I was talking about mojitos a few nights ago with my friend [X] and ever since I’d been craving one, so yesterday after work I decided to celebrate the weekend and grab what I consider to be the best in town. Of course I am talking about Freni e Frizioni which is a pretty well known place in Trastevere for a young and arty crowd. There’s normally a mixing of locals and travelers, who are probably drawn to the place by everyone hanging out in the square outside. Freni e Frizioni translates to “Breaks and Clutches” because the space used to be an old mechanics shop. They’re known for their mojitos, which you can see right away if you stop and watch the fact that ever other drink the barmen make seems to be one. I know they’re more popular in the US now, but until I lived in Italy for the first time in 2001, I’d never heard of a mojito. Now I’ve had some good and some bad, but you always remember where you get a good one and this is definitely the place to go. I think it’s a mix of the good mojito and the decent aperitivo buffet (another reason why the place is packed) that comes “free” with the price of your 8 euro cocktail. For years they had the same bartenders, a special standout for me being the blond Italian (and I think maybe have Austrian?) with dreadlocks so I still see all over Rome. There are some new guys in now who don’t move quite as fast, so the cocktail making process is now a bit of an exercise in patience, but it’s still good.
Also be forewarned that it’s nearly impossible to find one of the few tables outside free and there is almost none inside, which is why everyone hangs out in the piazza outside. In this instance my friend Jess and I were lucky enough to find a space on the ledge to perch….but beware, if you see something free, pounce on it or someone will take it.
Oh, and you might be wondering about the plastic cups. The city is currently on a kick where they’re enforcing a “no glass” rule outside. It might be just for the summer, just in certain neighborhoods, or just on weekends (or all the above). They change it so many times I never know what I’m going to get, but it’s really the delicious drink inside that counts.
Freni e Frizioni
via del Politeama 4-6 (Trastevere)