Bologna, Italy, is a city that buzzes with energy and excitement, and much of that vitality and mood is felt after the sun goes down. Bologna has no shortage of nighttime activities, with plenty of diverse nightclubs, discos, and live music available. So, where can someone new to the city venture at night for a sure-fire good time in Bologna? Read on to discover the 10 best things to do in Bologna, after sunset.
1. Osteria del Sole: Pouring liquor since the 15th century!
Located in a section of Bologna called the Quadrilatero, sits one of the oldest pubs in Italy. Osteria del Sole is the perfect place to have a drink with the locals. Built in 1465, everything in Osteria del Sole, even the nicotine-stained walls, is over 500 years old! Osteria del Sole is a marvel because: one, it is still standing and, two, people can find the place. With only an outdoor sign that reads “vino” as a marker, Osteria del Sole can take a Herculean effort to find, but the hunt is worthwhile.
Although “osteria” suggests food, Osteria del Sole stays true to its origins and provides only a bar counter that is well-stocked with wine, beer on tap, and various Italian liqueurs, including the famous locally-produced Montenegro. If you want to eat, you’re welcome to bring your own food, like sliced deli meats and bread, pizza, or Lo mein from the neighborhood Chinese restaurant. Some locals even bring in food made at home. Enjoy your meal on long wooden tables, along side others, for a great communal feel.
Osteria del Sole
Address: Vicolo Ranocchi, 1/d, 40124 Bologna, Italy
Website: Osteria del Sole
2. Black Cat Pub: What's an Irish pub doing in Italy? Serving great spirits!
Meno male che i giochi sono per i bambini!!! Bellissima serata ludica ospitata dal nostro pub e ci teniamo a...Posted by BLACK CAT Pub Bologna on Wednesday, 25 May 2016
The Black Cat Pub is a popular Irish tavern, where you can sip on a pint of Guinness and enjoy live music performances. They offer a great gathering spot to drink with friends, as well as a wonderful venue for birthday celebrations or bachelor/bachelorette parties. The Black Cat Pub also serves food, including tasty sandwiches, savory burgers and other appetizing goodies.
Exuding an Irish-style charm, the atmosphere is warm and friendly here and it shows in the staff’s attentive and welcoming attitude. The bartenders also serve some five-star cocktails that may possibly be the best found in Bologna. If doing a Bologna pub crawl, definitely list Black Cat Pub as one of your stops.
Black Cat Pub
Address: Via Saragozza, 63, 40134 Bologna, Italy
Website: Black Cat Pub
3. Bar Wolf howls: The granddaddy of the live music scene
Playing live music since the 1960s, Bar Wolf is the main staple of Bologna’s late night scene. Situated near the American University means that much of Bar Wolf’s patrons are young and lively. It is the hub of eclectic live music, presenting everything from folk rock to experimental funk. There’s a selection of Italian beers on tap and over 50 excellent cocktails to choose from. And because it’s mainly a student crowd, Bar Wolf means lots of affordable food, like dishes of pasta, burgers, hot dogs, and Bar Wolf’s acclaimed paninis. But just because it’s a university crowd, don’t think the place is a dive. Bar Wolf’s decor is quite elegant, with inviting colors and sophisticated lighting.
Address: Via Giuseppe Massarenti, 118, 40138 Bologna, Italy
Website: Bar Wolf
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4. Cantina Bentivoglio's wine, pasta and jazz: A winning combination
For nearly 30 years, Cantina Bentivoglio has been a delightful mixture of a wine bar, restaurant, and jazz club. Cantina Bentivoglio is a Bolognese institution, that provides live music six nights a week, most of the year. And during July and August, Cantina Bentivoglio teams with three other neighboring venues to host the annual Salotto di Jazz, a six-week live jazz festival, held on a closed-off section of the street.
With over 600 wine labels, Cantina Bentivoglio is a great place to enjoy a glass of Chianti, as you relax under the stunning arched ceilings. But by no means stay in your seat. With its maze of chambers, ancient brick floors and the late night jazz sounds heard from the cellar, Cantina Bentivoglio is a place to be explored. If you intend to dine, you can’t go wrong with the exceptional pasta, stuffed with pear and cheese.
Address: Via Mascarella, 4/b, 40126 Bologna, Italy
Website: Cantina Bentivoglio
5. All music, all live, all in, for the jazzy sounds at Bravo Caffe!
A great place to spend a Saturday night is Bravo Caffe, a bar and restaurant, located in the heart of Bologna. Presenting live music almost every night of the week, their musical performers are consistently top-notch. Even if you’re not a big jazz fan, Bravo Caffe’s music provides a very enjoyable evening that showcases emerging new talent and seasoned artists.
They do get packed, so get there early and take full advantage of your premature arrival with a long, relaxing dinner. Start with drinks - the wine list offers 250 labels, and appetizers, then feast on a delicious meal. The food is hearty Bolognese, with fresh homemade pasta, like tortellini and ravioli, rolled by hand.
