Bars & Nightlife in Venice Italy
This section of OG Venice introduces a few outstanding bars from each neighborhood of Venice. These places are local favorites. Many of them offer live music, others provide large televisions for watching sports and others have idyllic canal views. Whatever your taste, you can find something here that will suit you and have great Venetian experience at the same time. Viva!
Tip: Try a Spritz!
Spritz is unquestionably the drink of choice in Venice. Locally, “cocktail hour” is often just called “spritz time.” What is a “spritz”? Simply put, a spritz can be just about any combination, in thirds, of liqueur, wine and sparkling water. There are four dominant varieties of spritz served around Venice, two of which are certain to be offered to you should you enter a bar during spritz time. Spritz Al Aperol, made with sweet orange Aperol, and Spritz Bitter, made with bitter Campari, are the two most popular varieties of Spritz followed by Spritz Al Select, a uniquely Venetian spritz, and the spritz you may already know as a “white wine spritzer”, Spritz Bianco.
Rialto & San Polo Area Bars
The Rialto area is one of the liveliest neighborhoods in Venice when it comes to nightlife. Young professional Venetians and students flock here at aperitivo time, for just "one" spritz on the way home. Though you may not notice them during the day, the Campo San Gioccomo di Rialto is lined with small bars and osteria. The bar pictured here, Naranzaria, is typical of the many wine bars to be found along the square. Meanwhile, around virtually every corner in the area there is another small bar waiting to be discovered. These are some favorites:
Castello Area Bars
The Castello district is referred to as "the Venice of Venetians"; the place you should go to get a taste of the true Venetian lifestyle. Most of the bars here are "local's locals", each with their own set of loyal regulars and all with distinctly homey vibrations. And, oh yes, Venice is beautiful here too! If you have your evening spritz on the Via Garibaldi, the view will be of Venetian families taking an evening promenade, kids chasing balls and trying to scoot on cobble stones and residents running their evening errands… all with the Canale di San Marco and the church of San Giorgio Maggiore as a backdrop.
Dorsoduro Area Bars
Campo Santa Margherita, the largest square in the Dorsoduro district, is the center of nightlife for students and young people in Venice. The square is ringed-in by bars, pizzerias and restaurants and is very lively from late afternoon until late in the evening. But, just as this neighborhood hosts a multitude of small art galleries, besides the most famous Academia Gallery and Peggy Guggenheim Collection, there are also numerous bars and nightlife options disbursed throughout the area. Many of the best are away from the square. The oldest nightclub in Venice is here, as are the only openly gay-owned hotel and restaurant and the most reasonably priced canal-side seating for drinks and snacks. Come check out the rest of Dorsoduro!
Cannaregio Area Bars
Cannaregio is the neighborhood that most shows the contrast between the tourist life and local life in Venice. One street away from the crowded, souk-like, Strada Nova - The street where everyone walks between Santa Lucia Station and Campo San Bortolomeo/ Rialto - There is an entirely different Venice, a Venice that is down-to-earth, almost rustic and often quite traditional. Whereas nightlife on the Strada Nova can mean anything from dancing to watching sports, nightlife on the Fondamenta della Misericordia means wine or beer at a table by the canal, sometimes with a band playing from a boat tied off just outside the bar. This is a neighborhood with big rewards for those who venture off the beaten trail. Come check it out!
Santa Croce Area Bars
Santa Croce Area Bars. While Santa Croce is indisputably a major cross-roads of Venice, whereby hundreds of thousands of people a day enter and exit the city via Piazzale Roma, it is also one of the most tranquil parts of the city. The beautiful Campo San Gioccomo Del Orio is one of few major squares in the city still mostly used by locals, and the shops, bars and restaurants in this neighborhood still embrace quality over quantity served.
San Marco Area Bars
Though unquestionably the center of tourism activities during the day, the San Marco district tends be quieter, more formal and a bit more expensive when it comes to nightlife. Nevertheless, as in all neighborhoods of Venice, there are some wonderful spots in the San Marco district that are worth a visit if only for the sheer pleasure of listening to live classical music and enjoying uncrowded views of historic center of the most beautiful city in the world. If you are going to spend 15-20 euros on a glass of wine in Venice, an elegant bar on San Marco, or on the terrace of the Bauer Hotel, overlooking the Grand Canal, are the places to do it in. Though you are certainly not limited to wine in this neighborhood! And there is a recent addition to the neighborhood wherein you can find the classic Venetian bacaro feel...
Tip: The 24 Hour Bar
Bar Aperol San Marco 5126, Directly across from the Rialto vaporetto platform. Not much to look at, but an often valuable place to know of! Bar Aperol is, as far I know, the only always-open bar in Venice. Which means to say that I have never found it closed; not at 2am on the way home from a long night, nor at 5am on the way out to an early flight. So if you need a little espresso to help you get those last few hundred yards home, or a couple tramezzini to munch on on the way to airport this is the bar for you.