Aperitivo bars on a budget

Aperitivo is one of my favorite Italian hobbies. It’s basically like happy hour but better. This is how it works: most bars, cafés and even some restaurants offer an aperitivo usually around the hours of 6pm to 9:30pm. When you order a drink- it can be anything- it entitles you the the lovely little buffet of snacks. It’s quite a deal and some people treat it like an affordable dinner outing, it is an ideal activity for anyone on a budget or of course: students. Another reason why I appreciate aperitivo is because it fosters a healthy drinking culture. Italians rarely drink on an empty stomach or drink for the sole purpose of getting drunk. It is a bit outside of social etiquette to be a sloppy drunk. Food is almost always served with alcohol. If you do happen to get a bit merry it is a completely different feeling than being tipsy without having eaten anything, I assure you. That cultural note aside, we have compiled a list of a few (5) aperitivo bars that are friendly.

Spigoli1. Caffé Sant’Ambrogio 4€ and up (depending on drink choice). Great local bar with funky art inside (including a sculpture of a fine behind) and a delicious spread of nibbles. Also a good study spot w/ free WIFI. Sometimes I find fancy seafood couscous here or Tuscan classics like fennel salami and pappa al pomodoro.  I totally approve of the wine list here for those with unpretentious tastes.

2. Popcafé- 5€ vegetarian aperitivo everyday with an emphasis on creative salads and warm, fresh foccaccia. The interior is decked out in obscure art and rotates according to the owner’s mood. Perfect for the bearable outdoor months where you can sit with a cocktail in the bella square of Santo Spirito.

plaz3. Plaz Bar- 5€ aperitivo every Wednesday and Thursday. They have a modest selection of wines and a impressive list of cocktails. When I was there, I enjoyed nice little sandwiches, pizza squares, meatballs in spicy sauce, fresh veggies and various crostini. They also have a live DJ set on those evenings and bands that occasionally play on the weekend. Worth a visit.

4. Rivalta 6€ The aperitivo here is one not to be missed. Rivalta has a modern atmosphere with a delicious spread of snacks based on contemporary Italian gastronomy. Good music, beautiful location and above all: con un prezzo giusto (the price is right).

5. Golden View Open Bar- 8€ A bit above what I would call “budget” considering the preceding suggestions were in the 4-6 GVaprange. However, aperitivo at Golden View is still a bargain considering the location (with a view!), the chic atmosphere and the quality of snacks. Presentation of food is artful and aesthetically pleasing, along with a pleasant wine list and beautifully crafted cocktails. Thus making this a prime choice for a more elegant drink stop- perhaps on a date or before hitting the town in your best dress (or suit;). For sure, Golden View should be frequented- even for just a coffee and a buttery brioche- during your time in Florence.

Have you visited any of these establishments and would like to rate them? You can and read other reviews via our website at

Cin Cin!

photo credits: Caffé Sant’Ambrogio, Plaz Bar and Golden View Open Bar

(Article written by Coral: Gourmet food blogger for Restaurants in Florence and


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