The night before I flew to Italy I happened to meet a girl from Florence. When I asked her where I should go to drink, she thought for a second then said, “it’s funny, all the time I lived in Florence we always liked to go to the Irish and English pubs.” It’s true, Florence is saturated with Irish pubs of all kinds, and the locals love them. (Full list below.)
A little more “authentic”, traditional (and therefore touristy) are the enotecas (wine bars), osterias and cocktail bars in the winding lanes around the cathedral and theatre. Here you can find the local specialities: aperitivos (aperitivi), Tuscan wine, Prosecco cocktails and often a free buffet.
However, the real nightlife in Italy is on the streets. Italians love to congregate in the open – in the piazze (piazzas) - and far from being seen as tramp-like, or even illegal, as it might in certain other countries, buying your drinks from kiosks and drinking on the street is the national pastime in Italy.
Some of the most common late-night hangouts in Florence are the pasticcerie (pastry shops; pasticcerias) and tabacchi (tobacco/cigarette shops) – many of which double as bars, such as the no thrills Bar Pasticceria/Tabacchi on the corner of Via Ponte alle Mosse, opposite the Piazzale di Porta al Prato. (Can’t miss it. It’s a big old gate.) Failing that, there’s a party around every idle moto (scooter). This makes for a very cheap night out in Florence.
Where to Head?
|Il Centro||Piazza del Duomo, Piazza della Repubblica, Piazza della Signoria and the little lanes that connect them are great for the early evening. This is where you’ll find the Old Stove chain Irish pubs.|
|Via dei Benci and Piazza Santa Croce||Hip bars like Gallery, LochNess, Moyo and countless others offer cocktails, aperitivi and free finger-food buffets in the evening. This is one of the densest spots in the city when it comes to bars.|
|Piazza Santo Spirito||Across the river, this piazza buzzes seven nights a week and offers a more local, alternative, some say “Bohemian” atmosphere where you can bring your own booze or grab a beer from bars like Cabiria with outdoor terrace areas. My personal favourite.|
List of Irish Bars & Pubs in Florence
- The Fiddler’s Elbow, Piazza di Santa Maria Novella, 1am (2am Fri & Sat)
- Joshua Tree, Via della Scala, 37, 2am
- The Lion’s Fountain, Borgo degli Albizi, 34, 3am
- Old Stove, Via Pellicceria, 2, 2am
- Old Stove Signoria, Piazza della Signoria, 2.30am (12am Sun)
- Finnegan’s Irish Pub, Via San Gallo, 123/R, 12.30am (1am Sat & Sun)
- Friend’s Pub, Borgo San Jacopo, 51, 2am
- Dublin Pub, Via Faenza, 27, 2am
- The William Pub, Via Antonio Magliabechi, 7
- James Joyce, Lungarno Benvenuto Cellini, 1
I’m sure there are more I’m missing.
Top Bars in Florence
|All’Antico Vinaio||Via dei Neri, 65/R||10pm (6pm Sunday)||Incredible rustic sandwiches, very affordable local wine, TripAdvisor favourite and a great place to start a night.|
|Parco Piscina Le Pavoniere||Via della Catena 2, Parco delle Cascine||12am||“Magnificenza Le Pavoniere” is ridiculously expensive, but what do you expect from a cocktail bar, restaurant and swimming pool all rolled into one.|
|FUK||Via Giuseppe Verdi 19/R||2.30am||“Florence Unpopular Kafé”. You kind of have to, just for the name.|
Where to Stay?
This is a nightlife guide, not an accommodation guide, but if it helps, I stayed in the Hotel Paris – a bit too grand for my budget, but luckily I wasn’t the one paying. It’s centuries old and has great views of the cathedral at night. Its rooms are like antique shops (without the dust), walking its corridors feels like a stroll around a museum – you never know what strange artefact you’ll stumble across next – and the breakfast room has crazy ceiling frescos that’ll make you feel like you’re eating in the Sistine Chapel.
Oh, and don’t forget to tell them it’s your birthday for a complimentary bottle of wine.