Sightseeing With a Twist: Rome's Best Hotel Bars

There is nothing like savoring an aperitivo under the pearly skies of a Roman twilight, far above the streets of the "Eternal City."  Who needs a drone when you have panoramic views from the bars at the Eden, Sofitel, Palazzo Manfredi and more?

If we had to choose a favorite, our answer would be “impossible.” Starting with the Hotel Eden at Via Ludoviso 49, the Il Giardino Bar is the place to savor a Martini Trevi or Negroni and cicchetti (Italian tapas) before moving on to the adjacent Michelin-starred La Terrazza Ristorante. The sandwich and salads menu in the bar is ideal for lunch with a view. Bartender Stefano Briganti suggests the signature drink, La Grande Bellezza, which was inspired by the Paolo Sorrentino film. A mix of rose vermouth, tamarind, mandarin and mezcal, the result matches the flaming Roman sunsets. The views of the city are stupendous at the Eden, no matter the time of day. Il Giardino opens at 7 a.m. and closes at 12:30 a.m. To connect with them, call 011-390-647-8121.

Palazzo Manfredi’s Court Mixology Bar
At Palazzo Manfredi’s Court Bar, guests can savor a drink while viewing the Colosseum. (Palazzo Manfredi)

Also at the Eden is La Libreria, the “secret bar,” where guests may steal away for a drink in a quiet, cozy setting.

The Settimo terrace at the Sofitel Roma Villa Borghese is an open-air dreamscape. Nibbling suppli and other stuzzichini (tasty bites), sipping a Settimo Sour (amaretto di Saranno, Passion Fruit, and Lime), as the summer night washes over Villa Medici garden below is truly wonderful. (The Settimo offers the opportunity to sit inside if guests prefer). The new Food and Beverage Manager, Giovanni Fortino, will be introducing a new head barman very soon. The hotel is located on Via Lombardia 47. For reservations, call 011-390-647-8021.

guest terrace
The Seventh Floor Terrace at the Hassler Hotel soars above the Spanish Steps. (Hassler Roma)

Moving to the Spanish Steps, there is the Seventh Floor Terrace at the Hassler Hotel Rome, a private bar for guests of the hotel (non-guests are welcome, but must reserve in advance). Serving drinks and light meals, the terrace soars above the Spanish Steps and the rooftops beyond. It closes at midnight. Downstairs at the Hassler is the revered Hassler Bar, a 1940s-style watering hole, dark and plush, open to the public from 11 a.m. until late, October through April. Ask for a Veruschka, a zesty cocktail made of sparkling wine and pomegranate juice. The address is Piazza Trinita’ del Monti 6, and the contact number is 011-390-669-9340.

Above the storied Piazza Navona is the Terrazza Borromini at the Eitch Borromini Hotel. Located on the roof of the 17th-century Palazzo Pamphilj, the terrace vibrates with history and serves lunch and dinner. Even more rarified is the rooftop bar, an intimate space where reservations are an absolute necessity. The statuary of the adjacent church is almost close enough to touch and below is the incredible Borromini fountain, the hallmark of the piazza (and familiar movie scene). The bar is open from 6:30 p.m. For reservations, email [email protected], or call 011-390-668-215-459. Note: The entrance to the hotel is behind Piazza Navona at Via de Santa Maria dell’Anima 30.

Terrazza Borromini at the Eitch Borromini Hotel
Terrazza Borromini at the Eitch Borromini Hotel is located on the roof of the 17th-century Palazzo Pamphilj and overlooks Piazza Navona. (Eitch Borromini Hotel)

Fabrizio Fazioli, the barman at Terrazza Borghese at The Tribune JdV by Hyatt mixes a new Signature Borghese cocktail for spring and summer, a refreshing mixture of Campari, Aperol, Americano Cocchi and Crodino. The bar is a covered outdoor space, rising above the Villa Borghese park, near Via Veneto, at Via Campania 45. Reach out the hotel at 011-390-662-283-753. The hotel recently became the first Hyatt-branded property in Rome and things are hopping.

Terrazza Borghese at The Tribune JdV by Hyatt
Terrazza Borghese at The Tribune JdV by Hyatt is a covered outdoor bar, rising above the Villa Borghese park, near Via Veneto. (The Tribune JdV by Hyatt )

If viewing the Colosseum up close with a cool drink in hand is in order, the Palazzo Manfredi’s Court Mixology Bar is the answer (if it’s dinner, book the Michelin-starred Aroma Ristorante & Bistro on the rooftop with another spectacular view of the ancient monument). Matteo Zed is the cocktail king here at Via Lubicana 125. The bar is open from 5 a.m. to 1 a.m., and closed on Tuesday. For bookings, email [email protected], or call 011-390-669-354-581.

Despite our devotion to the rooftop bars of Rome, we remain happily on the ground at the Stravinskij Bar at Hotel de Russie. The Valadier-designed garden is magical, especially on a summer night. Explore the 11-page bar menu or just order the Stravinskij Spritz, containing prosecco, flowers, spices and fruits. A fine dinner menu is available at the adjacent Le Jardin de Russie Restaurant. Just steps from the Piazza del Popolo at Via del Babuino 9, the garden and bar are like entering another world after a day shopping and sightseeing. Call 011-390-632-888-874, or email [email protected].   

Secret Garden Hotel de Russie
The Secret Garden at Hotel de Russie has been restored to architect Giuseppe Valadier’s original 19th-century style. (Hotel de Russie)

On Via Margutta, Rome’s cobbled street of the artists, is the bar, garden and lounge at hotel Via Margutta 19. Conte Alberto Moncada’s collection of carefully designed, discreet boutique hotels anchors this neighborhood of galleries, small restaurants, and hidden corners, where his family settled centuries ago. We love sampling little bites from the EMME kitchen, along with some of the city’s best choices of wines. (Fact: Rome is the only European capital located in a Premier Grand Cru wine area). Alberto also offers hotel guests a small rooftop bar at Babuino 181, just down the street from Via Margutta 19. Non-hotel guests are welcome with reservations. Call 011-390-697-797-980 or email [email protected] to book.

The Adelaide Bar at Hotel Vilòn
The Adelaide Bar at Hotel Vilòn was once a school for poor girls, founded by benefactress Princess Adelaide Borghese and adjacent to the 16th-century Palazzo Borghese. (Hotel Vilòn)

Another ground floor watering hole we like is at Hotel Vilòn, where the Adelaide Bar is a sophisticated, palm-filled spot to meet for an aperitivo near the Borghese palace. In centuries past it was a school for poor girls, founded by benefactress Princess Adelaide Borghese and adjacent to the 16th-century Palazzo Borghese.

When we visited the Vilòn, we found the daily invention of signature waters a fun surprise — especially a lemon / lime / cuke / thyme / pink pepper confection. After that, it was a Bellini with a twist — watermelon juice instead of peach juice. Find the boutique hotel at Via dell’Arancio 69. To contact the hotel, call 011-390-687-8187, or email [email protected]

The Settimo Terrace at the Sofitel Roma Borghese
The Settimo terrace at the Sofitel Roma Borghese offerscontemporary Roman cuisine. (Sofitel Roma Borghese)

Some of Rome’s top hotel bars are the best because they have limited spaces and lots of atmosphere. While it’s not always necessary to book in advance (see above), a phone call from travelers or their hotel concierge to check on available tables can be a good idea if getting there is a trek through Rome traffic.

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