You’re standing on the dance floor, moving in semi-darkness to the rhythm of the latest DJset, strobe lights pulsating, a mojito in your hand and the guy next to you is devouring a mouthful of pasta. Hardly a typical setting on dance floors across Europe, the Roman nightlife scene is increasingly becoming an extension of the dinner. Is this a trend or just reflecting the national obsession with good food? It looks like the Romans just can’t get enough of it, at least judging by the ‘restaurant corners’ proliferating in bars and clubs around town. Granted, there are still some hardcore clubs, such as Rashomon or Brancaleone, but a good number of addresses that were born as temples to alcohol and music are slowly but steadily widening their offerings to finger food.
Take Shari Vari, a newly-opened bar and club rising from the ashes of the famous Supperclub, which, after offering everything from pasta to lamb chops, turns into a psychedelic dance hall. Or the eclectic S.A.I.D., one of Rome’s most recent additions, successfully mixing a tea room, chocolate bar and, unexpectedly, a hip restaurant. While most places have been offering food for a while, the concept of it has changed extensively over the last few years. Today, a €10 consumazione (or the price you pay for the cocktail) is inclusive of all-you-can-eat food and can get you stuffed for the rest of the evening. From cous-cous salads, to fried vegetables, elaborated pasta dishes, roast-beef and all the cheeses and salami you can think of, it’s hard to find a bar without gorgeous food on the menu, and why would you want to?
Places like the lovely Bar del Fico, where you can start in the morning with breakfast, stay for lunch, have a pre-dinner drink before a pizza and then a Caipirinha until the wee hours; or more sophisticated ambiences such as ReD, a luxuriant bar that also offers an intriguing selection of Italian creative cuisine, or Salotto 42, one of Rome’s most credible bars, also kicking up a storm of tapas. While none of them have necessarily risen to the dizzying heights of gourmet cooking, their food is still worth savouring, if not just to keep you dancing through the night.
The 2nd Edition of Hg2 Rome is online now and available in print end of June 2011. Buy the online version here