Florence: A guide to the city’s bar scene

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A bar in Florence, Italy
A slice of Florence nightlife, complete with a Vespa. Photo by McPig.

Finding a bar that suits you can be a difficult task while travelling and Florence in particular has some obvious pitfalls. So simply keep in mind what kind of atmosphere you’re looking for and this advice can help you enjoy the city and it’s nightlife that much more!

Florence’s bar scene

Many of Florence’s bars and pubs tend to rely entirely upon one particular asset: location. The most noticeable are the Irish pubs that you’ll find sprinkled in Florence’s most well-known piazzas and streets.

For example, The Old Stove Duomo, one in a chain of pubs, boasts a small balcony just big enough for two seats and a little table with a breathtaking view of the Duomo. You’ll find, however, that places like these offer little in style and clientele and are always overpriced in an already expensive city.

Another pitfall of Florentine nightlife is the bevy of Americans (no offense to my compatriots!). Sure, many European cities also have throngs of study abroad students and tourists. However, Florence is so small, with so few natives still residing inside the city itself, that the contrast can be quite startling, and no more so than at night.

So if you’re looking for more of a taste of Florence’s Italian, and better yet, international mix, try out these places:

Lochness Lounge
Via de’ Benci 19
Tel.: +39 055 241464
Hours: Open daily from 7 p.m. to 2:30 a.m.
Web site

This recently refurbished lounge bar hidden away in a corner of the bar-filled street of Via de’ Benci offers a taste of the great international mix Florence has to offer. Just talk to the owners, John, from the UK, and Trine, from Denmark. Several nights a week there is live music and great drink specials. Prices are in the normal range and their anthology of tasty cocktails will keep you coming back. There’s even happy hour from 7-10 p.m.

Pop
Piazza Santo Spirito 18a/r
Tel.: +39 055 213852
Hours: Open daily from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.
Web site

Across the river you’ll find Pop, previously mentioned on EuroCheapo for its cheap, vegetarian-friendly aperitivo.  Fortunately, Pop is also very budget friendly for drinking. It’s one of the cheaper options that you’ll find on Piazza Santo Spirito, one of the liveliest piazzas at night. The venue is long and narrow, with some seating inside.  If possible, grab a seat outside so as to better enjoy the weather and the crowds.

Bonus tip: If your budget is really tight, stop by a supermarket earlier in the night and pick up some good old Italian beer such as Moretti and drink it on the steps of Santo Spirito, the large church that dominates the piazza. Although not the classiest options, this is a common practice in Italy and can be your only option after 2 or 3 a.m., when most bars close.

La Cité
Borgo San Frediano, 20r
Tel.: +39 055 210387
Web site

For a more artistic vibe check out La Cité, a bookstore and bar with a diverse and lively crowd that often spills onto the street. The large room to the right of the entrance is also the venue for many book readings, performances and small concerts. You’ll find an almost exclusively Italian crowd here, which could either be exactly what you’re looking for, or a bit of a difficulty due to the language barrier.

Tabasco
Piazza S. Cecilia, 3r
Te.: +39 055 213000
Hours: Open from 10 p.m. (Tuesday, Wednesday, Sunday), 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. (Thursday to Saturday)
Web site

There isn’t exactly an abundance of LBGT options in the center of Florence. However, Tabasco does offer a pretty mixed crowd and a steady beat of house and disco music. Hidden behind Piazza Signoria on a back street, the place can be hard to find. From Piazza Signoria, take Via Vacchereccia towards Via Por San Maria (or in street terms, head towards H&M). Take your first and only right and follow the street back around.

About the author

Laura Mongillo

About the author: Laura Mongillo holds an Undergraduate and Masters degree in Italian Studies from NYU and has been living in Florence, Italy for three years.

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