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This vaulted, architecturally spectacular bar is the craft beer destination in Italy’s capital. Uncompromising and authentic, most of the beers are made collaboratively all over the world by owner-brewer Alex Liberati, who pays no heed to tradition. Liberati introduced me to the slightly scary and powerful (ABV: 13 per cent) Death Star, a sweet Imperial stout. A word of advice – the name confuses taxi drivers, so just give the address.
Via Portuense 82, 00153 Roma; +39 06 58310737; brasserie420.com
We’re very much moving from grain to grape here. With hundreds of mostly Italian and French wines to choose from, Il Goccetto – known locally as Vino e Olio – is a good place to escape the mayhem and play chess, read the paper and relax under its ceiling frescoes. And if all that sitting around drinking wine makes you hungry, the traditional Roman buffet of local cheese and cured meats is just the ticket.
Via dei Banchi Vecchi, 14, 00186 Roma; +39 06 6864268; ilgoccetto.com
Antico Caffè della Pace
This Roman institution plays host to a demi-monde of writers, artists and rich kids. It’s cosy inside (think flowers and dark wood) but with a fabulous terrace. Judging from the reviews on TripAdvisor this place is clearly neither priced for nor welcoming to turisti but my Roman friends swear by it and I have to say that on a cold and rainy night it felt like the right place to be.
Via della Pace 3/7, 00186 Roma; +39 06 686 1216; caffedellapace.it
Not really a bar but there’s a great craft beer menu – and the finest pizza in the city. Owner Stefano Callegari is something of an underground food hero for his controversial but successful marrying of the two great styles of Italian pizza – the Romana (thin and crunchy) and the Napolitana (soft sour dough). Try potato and pancetta pizza bianca, and ask Stefano to recommend a matching drink.
Via Valle Corteno 31, 00141 Roma; +39 06 818 0960
Jerry Thomas Speakeasy
Named after the legendary 19th-century New York bartender, this is the coolest of Roman bars, with all speakeasy rituals vigorously observed. The door is unmarked other than for the name “Jerry Thomas”. Ring the bell and a peephole is opened. If you pass the test, the door swings back to reveal the gioventù dorata of Rome at play. Screaming jazz, outrageously strong cocktails and, well, lashings of coolness.
Vicolo Cellini 30, 00186 Roma; +39 06 96845937; thejerrythomasproject.it
Charlie McVeigh is the founder of Draft House and The Bump Caves, London
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