Right now, Florence, Italy is an exciting place to be for cocktail enthusiasts. Home to the Negroni—born during the height of the avant-guard movement in the 1900s—the city has recently been invaded by quality drinking establishments which have popped up alongside a few well-seasoned originals. Throughout Florence's compact city center, one can find a diverse array of well-built libations, from Cuban-style provisions, to vintage international classics, to off-the-wall renaissance-spiced mixes and flaming cocktails served in antique kettles. Here’s a list that will guarantee a proper, decisively distinct beverage in Florence's time-capsule wonderland.Read More
Where to Drink Cocktails in Florence, Italy
Florence goes beyond the Negroni.
Serving “awesomeness” since 2001, Mayday is considered Florence's true mixology den. Vintage and inventive cocktails are prepared with house-made infusions, liquors and fresh juices from local organic fruit producers. For chemistry and botany enthusiasts, this place is a must. And it doesn't hurt that the interior looks as if one entered the mind of Dali and a quirky performance theater.
The original Caffe Florian is located in Venice, and it's the longest running cafeteria in Italy since 1720. Due to its Venetian heritage, in Florence one will find classic cocktails with modern twists, such as the cigar-infused rum crafted Insane Old Fashioned. Bartenders in dapper vests hand-chip ice cubes for some drinks, while other libations are served in carved ice mugs with vintage accouterments. One can also order stylish snacks, such as Venetian tramezzini triangle sandwiches and macaroons.
Proprietor Lopez Martinez brings some Cuban soul to Florence with his signature muddled mojitos, margaritas and mango daiquiris complete with delicate touches like black salt rims, fresh lime and select rums from his home country. You might get lucky and arrive when one of the staff does an impromptu piano performance.
Opened in the spring of 2015, Lo Sverso is a small, casual cocktail and beer bar in the heart of the San Lorenzo quarter. Here, find old-fashioned mixes, house-made syrups and herbal bitters, plus an impressive shelf full of small batch spirits and vermouths. If you are looking for a break from strong, bitter drinks, Lo Sverso also pours Italian craft beers and puts together some vegan-friendly snack platters.
Totally unique to the Florentine food and drink scene is concept restaurant La Menagere, located just on the edge of San Lorenzo. It's a florist, Urban Outfitters-esque housewares gift shop and international eatery lounge with fresh squeezed juices and craft cocktails all combined in one space. While the food is generally inconsistent, the drinks are dependable. Those behind the bar focus on international favorites such the Moscow Mule, Sidecar and White Lady. The perks here are spacious seating areas, which are rare in a tiny city like Florence, functional WIFI and good music. It's one of the few contemporary dwelling spots in Renaissance-thick city.
Don't be fooled, this is not just a chocolate shop and tearoom as locals usually deem Hemingway. This lounge is a prime spot for a pre-dinner aperitif cocktail like the Manhattan. Hemingway offers a solid list of classic cocktails including a limey, not too sweet margarita, and each drink comes with a personal charcuterie of Tuscan prosciutto, local sheep's milk “pecorino” cheese, marinated vegetables and olives. A small, atmospheric cafe in a very local's quarter of the Oltrarno.
Golden View Open Bar
Those looking for a bit of posh overlooking the Arno River and the Ponte Vecchio, Golden View Open Bar is the spot for fancy drink seekers. Vodka flights, rum tasting and classic Martinis served on a blindingly bright white marble counter or at one of the tables with a priceless view of one of the city's most sought out sights.
Tucked in a tiny corner between Ponte Vecchio and Via Tornabuoni, Amble is a hipster haven for those wanting more variety on the quintessential Spritz. Amble's claims to fame are their generously stuffed tramezzini sandwiches, farm stand-style pressed juices and the San Francisco-style minimalist yet antique vintage furnishings. You can hide from the droves with a tramezzino and an Amble Spritz (made with white wine, soda water, mint and lime in lieu of Aperol) while feeling apart of the young, buzzing Florentine scene.
Rivalta offers one of the most concise, comprehensive cocktail menus in town in conjunction with a fabulous location, vibe and occasional DJ spinning. The menu comes as a sort of bookmark collection, indexed by genre. There's also ample indoor seating as well as several tables outside for those who'd like to imbibe along the river and watch one of Florence's gorgeous sunsets. Of note, they have themed cocktail evenings such as Whiskey Wednesday with fusions on classic favorites.
Brand new to the Florence food and drink world is Locale, completely hidden in the historical center. The place feels like a bar from Milan or New York, with a time travel clash of 16th century frescoes and ancient kitchen relics still intact. The bar has an impressive, dizzying array of vodkas, bitters and exotic flavors that spike craft cocktails such as the ginger beer and small-batch rum-based Dark n' Stormy, smoked Mezcal Negronis and welcome boozy punch for anyone who walks through the door.