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Bacari - Ancient Taverns of Venice

Venice's bacari (plural for "bacaro") are traditional wine bars or taverns that are an important part of the city's culinary and social scene. The history of Venetian bacari dates back many centuries, and they have played a significant role in the local culture.

Bacari first emerged in Venice as early as the 14th century. They were originally simple establishments where workers and sailors could stop for a quick meal and a glass of wine. The word "bacaro" is believed to have derived from the name of Bacchus, the Roman god of wine.

Over time, bacari became popular gathering places for locals - noblemen and gondoliers, to socialize, enjoy affordable food and drinks, and escape the hustle and bustle of the city. These establishments typically serve cicchetti, which are small, tapas-like dishes that are perfect for snacking while enjoying a glass of wine or spritz.

Bacari in Venice have retained much of their traditional charm and character over the centuries, with many still featuring standing-room-only counters, wooden barrels of wine, and a lively atmosphere. They are an essential part of Venetian culture and are loved by locals and visitors.

Here are a few bacari you can visit on your next trip to Venice:

Bacareto from Lele

A beloved spot among locals, Lele's Bacareto offers delightful mini-sandwiches and quality wines at affordable prices. Whether standing at the counter or sitting by the Tolentini church, visitors can enjoy a genuine Venetian experience surrounded by the city's ambiance. Note: Closed on Sundays and holidays.

Bacareto da Lele – Campo dei Tolentini 183 – Santa Croce, Venice .

Cantina Do Spade

This renowned ancient tavern is famous for its Venetian specialties like liver, sardines in saor, and cuttlefish, paired perfectly with a selection of white or red wines or the historic Pedavena beer. Guests can savor these dishes while seated at the tables.

Cantina Do Spade – San Polo, 859, Venice – 041 521 0583 .

Cantina Schiavi (Al Bottegon)

A Venetian institution run by the Gastaldi family for two generations, the Former Schiavi Wine Cellar serves excellent cicchetti, including crudités and other specialties. With over 30 wine labels listed on the blackboard, it's a must-visit for wine lovers.

Cantina Schiavi (Al Bottegon) – Fondamenta Nani, 992, Dorsoduro Venice – 041 523 0034 .

Osteria Al Ponte 'La Patatina'

Famous for its legendary fried seafood and fair prices by Venetian standards, Osteria Al Ponte 'La Patatina' is a popular bacaro that also serves as a fish restaurant. Visitors come not only for the cicchetti but also to savor the exceptional fried dishes.

Osteria Al Ponte 'La Patatina' – Calle Testa, Venice, Italy – 041 528 6157

Osteria Alla Staffa

A cozy trattoria with limited seating, Osteria Alla Staffa is a favorite spot for enjoying quality cicchetti (prices begin at 1.50 euros each) like creamed cod, crostini with octopus, cured meats, and cheeses paired with a glass of wine, especially Prosecco which is produced in the region.

Osteria Alla Staffa – Sestiere Castello, Calle Ospedale 6398, Venice – 041 523 9160

Osteria Alla Vedova Ca' D'Oro

Formerly known as Alla Vedova, Osteria Alla Vedova Ca' D'Oro is a well-known bacaro loved by Venetians and non-Venetians. Here, patrons indulge in the famously hot, crispy yet tender meatballs. The classic decor features wood and copper cauldrons, creating a cozy atmosphere for enjoying cicchetti.

Osteria Alla Vedova Ca' D'oro – Cannareggio, 3912, Venice – 041 528 5324

I hope the cultural history and the list of bacari encourage you to visit Venice and make plans to stop for a drink, chiccetti, and a chat with the locals.

Have you been to any bacari in Venice? If so, please let us know in the Comment section below which one/s and what you enjoyed about your experience.


The Way To Italy has been providing fee-based, custom travel planning for travelers to Italy for 23 years. I handcraft once-in-a-lifetime Italy experiences down to the last detail.



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