It is about time that we threw our two cents into the pool (more like sea) of advice about the legendary Bacari of Venice. However, we fully anticipate that you will find your own favourites as well and we welcome any new discoveries.
Even during the most fleeting of visits, you will find yourself frequenting one more than the others. It may be because of the vicinity to your house, or more likely because of a particularly well-mixed spritz or charming barman. Whatever the reason, this is the way Venetian friendships start.
Bacari work so well in this walking city because they are perfectly adapted to the nature of the people. Many are open from the crack of dawn to support the local fishermen, until the aperitivo time. The aperitivo time runs loosely from 17.00-19.00 but this changes between summer and winter and even between bars.
There is a rhythm to the city, and in my opinion the Bacari are the bells, as you can tell the time of day simply by looking at them.
Other cities prize themselves on having hipster areas, business bars and late night back alleys. Where it may be seen as a status symbol to be observed there, and proudly sip away at your 18 pound cocktail for the next hour and half. Whereas in Venice the entry price is 1 euro, an ombra. Therefore rather than putting a pressured price tag on every meeting, which somehow manages to sap some of the flavour (I think further research should be done on this topic), the ombra provides the perfect middle ground between, serious and delirious.
Spritz (order of sweetness):
Aperol, Campari, Cynar, Select
Again, this comes down to personal choice but it is worth trying them all to be sure.
Brief history of Cicchetti and Ombra:
There is an old tradition in Venice called ciccheti and l’ ombra, literally translated as ‘a little bite and the shade’. The most traditional ciccheti are simple and can still be found in almost every bar; half an egg with anchovy, Bacala (creamed salted cod), Sarde in Saor. They are just supposed to be a small taster to tide you over before dinner, and to enhance the enjoyment of a drink. However, naturally there is also far more on offer nowadays (Schiavi and Vino Vero are two of the Bacari that are particuarly well known for the creative cicchetti).
As for the ‘Ombra’, there are two stories as to how it earned this intriguing name, each as likely as the other. Firstly, because the Gondoliers used to snatch a glass’in the shade away from the glare of the sun on the water. Secondly, because the original wine sellers who would set up their tables in San Marco square, used to follow the shadow cast by the bell tower in order to keep the wine cool.
These are some of our favourite cicchetti and wine bars in Venice that should not be missed on your next trip!
Al Timon (Fondamenta Ormesini nr 2754 )
Paradiso Perduto (Fondamenta della Misericordi nr 2540)
La Cantina (Strada Nuova–San Felice 3689)
Ca D’Oro (also called La Vedova, Calle del Pistor 3912)
La Bottega ai Promessi Sposi (Calle dell’Oca 4367)
Vino Vero (Fondamenta della Misericordia, 2497)
Cantina Vecia Carbonera (Campo Della Maddalena, 2329)
Osteria al Bancogiro (Campo San Giacometto 122)
Osteria al Pesador (Campo San Giacometto 125/126)
Cantina Do Spade (San Polo, 859)
Cantina Do Mori (Sestiere San Polo, 429)
Cantina di vini già Schiavi (also called Al Bottegon, Fondamenta Nani, 992,)
Alla Bifora (Campo Santa Margherita, 2930)
Osteria Al Portego (Calle della Malvasia, Castello San Lio 6014)
Aciughetta (Campo San Filippo e Giacomo 4357)
Bacaro Risorto (Campo San Provolo 4700)
I Rusteghi (Campiello del Tentor. San Marco 5513)
Trattoria da Fiore (Calle De Le Botteghe 3461)
Osteria Enoteca Al Volto (Calle Cavalli (campo San Luca 4081)
Bacarando (Calle dell’Orso, 5495)
L’Avena (Piazza San Marco, 133/134)
Bacareto da Lele (Campo dei Tolentini 183)
Osteria di Filo (Santacroce 1539)