The city of Love, where everyone wishes to celebrate the wedding, is situated properly in in the north of Italy. Have you ever found the places with the best tasting wine in Venice? Venetian wine bar culture is centuries-old, its existence predicated in part on three famous, neighboring regions—Soave, Prosecco, and Valpolicella—channeling their goods through the floating city.
The city enjoys a robust web of diminutive bars called bacari (bacaro is the singular), spread across Venice’s labyrinth of alleyways. Often standing-room-only, they serve a daily selection of small bites called cicchetti, akin to the tapas of Madrid or the pintxos of Basque country, along with glasses of regional wine referred to as ombre. Traditionally, bacari catered to a working-class audience looking to graze affordably while hopping from bar to bar.
But recently, more and more bars are going deluxe, bolstering local wines with more obscure regions and upping the selection of on-trend “natural” and “organic” bottles. These bars usually mean higher quality wine, but navigating them takes more local knowledge than good luck. Which is why we turn to Matteo Bisol.
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Here are Bisol’s top six places for indulging in the Venetian art of bacari drinking and dining, from historic Venetian classics to the new breed of modern natural wine bars.
Vino Vero, meaning “real wine”, is nestled along a quiet canal in the neighborhood of Canareggio. The sleek, standing-room-only storefront skews towards eclectic natural styles, and Bisol describes it as “one of the two best bars” for adventurous eaters and drinkers. Proprietors regularly rotate by-the-glass selections which they sell to a young, fashionable set who spill outside to socialize while snacking on fresher cicchetti than the competition.
Address – Fondamenta Misericordia, 2497
Bisol’s second recommendation for adventurous drinkers, Estero focuses largely on natural wines. The owners have amassed 700 different labels, all of which are fair game to open for the sale of just two glasses. It’s the perfect place for taking a deep dive into the wine list because you can drink at an actual table, while seated in an actual seat.
Address – Dorsoduro, 3778
This tiny, unassuming storefront in a nearby campo draws an authentic-feeling mix of Italians. When it reopens in the evening, customers crowd the entrance for an affordable Aperol spritz or ombre, how Venetians refer to local wine.
Address – Campo Bella Vienna, 213
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“Red or white,” asks the gruff proprietor of this dusty 1960s wine shop-cum-bacaro. Unfortunately, there’s no list, so you have to ask for recommendations based on what bottles are open.
Address – Fondamenta Nani, 992
Cantina do Mori
Get ready to have atmospheric, rather than gastronomic, experience. This Venetian institution has been in business continually since 1462, and looks like it with its dark walls and begrimed ceiling adorned in copper pots. Postage-stamp-sized bites called francobolli sell out by afternoon, but inexpensive, young wine flows from demijohns until early evening.
Address – Sestiere San Polo, 429
“No wine bar tour,” explains Bisol, “is complete without a stop at a classic Venetian bacari like Alla Vedova.” Tourists and residents patiently pile into the front bar of this old-fashioned osteria, to sample the city’s most renowned polpette—a crispy, fried pork meatball – and wash it down with multiple glasses of prosecco.
Address – Cannaregio 3912
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Source – Saveur