lemon juice, sugar syrup and gin is a must-have.

The ingredients for the classic ‘Atollo’ is Champagne, Italicus( a citrus bitter) Americano Cocchi, lemon juice, sugar syrup, and gin. (Image Credit: St. Regis Rome)

#DP loves the handcrafted column-base glass named Atollo that supports a hemispherical curve recalling an atoll with the stirred cocktail.

NOTOS Six Senses offers a close-up view of the Baroque-style San Marcello al Corso church.
(Image Credit: Six Senses Rome)

#5 NOTOS Six Senses Is An Expansive Rooftop Bar That Encircles A Herb Garden 

The newest upmarket rooftop venue in the heart of Rome is NOTOS Six Senses—an expansive top-floor garden terrace lined with olive trees, grapevines, and a herb garden. Soak up all the views of ancient Rome on this stunning rooftop bar that overlooks the newly restored, San Marcello al Corso Church, the first sustainability project held by the hotel itself. NOTOS Rooftop caters to all kinds of dining preferences from sumptuous lunches to Italian-style apéritif-forward lounging at sundown. 

Their wine and champagne list is long but don’t miss the botanicals-inspired cocktail favourites – ‘Villa Borghese,’ a tequila-based whipped in oregano, lime, and honey, and ‘chinotto’ or the ‘Villa Tornilia, is a perfect infusion of herbs liquor, prosecco, soda, red fruits cordial. There are plenty of snacks to go with the cocktails like platters of Italy’s finest cured meats and cheeses, catch-of-the-day carpaccio, thin-crust Italian pizzas, fresh salads, and seasonal ‘pinzimonio’ from farm to table, staying true to the ‘Eat With Six Senses ethos’ that fosters a strong connect with local culinary tradition. Make sure you stop here because NOTOS is open only from mid-April to November.

The herb-infused modern take on classic aperitifs features fresh herbs that grow right behind you. (Image Credit: Six Senses Rome)

#DP Loves the botanical-inspired cocktails using Italian-made spirits and a peaceful garden terrace seating.