Enjoying a break in the typical Venice "bacari" is a unique experience, one of those exquisitely local institutions, such as karaoke in Tokyo or jazz clubs in NY, which cannot be found in any other city in the world.
A bacaro is a wine bar where, usually until aperitif time, people meet for a glass of wine, a good chat and a yummy cicchetto. From the Latin word ciccus, meaning small quantity, cicchetti can be considered the ancestors of finger food, perfect to be enjoyed with one hand engaged by a glass of wine.
The name bàcaro seems to derive primarily from Bacchus, God of Wine, and therefore from the Venetian saying “far bàcara” which is having fun with a group of friends. Paying homage to its etymology, here is a list of the most beautiful bacari in Venice, ranging from the traditional ones to real gourmet bistros.
La Barrique Wine Bar, Castello
La Barrique is a gastronomic bacaro managed by the gourmand host Marco Simonetti who offers an excellent selection of wines starting from Supertuscan and important vintages to focus on the best small artisan wineries of Triveneto. The secret of its success? The best raw ham in Venice, which Marco cuts fresh starting from boneless and unpressed forms of San Daniele produced by small Friulian artisans, and treat each cicchetto not as a simple appetizer that accompanies a glass of wine, but as a real serving dish all-round protagonist. In summer it is simply splendid to sit in the sunny outdoor area on Via Garibaldi, one of the most pleasantly residential areas of Venice, and order the tasting plate of 10 cicchetti with a good glass of wine.
Cantina Do Mori, Rialto
Cantina Do Mori is one of the oldest bacari in Venice, whose opening dates back to 1462, and it is famous for being one of Giacomo Casanova‘s favorites. The only one in the lagoon city with a double entrance from two different calli (streets) near the Rialto Bridge, it has been managed for over 20 years by Gianni and Rudi who will recommend to you the best local wines to be paired with some traditional cicchetti, such as mini sandwiches with creamed cod and many varieties of meatballs.
The interiors are truly characteristic, decorated with antique prints and photos, copper pots hanging from the ceiling, and large demijohns to serve draft wine. Despite being one of the most famous bacari for its historicity, a visit to Do Mori always manages to offer the rare and pleasant sensation of having discovered a timeless corner of the most authentic Venice.
Estro, Ai Frari
Estro is a gourmet bistro with wine shop characterized by strictly Made in Venice design furnishings such as the tables obtained from the recovery of old briccole (the typical wooden poles planted in the Lagoon) or the red lights made of Murano glass by the artist Marco Salvadore.
The perfect address for a lunch or dinner based on fresh fish, without giving up an appetizer inspired by the classic Venetian cicchetti, Estro offers a selection of over 700 labels of natural wines, mainly organic and biodynamic, carefully selected by the owners, the brothers Alberto and Dario, highly talented hosts who have been able to create one of the few venues in Venice that perfectly combine history and modernity both in interior design and in the food and wine proposal.
I Rusteghi, Rialto
I Rusteghi is the kingdom of Giovanni d’Este, host of great personality, famous throughout Venice for his ability to entertain and pamper his customers, recommending excellent wines that he searches with passion around the world, focusing on the very high quality of his products. Suffice it to say that he is the only Venetian osteria chosen to become an ambassador for Krug champagne.
In a hidden courtyard near Rialto, softened by the light of the lampshades and jazz music, the small gastronomic wine bar offers excellent platters of cold cuts and cheeses and second courses of meat and fish caught on the hook to accompany a selection of over 1000 international wine labels, refined liqueurs and spirits, and special beers.
Stappo, San Stae
Near Campo San Polo, Stappo is a small wine bar that, in the name of sustainability and authenticity of the raw materials, offers an excellent wine list, especially focused on natural and artisanal labels, and a menu of dishes based on ingredients derived from local and non-local producers who make respect for the territory their guiding principle.
The internal courtyard is beautiful in summer, characterized by the presence of an ancient well where, by candlelight, you can experience the bohemian atmosphere of international wine bars amidst electric blue industrial chairs and exposed brick walls.
Vino Vero, Fondamenta della Misericordia
Vino Vero, opened in 2014 by 4 friends, including Matteo Bartoli wine producer in Tuscany, the region from which most of the products used in the kitchen comes from, offers excellent biodynamic and organic wines (spritz is not served). The selection of gourmet cicchetti is truly excellent and, in addition to the traditional ones, we find unusual ingredients such as wild boar salami, goat robiola, dried tomatoes, honey or avocado.
One of the chicest bacari in Venice, a successful combination of design and tradition, in the summer it offers the opportunity to sit on the tables along the Rio della Misericordia from which, thanks to the fortunate position kissed by the sun, you can enjoy a beautiful sunset.
If you feel like going on a bacaro tour starting from one of those hereby suggested, we propose 3 areas of Venice where there are nice places within a short distance from each other, therefore perfect for a “bacarata”.
Frari area: in addition to Estro, you can visit Il Mercante, a must in the evening for the excellent cocktails, Cantina Arnaldi and Adriatico Mar, where in summer you can have an aperitif seated or “moored” on the small pier next to the bar; additionally 10 minutes away, along the Fondamenta Nani, right in front of the picturesque Squero di San Trovaso, there is the Osteria al Squero, another bacaro very suggestive at sunset.
Ponte di Rialto area: in addition to I Rusteghi and Cantina Do Mori, you can visit Cantina Do Spade, famous for its excellent fish cicchetti, All’Arco and Al Mercà.
Fondamenta della Misericordia area: in addition to Vino Vero, you can stop at La Sete, another bacaro with an excellent selection of wines.