Italian in Italy

Bars, Cafés and Pubs

A person at a bar holding a small teacup

Sidewalk bars in Italy generally open between 5:00 and 6:00 a.m. and close around 9:00 p.m. A bar is a place where one can duck in and get a quick espresso, soda, water, or alcoholic beverage when on the run. One can also purchase small snacks such as breakfast pastry, sandwiches and a variety of ice cream treats. Bars are open early to accommodate coffee drinkers as well as those who have worked the night shift, who might want a quick glass of something on the way home. They usually offer a variety of newspapers for patrons to read. Bars are frequented by people of all ages and are distinctly different from the American concept of a bar.

Cafés are fancier than bars, offering a wider array of food items as well as tables where customers can sit. One only goes to a café for a quick snack or supper with a friend, never to settle down to a full meal. Sandwiches, baked goods, salads and yogurt are available, as well as coffee, teas, sodas, juices and alcoholic beverages. Generally, cafés close at around 7:30, except for the famous cafés in tourist areas, which tend to stay open later.

In the evenings, young people and tourists may choose to go to a pub. Pubs are larger than bars, and serve alcoholic beverages and light meals. One can usually expect to find some kind of music, either a DJ, or live pop or jazz. Pubs are usually where those out for the night enjoy dinner and drinks before heading off to the clubs.