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Caffè Letterario

Posted on Dec 7, 2008 | 8 comments

P and I happened upon this place last year and I’ve been back many times since, most recently this weekend. Located on the via Ostiense, this library/bar has something most places in Rome lacks…space. It’s huge by Rome standards and was designed by two young Roman architects, which shows in the decor and the number of design magazines and pamphlets available. The idea of a bar/library is actually something I see a lot here, which I never did at home. You can use your Rome library card to take out books and DVDs (which my friend M did this past weekend). The place is always packed and they normally have some sort of event happening, whether a jazz band, art opening, movie screening, or fashion show. I even saw a local tv program dedicated to youth and politics being filmed here. It’s definitely a very cool and laid back, young Italian crowd and you’ll often see people having their birthday parties here.

My one complaint—the bar service is horrible! I mean seriously horrible. There used to be one bartender who hustled, but everyone else is very slow, so expect a long wait for your drinks. I’m pretty sure the good bartender is gone because I haven’t seen him the last few times I’ve been there. It’s a shame because he was cute too; P tried to to give him my number by writing it on a black napkin, ha! So why do I still go back? Well, it’s worth the wait, as it’s actually difficult to find a place in Rome with a good ambience and good crowd like this. Also, you might get a kick out of watching the bartenders try to do tricks like they’re Tom Cruise in “Cocktail” but then drop the bottles (seriously, I saw it happen).

Caffè Letterario
via Ostiense 95


  1. Sounds like a cool place, and they seem to have very nice lamps!

  2. Ha ha , I cannot believe you mentioned the napkin you have given out my tricks:-)
    Glad you went back and had fun.

  3. Sarah – They do have nice lamps! Haha, all different shapes and sizes.

    Petu – I had to mention the napkin! That was one of the funniest things this whole year.

  4. It is such a shame when such a vibrant looking place does not share the smae vibrancy with the service. Great honest write up.

  5. Ciao Babooshka. Yeah, unfortunately a lot of places here feel they can get away with it because there are so few “cool” places to go, people (like myself) will come anyway. A friend told me the other night that a few years ago the drinks were much cheaper as well. Oh well, I still do like it there, but think it’s only fair to let people know what the real deal is.

  6. I have been meaning to check this place out for months. Thanks for the reminder.

  7. Glad to be of service! I’ll look for your review on your site 🙂

  8. Yeah you’re right this place has some big space, because formerly it was a garage, you can recognize it if you look ate the floor and at the walls and of course at the entrance.

    Unofortunately it’s quite expensive even if it is too cool so i go there sometimes!

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