Address: Via Mascarella, 1, 40126 Bologna, Italy
Website: Bravo Caffe
6. Link: An assault on the senses, but in a very good way
Entering Link is like surrendering to a sea of light and sound and they are an entertainment space like no other. Comprised of four rooms and two floors, Link offers an experimental selection of electronic, techno and ambient music, accompanied by laser light shows and special effects. DJs pump out pulsating tunes that keep the die-hard techno dance crowds out on the floor. Avant-garde performance art and live bands often make up the earlier parts of the evening, before the DJs grab the spotlight and do their thing. When you emerge from Link, you feel as if you’ve been on a mystical musical journey. And you’re happy for having taken the tour.
Address: Via Francesco Fantoni, 21, 40127 Bologna, Italy
7. Harvest Pub: Craft beer nirvana!
The next spot to add to Bologna’s list of nighttime diversions is Harvest Pub. Founded in 2011, Harvest Pub offers a large rotating selection of Italian and foreign craft beer. The Bender is worth a sample - it’s made from American hops and brewed in Italy. There’s friendly and knowledgeable staff, happy to chat about beer all night long. Harvest Pub’s vibe is warm and low-key and there are even board games available to pass the evening. The place is small and enjoys a below-the-radar quality, so it’s not too crowded, most nights. For those who want a snack, along with your drink, sandwiches, cheese, cold meat platters, and other appetizers are available.
Address: Via Montello, 4, 40131 Bologna, Italy
Website: Harvest Pub
8. Sotto Le Stelle Del Cinema: The ultimate movie-goers' experience!
Seeing a movie is nice. Seeing an outdoor movie is nicer. Seeing an outdoor movie in a piazza in Bologna takes the movie-going experience into the stratosphere! Bologna offers a wonderful, annual, open-air film festival, called the Sotto Le Stelle Del Cinema. From July 19th to August 15th, in the historic Piazza Maggiore, sit under the night sky with a bottle of wine, and a few snacks, and watch one of your favorite movies on a huge screen, with thousands of fellow film lovers. The movie program changes each season and ranges from classic comedies to present-day action flicks.
Sotto Le Stelle Del Cinema also offers great silent films, with a musical accompaniment, like the drama Battleship Potemkin and various Buster Keaton comedies. Some films are even presented in their original language, with subtitles. Movies start at 10.00 pm but arrive about an hour beforehand, to snag a good seat. The best part is, it’s free for everyone.
Sotto Le Stelle Del Cinema
Address: Piazza Maggiore, 40124 Bologna, Italy
Website: Sotto Le Stelle Del Cinema
9. Ravioli and Renoir under one roof at L'Arcimboldo
L'Arcimboldo is a unique place that blends both food and art. Located in the center of Bologna, near the Piazza VIII Agosto, L'Arcimboldo is a restaurant that features traditional Bolognese dishes, with a modern twist. And while you won’t actually see a Renoir, there is an opportunity to view some pretty impressive artwork. Truth be told, even the colorful and gorgeous-looking desserts could be classified as art. L'Arcimboldo is the brainchild of two young men, one a chef and the other an art lover. In the restaurant’s kitchen, the focus is on tortellini and guinea fowl, while in the basement, L'Arcimboldo shines the spotlight on engaging art exhibitions and events. L'Arcimboldo is cozy, occupying at the most, 35 persons at a time, so it’s perfect for casual evenings with friends or intimate, romantic dinners. Enjoy a leisurely meal, then afterward, take a nice stroll through the various artwork.
Address: Via Galliera, 34, 40121 Bologna, Italy
10. NU Lounge Bar: Master of tiki drinks
Situated just off the Piazza Maggiore, under an old portico, is the best tiki bar in Bologna. NU Lounge Bar is very chic and the perfect setting for a round of drinks or an exotic meal, with friends. Offering French and Italian cuisine, along with a first-class cocktail menu, that features tiki and tropical drinks, NU Lounge Bar scores big with the dapper Italian crowd. They provide indoor and outdoor seating, with toasty heat lamps burning during winter months and their owner is an award-winning cocktail guru, named champion of the ‘42Below Cocktail World Cup’. If you’re looking for an uncommon night out in Bologna, you found it at NU Lounge Bar.
NU Lounge Bar
Address: Via de’ Musei, 6, 40124 Bologna, Italy
Website: NU Lounge Bar
Bologna's nightlife is a sensory experience
The nightlife in Bologna, Italy will awaken your senses. With its vibrant and lively offerings of good food, live bands, great drinks, and electrifying dance music, Bologna is like a hard-driving party for all your senses. One thing you won’t miss, with a night out in Bologna, is a gratifyingly good time that will stay with you long after you have left this captivating city.
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