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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The Jazz Scene: Rome's New Bistros

Apericena jazz Sundays at Mithos
The many bistros in Rome now featuring jazz have opened up the Rome jazz scene for aficionados, like us.  We tried 6 new ones this spring, some of which have music into the summer.   Most of these we found on the easy-to-navigate and spruced-up Web site

One of our most pleasant surprises is our favorite restaurant, Mithos, La Taverna dell’Allegria, that is hosting jazz most Sundays beginning at 6:30 p.m.  Calling it “Apericena” [before supper], the 10 Euro cover gets you a drink, an ample buffet, and on the night we were there, an excellent jazz trio.  Re the buffet – don’t expect Mithos’s regular menu on these Sunday evenings.  They serve only the buffet, which is quite nice; with good reason we were advised to rush over to the freshly fried fish when they came out of the kitchen.  The jazz evenings, as well as the many Vinoforum and other special events, are well publicized on Mithos’s Facebook page.  They also have an improved Web site at

Our second try was in what seemed to us an unlikely place – out on via dei Colli Portuensi, well south of Trastevere.  The bistro there is named for, and run by, the well-known wine shop in the center of Rome, Enoteca al Parlamento.  This locale is quite small, seating capacity inside about 20.  In fact, we sat outside--not our choice--listening in through open doors.  This “Aperijazz” is first rate, and, obviously, we recommend a reservation.  Bistrot is active on Facebook.
From the outside looking in.

At Vineria Litro.  Girlfriend at best table; the norm.
Prettiest bathroom.

We also heard an outstanding jazz guitarist at a relatively new bistro – open all day – on the Gianicolo, not too far from the American Academy in Rome and the American University of Rome.  Vineria Litro features “Un Litro di Jazz” on specified evenings, including through July.  The Web site,, seems not as up to date as its Facebook site – look for LITRO, not Vineria Litro.  And they might have the prettiest bathrooms in Rome – with windows over the washbasin looking out onto the Aurelian Wall (dear to RST’s hearts this year).

View from the bar at Oratorio Bistrot
Looking down into Anima Mundi
Two other venues that don’t seem to have such regular music offerings, but certainly have them, are the Oratorio Bistrot and Anima Mundi.  Oratorio Bistrot is, as you might guess, in an ex-oratorio, connected to the San Bernardo church a block from Piazza della Repubblica.  You’re in an ex-oratorio of a church built on the base of one of the bath halls of the baths of Diocletian.  Sweet!  On Facebook: and at  Anima Mundi Lounge Bar is behind Bocca della Verita’.  It’s a very nice bar; the music was not as professional, I’d say, as the others.  But a nice locale, via del Velabro 1-2,  and in the heart of Rome.  No Web site and the Facebook site seems poorly maintained.  A fair amount of information on TripAdvisor.

A sixth sort-of bistro is Cafe' Meeting Place on Piazza Bologna, where we heard a good jazz trio one night.  We were completely shocked that the coffee bar we featured in our first Rome guidebook, Rome the Second Time, had a total makeover to a cafe' - and with music.  We'll write more about this transformation in a separate post.

Max Ionata, on sax, with his organ trio, at Grottapinta Lovnge
We also tried one new music venue – Grottapinta Lovnge [sic], a rathskeller-like place just off Campo de’ Fiori, at via Grotta Pinta 12.  No Web site; Facebook site not maintained.  Try Twitter.  Or, again, look for them on  We were drawn to this venue because the Max Ionata Organ Trio was playing.  We had heard them at TramJazz (that might become a regular for us!) and wanted to hear them again.  Ionata has an excellent Facebook page.  Grottapinta Lovnge is a good music venue, but like most of them in Rome, don’t expect the music to begin until an hour or two after the listed time.

Opening act at Live Music Club, San Lorenzo

We tried a few new clubs, including l'Asino que Vola [flying donkey] in Appio Latino [not the club by the same name in Trastevere], and Le Mura Live Music Club in San Lorenzo at via di Porta Labicana, 24.  Both are serious music venues, though standing became the norm when the main act appeared at Live Music Club - not something we appreciate.  We also made a foray into a "cultural association"  off Piazza Navona - FEBO, where we heard some young, fledgling jazz musicians.  Fun for what it was. Vicolo delle vacche, 26a.  On Facebook at

Young musicians at FEBO.  The clarinetist was quite good,
though not a well-developed stage presence.
The regular clubs seem steady – Alexanderplatz, 28 Di Vino Jazz, Charity Café, Gregory’s (now called Gregory’s Jazz Club), Cotton Club – only one of which we made it to this Spring. And we want to send a shout-out to TramJazz as well - we love this venue, which might be considered in the smaller bistro variety.  The auditorium venues also re active, though perhaps not as active as in the past – e.g., Parco della Musica (where we saw Diane Schur this Spring with an Italian big band) and Casa dell Jazz.   But it seems to us the expanded action may be in these smaller, bistro venues – which is fine by us.


1 comment:

RomeFromHome said...

If Dianne & William recommend Tram Jazz then we are absolutely going to be there! Charity Café also on the radar