I have researched the best aperitivo places in Lucca within the city walls. It gets pretty hot in Tuscany during the summer months, so I don’t always feel like eating much or cooking at home. Therefore, aperitivo is ideal as you can choose how much to eat, the food seems lighter, and it is complemented by a refreshing drink.
Aperitivo is a huge part of the Italian lifestyle, yet many visitors seem to miss this fun experience. Italians love to socialise and enjoy a good cocktail, but they rarely drink without food. That’s where aperitivo comes in handy.
The original idea of aperitivo was to increase the appetite before dinner, to eat just enough to still feel hungry for dinner. Therefore, many Italians prefer little nibbles and smaller platters over buffets. It is not unusual for people to spread outside the venue, especially during the summer months.
Aperitivo at home? See my previous article The Ultimate Guide to Hosting an Aperitivo
Aperitivo in Lucca
Vinarkia della Pavona
One of my favourite Lucca hangouts. They specialise in wines (ask for recommendations, Nicola always gets it right), although their cocktails are also tasty and beautifully presented. The clear ice in the Negroni is just perfection. Also, if you feel like a post-aperitivo dram, you can find my favourite Bunnahabhain Toiteach a Dhá on the top shelf.
Check the food menu for cheese and meat boards, tasty anchovies and other dishes filling enough to make you skip dinner altogether. The venue may look small from outside, but there is also a spacious garden at the back.
Address: Via Fillungo 188
H&G Coffee Lounge
This is a lovely place for an aperitivo, although, as the name suggests, it is also a relaxing coffee and tea house. It’s basically a venue you can go any time of the day to relax and enjoy some nice food and drinks, from brunch to healthy juices to tasty cocktails.
The cocktail menu includes special Negroni variations, and the food comes on small tapas-style plates.
Tip: After you’ve finished here, pay a visit to Franklin33, a cocktail bar just few doors down from H&G. Say hi to Marco!
Address: Via S. Giorgio 36
This small wine bar offers both aperitivo foods and a delicious dinner menu, often with a Ukrainian twist. Great wines, friendly service, tasty food… what’s not to like?!
I recommend you book in advance as the space is limited even if they have a few outdoor seats as well.
Address: Via Elisa 37
Ristorante Caffetteria San Colombano
This place is actually on the Lucca wall, making it an ideal place for people-watching. The wall was initially built as a defensive barricade but once the military importance was gone, it became a pedestrian promenade, the Passeggiata delle Mura Urbane.
Choose a cocktail from the menu or enjoy one of their Spritzes. The restaurant has a tapas-style menu, but the aperitivo plate is pretty filling, and if you feel you need more food, they give you a new plate each time you order a drink. San Colombano is one of the few venues in Lucca to include the food platter with your drink price.
Address: Via delle Mura Urbane 10
Burro & Alici
The wine list includes great classic and modern wines, both Italian and French. The delicious tapas style menu has many Southern Italian dishes, a lot of fish as the name suggest. Very friendly service. Burro & Alici is a bit more expensive than most places in this list, but it is worth a visit.
Address: Via Francesco Carrara
Baccanale by di Vinae
Very small and charming wine bar on a quiet and tiny piazza. They have a short list of wines and aperitivo snacks, but it is more about the quality than the quantity here. Lovely place to relax.
Address: Via Saint’Andrea 14
Bar Osterial dello Stellario
This place offers live jazz outdoors every Sunday and during the summer months they have a band also on Fridays and/or Saturdays. The prices of food and drink are very reasonable. You’ll receive a small plate of snacks to go with your drink, but if you feel hungry, I recommend ordering some of the cured meats, cheeses and other classic Italian small bites they offer. When the music is on, people tend to make bookings, so I recommend you do so as well to guarantee a seat outside.
Address: Piazza S. Francesco 46