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Bartaruga

9 Piazza Mattei
Rome , Italy http://www.bartaruga.com
39 06 689-2299

It’s a favored watering hole of the Roman leftist intelligentsia, but anyone is welcome at this funky Jewish Ghetto salon that shares its intimate square with the delightful Fountain of the Turtles. (Tartaruga is Italian for “turtle”; hence the bar’s play-on-words name.) The dark but colorful room is like something out of Venice’s Carnevale and is filled with plush old divans you can sink into for a few hours. (Rabble-rousing old-timers prefer to drink outside on the piazza.) Wine and beer choices are limited, but barman Cristina (in Italy, even female bartenders are called barmen) makes one hell of a stiff, beautifully balanced cocktail; and if she likes you, she’s generous with the top-offs.

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