Rome Tips: NightLife In Rome

Rome has a whole lot to offer in this section. Romans and tourists alike love to hang out seven days a week and as there is no open container law, you’ll find people hanging out in piazzas bar-hopping all night! 

Testaccio is the club zone of Rome. Nothing much happens before midnight so after midnight Testaccio kicks into action as clubbers start arriving from different parts of the city. It’s a very mixed crowd, and what you find totally depends on where you choose to go…

Here is a list of a few places to rave in Rome or to keep away from…

Akab 
Via di Monte Testaccio, 69 (06 578 2390)
Bus to Via Marmorata or Via Galvani.
Open 10pm-4am Wed-Sat.  depending on event
No credit cards. 

This ’80s-style designer-vibe venue in Testaccio hosts live acts followed by soul, dance, R&R, house and R&B, depending on the band or the evening. Down in the cellar is the area they call the Cave. Make friends with the bouncers and you might avoid the queue.

Alien
Via Velletri, 13-19 (06 841 2212)
Bus to Piazza Fiume. Open Sept-May 11pm-4am Tue-Sat; June-July 11pm-4am Fri, Sat. . Credit AmEx, DC, EC, MC, V. 

This big, flashy disco comes with all the trimmings: strobes, scantily-clad dancers on the bar, two rooms with different DJs … but music tends to be uninspired house, trance and garage. There are sometimes experimental evenings, when musicians play along with the DJ. The crowd are mainly under-25s; there’s also a cringeworthy ‘VIP room’, a serious turn-off.

Alpheus
Via del Commercio, 36 (06 574 7826)
Metro Piramide/bus to Via Ostiense. Open Sept-June 10pm-4.30am Tue-Sun; July, Aug 10pm-4.30am Fri, Sat. Credit AmEx. 

Right in front of a disused gasworks, this spacious multi-room venue caters for a variety of live bands, theatre and cabaret, plus DJs every night. The central pink bar, with its kitsch fountain and sculpture, unfortunately matches the rest of the club’s decor cheesy to say the least. Students get in free on Wednesdays. Also home to the Mucca Assassina gay nights on Fridays.

Anima
Via Santa Maria dell’Anima, 57 (06 686 4021)
Bus to Corso Vittorio Emanuele or Corso del Rinascimento. Open Sept-June 10.30pm-4am Tue-Sun. No credit cards. 

Wacky décor and a central location by Piazza Navona make Anima worth a pitstop. It’s more bar than disco, but the music can be good, varying from hip hop to house, drum’n’bass and jungle.

B-Side
Via degli Stradivari (06 588 3842)
Bus to Piazza Ponte Testaccio or Via Ettore Rolli. Open 11pm-3am Thur-Sat.  No credit cards. 

A new location for this once-trendy club. The music remains the same, however: ‘black’, house and funky.

Black Out 
Via Saturnia, 18 (06 7049 6791)
Metro Re di Roma/bus to Piazza Tuscolo. Open Sept-June 10pm-4am Thur-Sat;  No credit cards.

Wheelchair access.
Brit pop, rock, grunge and Indie music are the speciality, with the odd goth track thrown in for good measure, in this long-running stawart of the Rome club scene.

Brancaleone 
Via Levanna, 11 (06 8200 0959)
Bus to Piazza Sempione. Open 10.30pm-5.00am Thur-Sun.  No credit cards. 

One of the best run centri sociali, boasting a cinema, recording studio and library, but, best of all, a decent bar, a quality stage for concerts and some of the best amplification to be found amongst centri. Friday nights are the most popular; techno, drum’n’bass and big beat are what you’ll hear during the session, known simply as Agatha. Live acts and guest DJ sets on a regular basis.

Cave
Via di Monte Testaccio, 68 (06 578 2390)
Bus to Via Marmorata or Via Galvani. Open Oct-June 10pm-3am Mon-Sat. July-Sept 10pm-3am Wed-Sat  No credit cards 

Beneath Akab, this offers a cool cave downstairs, a big bar upstairs and interesting music ranging from hip hop to ethno-jazz. A venue that’s worth a visit.

Circolo degli Artisti
Via Casilina Vecchia, 42 (06 7030 5684)
Bus to Via Casilina or Piazza D. Pigneto. Open 9pm-3am Tue-Sun.  three-month membership card. No credit cards. Wheelchair access. 

Big new venue for a long-established centro sociale (the old club was knocked down to make way for an indoor market) which mixes live acts with DJs. Fridays are ‘black’ and rock; Saturdays tend towards disco from the 70’s to the 90’s.

DDT 
Via dei Sabelli, 2 (06 495 8338)
Bus or tram to Piazzale Verano
Open 10.30pm-3am Tue-Sat.  three-month membership card. No credit cards. Wheelchair access. 

One of the few late-night venues in San Lorenzo. A long underground bar and disco, playing anything from Big Beat to Latin, with a side-order of rock.

Dome Rock Cafè
Via D Fontana, 18 (06 7045 2436)
Bus or tram to Piazza San Giovanni. Open Sept-June 10pm-3am daily. Admission free. No credit cards.

In the shadow of San Giovanni in Laterano, this new and trendy discobar has built a good reputation in a short time. Live acts every week: music ranges from hip hop to indie via acid jazz – pot luck, really, but a good selection of beer and a lively atmosphere.

