Tuscan dishes ribollita, panzanella and bistecca alla Fiorentina might be global food stars, but when you are a broke student and fancy restaurants are simply not an option, apericena poses as the perfect solution. Kicking off around 7pm in selected bars where snacks are served buffet style and are included in the price of your drink, aperi (from aperitivo, happy hour drinks) + cena (dinner) is the hottest portmanteau to enter the Italian social scene vocab. Ranging from cold cuts to a lavish buffet of pasta, veggies and meats, Florence throngs with spots offering this cheap and cheerful formula. Although Rifrullo and Circolo Arci are the most famous hangouts in the San Niccolò neighborhood, here are more cool places in zona where you can apericena and chill.
Via dei Renai, 13
Looking for more than peanuts and crisps but less than a four-course meal? Zoe Bar serves up a smorgasbord of bruschettas, salads and pasta in a chillaxed atmosphere on weekdays and a more energetic DJ-charged scene on Friday and Saturday nights. Grab a margarita or one of the other creatively curated cocktails and watch the movida go by seated on the spacious outdoor patio.
Via dei Renai, 17R
We were all upset when Negroni closed in 2015, but the popular hangout returned bigger and better than ever in May.
Now it’s a versatile restaurant-meets-bar furnishing affordable lunch options, top cocktails and an “all you can eat” buffet in the evening. The outdoor seating area draws in the crowds at weekends when you can find locals enjoying a drink before hitting the clubs, especially Flò, a climb away at piazzale Michelangelo.
The Speakeasy 23
Via San Niccolò, 23r
Hit The Speakeasy 23 on your way down from the Piazzale for a refreshing drink and chat with the super friendly owners. Don’t expect a wide variety of food
(it’s mostly cold cuts, crostini and cheeses), but the rum cocktails are spot on.
Locals love it, so it’s a top venue for putting your Italian to use while checking out the regular art exhibitions by young Florentine artists.
James Joyce Pub
Lungarno Cellini, 1r
James Joyce is close enough to the San Niccolò neighborhood to warrant inclusion. A budget-friendly option, it’s worth the five-minute walk beside the river. Gather with sport-loving friends to watch the game or get playful with the usual pub pastimes. If you are feeling peckish, order a toasted sandwich, bowl of nachos or dive into the snacks accompanied by craft beers or classic cocktails. There’s even a small book corner selling paperbacks, some of which are in English.