Since 2000, Gambero Rosso’s yearly “Bar d’Italia” guide is a vade-mecum for gourmets seeking the best bars in Italy, where ‘bar’ is a multi-functional establishment. In the morning it is a coffee shop, with an increasingly wide and differentiated choice of coffees, cappuccinos and hot drinks, to accompany assorted pastries and breakfast cakes. At lunch time, it offers delicious, light, and quick, hot and cold dishes, salads, and gourmet sandwiches, to be consumed between work commitments. In the afternoon it goes back to be a coffee shop, but also a tea room, pastry shop, and, sometimes, also ice cream parlor. The last change of hat takes place in the evenings, when it turns into a cocktail bar to give life to one of the most appreciated Italian traditions, the aperitif, with amazing recipes turned into morsels and signature drinks, developed according to the rules of contemporary mixology.

The guide lists more than 1300 bars, with different formats, custom-made formulas, and capable of combining a good mix of offers. During the last 18 years, the ‘Beans’ (coffee quality prize) and the ‘Cups’ (the overall rating of the venue including the food offer) have become coveted awards as much as the Gambero Rosso’s ‘Forks’, ‘Hats’ and ‘Stars’ are for restaurants. There are also special prizes for the best breakfasts in Italy and for the ‘Stars’, bars that obtain three Beans and three Cups for at least ten consecutive years.
Gambero Rosso awards also special prizes for the Best Bar of the Year, in partnership with illy, which this year has been won by 300mila Lounge in Lecce for for “the innovative entrepreneurial vision, the quality of the overall offer of mixology, research on raw materials and sensitivity to social issues and environmental sustainability.”

Ilona Catani Scarlett

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