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Thursday, June 11, 2009

Two wine bar additions & a club

Two (true) wine bars we recommend (and are not in Rome the Second Time) are in the Trastevere and Marconi neighborhoods. Each has a variety of wines by the glass, with healthy and appealing appetizers, and over 200 wines by the bottle to take away.

We also suggest a night at Big Mama (photo) if you're in Trastevere.

Ombralonga ("long shadow") in the non-touristy area of Marconi, just east of the Trastevere train station, is owned and run by the affable Mauro. We discovered Ombralonga, and Mauro, several years ago when we lived in Marconi and searched high and low for good places to eat and drink. We make a pilgrimage (or two) to Ombralonga each time we're in Rome, and we're always happy to see Mauro. Wine by the glass runs about Euro 4-6 (you can go higher). Ombralonga has just 6 tables and is stylishly designed (while retaining the flavor of the classic enoteca) by Mauro's architect/now wife. The website at, is only in Italian, but you can see photos under Gallery, and a map at Contatti. Closed Sundays. Open for lunch and after about 6 for drinks and snacks - many of them made by Mauro's mother. Don't miss Ombralonga if you're anywhere near Marconi. via Oderisi da Gubbio, 41-43, tel. 06.559.4212.

The second wine bar we'd add to our list of top 10 is a 2009 discovery (for us) outside the tourist zona - by a few steps only - in Trastevere. Il Bacocco is an island of calm after all those Trasteverian crowds and hawkers (imho). Lovely and stylish, il Bacocco opens at 6 and features a "stupendo" apperitivo (see photos) with wine for Euro 5 from 6-9:30 p.m., open until late at night, fuller meals and other food available (and looks great). Emiliano behind the bar is friendly and explained to us that his family has been in the restaurant business for generations. via G. Mamelo, 61-62, tel. 06.589.8587; website is under construction. Closed Sundays.

Also in Trastevere, and therefore not in the book and avoided by us until this year, is Big Mama, on vicolo S. Francesco a Ripa, 18, tel. 06.581.2551; We've also avoided Big Mama because it has a monthly (Euro 8) or Yearly (Euro 13) tessera or membership charge plus usually a cover - and this for bands we have never heard of. We went to their seasonal closing night party a couple weeks ago and were thrilled with the bands - ranging from pure blues to '80s cover. Acoustics are excellent; make sure there's a table with a view of the stage before you plunk down your Euro. Their performers are listed regularly in Roma C'e', La Repubblica, etc., and you can check out their website; if you click onto "Club Info," there's a British flag for an English version.

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