Travel

Florence Bars & Nightlife

Establishment neighborhood
Signor Vino
Via Dei Bardi, 46/R, San Niccolo
Signor Vino is a wine-shop-meets-bar occupying prime real estate on the Arno, by the Ponte Vecchio. The space is modern, sophisticated, and as beloved by locals as it is by tourists. In the winter months, try to get a seat by the windows to take in the view as you enjoy your Brunello di Montalcino. Summertime is spent on the perpetually abuzz terrace. The beauty of Signor Vino is that you can try a few glasses, see what you like, and pick up your favorite bottle from the curated selection on the way out.
Rasputin
Piazza Santo Spirito, Santo Spirito
Rasputin is as close as Florence gets to a speakeasy. It’s in Santo Spirito, and to find it you have to rely either word-of-mouth or clues given over the phone. (It takes its secrecy seriously.) The name is a nod to the aesthetic—a moody, sumptuously decorated lair that feels a bit illicit, and the décor is a blend of over-the-top 1940s Italy with a hint of St. Petersburg thrown in (ruby-red walls, sloping brick ceilings, antique carpets, and a candelabra on each table). It’s the kind of bourgeois cave the owners imagined Rasputin must have frequented. The drinks are strong, and the candied citrus peel and dried fruit muddled into cocktails somehow tastes better here.
Manifattura
Piazza San Pancrazio 1R, Strozzi
In the little-known Piazza San Pancrazio, Manifattura is quietly shaking up Florence’s sleepy cocktail scene, under the expert direction of master mixologist Fabiano Buffolino. The aesthetic is that of a 1950s lounge, replete with lacquered tables, suited-up barmen, and an impressive inventory of nearly one hundred Italian Amari. The menu is an ode to Italy’s older drinking traditions, full of Italian sodas, vintage liqueurs, and several classic prosecco cocktails that go way beyond the Bellini.
La Terrazza at Hotel Continentale
Vicolo dell'Oro, 6, Ponte Vecchio
Florence at dusk is pure magic. And there’s no better observation point (other than perhaps Piazzale Michelangelo) to soak up the changing colors of the evening sky than at La Terrazza. The bar is (as the name suggests) a small terrace hovering over the Arno, buffered from the winter wind and summer scorch by stone walls on three sides. It’s small, chic, and cozy. Book a seat for sunset and prepare for the best view in town with a buzzy atmosphere to match.
Harry’s Bar
Lungarno Amerigo Vespucci, 22/R, Santa Maria Novella
Harry’s Bar in Venice is most famous for reputedly creating the sublime peach-purée-and-prosecco mashup that is the Bellini. The Florence outpost has the same sense of frivolity as its Venetian counterpart, and taking a seat at the bar and watching the white-jacketed barman whizz up the signature cocktail is a fun way to pass an hour or two. The space is elegant and charmingly old-fashioned with chevron floors and pink tablecloths. If Bellinis aren’t your thing, you can’t go wrong with the expertly made Negroni Sbagliato and the best steak tartare in Florence.
Caffé Gilli
Via Roma, 1/R, Duomo
The oldest café in Florence was founded (ironically) by a Swiss family in 1733, initially as a bozzolari, or doughnut shop. These days, the sweet selection has expanded to include hundreds of traditional Italian pastries, chocolates, cakes, and the chewiest nougat. The interior resembles a grand stateroom, with wood-paneled walls, stucco detailing, and glittering chandeliers. Despite the elegant allure of a seat inside at breakfast time, the afternoon cocktail hour is best enjoyed outside. Sit at a table with a spritz and the accompanying assortment of sandwiches and snacks and watch the world fly by.
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