Dub Club 
Via dei Funari, 21A (06 6880 5024)
Bus to Piazza Venezia or Via del Teatro di Marcello. Open 11.30pm-4am.  No credit cards.  Wheelchair access. 

Formerly occupied by B-Side and formerly very trendy, this small, smoky, sweaty discobar plays mainly funk, ‘black’, R&B, house and of course, dub. The air conditioning helps in summer.

Ex-Magazzini
Via Magazzini Generali, 8 bis (06 575 8040)
Bus to Via Ostiense. Open 9pm-4.30am daily.  No credit cards. 

Trendy discobar with DJs playing rock, electro, big beat and/or jungle. There’s a small stage downstairs for live acts, and the upstairs bar has a glass panel in the floor, so you can watch the throng dancing below you (and they watch you watching themä).

Forte Prenestino 
Via Delpino (06 2180 7855)
Bus/tram to Via Prenestina. Open virtually always; call first.  No credit cards. 

If you’re looking for something different then this centro sociale in a nineteenth-century fortress simply has to be seen. From the dry moat and the maze of tunnels to the underground ‘cathedral’, it’s a part of Rome rarely seen by tourists. Try Friday and Saturday for dancing, when you’ll probably hear reggae, dub and/or drum’n’bass. Concerts are often held in the two courtyards in summer. There’s an international arts festival in spring, and a Festa del Non-Lavoro (Non-Labour Day) celebration each 1 May.

Gender 
Via Faleria, 9 (06 702 5829)
Metro San Giovanni/bus to Via Appia Nuova. Open 11pm-4am Tue-Sun. Closed one week Aug

Caligula might have enjoyed himself here. Gender is the only real fetish club in Rome – a rubber-clad dungeon with all mod cons, including private cabins for you and your choice of companion. Almost too seedy for words and not for the faint-hearted; also, not the prices.

Gilda 
Via Mario de’ Fiori, 97 (06 678 4838)
Metro Spagna/bus to Piazza San Silvestro. Open Sept-June 11pm-4am Tue-Sun.  Credit AmEx, DC, EC, MC, V. 

Don’t even think about it unless you are (1) an ageing film star, (2) a politician of the deeply slimy variety or (3) very rich/drunk/stupid. All silicone and no soul, Gilda is a dame no one should touch even with a pair of sterilized tongs.

Goa 
Via Libetta, 13 (06 574 8277)
Metro Garbatella/bus to Via Ostiense. Open 11pm-4am Tue-Sat. . Credit AmEx, DC, EC, MC, V. Wheelchair access. 

Ethnically-inspired club – incense, exotic artefacts, slide projections and those things you plug yourself into to chill out. Currently among Rome’s trendiest. Music is hip hop via tribal to house, courtesy of Rome’s DJ star Giancarlino.

Hang-out 
Via Ostiense, 131 (06 578 3146)
Metro Garbatella/bus to Via Ostiense. Open 9pm-2am Tue-Sun.  No credit cards. Wheelchair access. 

Discobar serving food in the evening; it gets funky later with DJs playing ‘black’, R’n’B and house.

L’Alibi 
Via di Monte Testaccio, 40/47 (06 574 3448)
Bus to Via Marmorata or Via Galvani. Open 11pm-4am Wed-Sun. . No credit cards. 

This gay club becomes more hetero-tolerant during summer months, when the glorious roof terrace is opened up. There’s live music upstairs, and generally a more mixed crowd: the basement has a great sound system, thumping out house hits and ’70s and ’80s classics.

Piper 
Via Tagliamento, 9 (06 841 4459)
Bus to Via Tagliamento or Corso Trieste. Open 11pm-4am Thur-Sat; 4-8pm Sun.  Credit AmEx, DC, EC, MC, V. 

A classic among Roman discos, this huge subterranean Saturday Night Fever-style venue launched many Italian pop stars of the ’60s, many of whom are still about and have an alarming tendency to return to their roots (now heavily dyed) at the Piper. Saturday and Sunday afternoon it hosts Fever sessions for teenagers. Saturday nights on the other hand are (at least for the moment) gay, and popular.

Qube 
Via di Portonaccio, 212 (06 438 1005)
Metro Tiburtina/bus to Via Tiburtina or Via di Portonaccio. Open 11pm-4am Thur-Sun. No credit cards. 

Hugely successful club with classic disco lights and three bars, plus second-floor chill-out room with sofas and pool tables. Thursday is student night.

Radio Londra 
Via di Monte Testaccio, 65b (06 575 0044)
Bus to Via Marmorata or Via Galvani. Open 9pm-3am Wed-Mon.  No credit cards. Wheelchair access. 

Listen to rock, blues and dance while you eat your chips and sandwiches. Live acts too.

Villaggio Globale 
Lungotevere Testaccio (06 5730 0329)
Bus to Lungotevere Testaccio or Piazza dell’Emporio. Open daily, times vary.  No credit cards. 

This collection of buildings and yards once used to be the municipal slaughterhouse, but now large sections of the bits that haven’t fallen down are occupied by one of Rome’s most active centri sociali. The central courtyard is used for concerts in summer. Around the edge are multi-lingual, multi-cultural activities of all descriptions.