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Bologna Nightlife

Wine Bars & Aperitivo Stops

With its large student population and reputation as a creative powerhouse and new media hub, Bologna supports a thriving bar scene. Irish pubs and low-cost drinking dens cluster in the heart of the university district around Via Zamboni, Via San Vitale, and Via delle Belle Arti; for something a little more refined, head for Cantina Bentivoglio, a huge, lively wine bar that also doubles as a restaurant (with a menu very much in the Bolognese tradition of tortellini and big slabs of meat) and high-quality live jazz venue. In the last few years, urban hipsters have set up court in Via dei Musei, a short, partly covered street near Piazza Maggiore. Here, two trendy bars compete for trade: the Nu Lounge, with its dark wood minimalism and postmodern cocktails (try, if you dare, the "nu flava"—Amaretto di Saronno, red wine, and ginger ale); and playful, neo-Baroque Cafè le Palais, an offshoot of fashion concept store L'Inde le Palais, which it faces across the alleyway. Of the city's serious wine bars, perhaps the best is the Enoteca Italiana, an encyclopedic wine shop just off Via Indipendenza that fills up around aperitivo time with lovers of the grape stopping off on their way home for a quick glass of, say, Pieropan soave or Tre Monti sangiovese—accompanied by a plate of thinly sliced mortadella or some hunks of seasoned Parmesan.

Information may have changed since the date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.