Salotto 42, an aperitif in front of the temple

A book-bar with fresh new takes on classic cocktails, open from morning to night. An innovative concept in the heart of Rome

The view overlooking the Temple of Adrian from Sa

The view overlooking the Temple of Adrian from Salotto 42, Piazza di Pietra 42, Rome, tel. +39066785804, open from 10.30 a.m. to 2 a.m. (photo Salotto 42)

When you walk down the centre of Rome, finding beautiful corners preserved from the assault of large groups of flag-bearing tourists with a camera attached to their neck is not easy. However, if you lose your way in the narrow streets behind the Colonna Traiana you might happen to find the beautiful Piazza Pietra, with the imposing temple of Adrian. Go there in the evening, when the amber lights shine over the colonnade; if you turn and look back, you’ll see a small entrance surmounted by a majestic bougainvillea.

This is Salotto 42, a place whose name could not be more appropriate. Born in 2004 as a bookshop, today it’s a real sitting room, a meeting point for trendy Romans, and young elegant people passionate about lifestyle, design and travel. It’s just one room with a low ceiling a cappella, poufs and velvet sofas, fabrics embroidered in the shades and geometries of Etro and Missoni and books on luxury, fashion and architecture. Don’t expect the avantgarde of contemporary mixology because this is not the goal; instead, they want to create an aesthetically beautiful place where sitting with a glass of wine will make one feel charmed.

Open from mid-morning to late at night, it’s perfect for a lunch sitting around the only table outside in front of the temple, or for an aperitif without paying attention to the passing of time. The air is sparkling, there’s people always coming and going, the list of cocktails is easy to interpret, and the service is young. There are some nice nibbles to pair to the drink to which one can add platters of food and other snacks. Salotto 42 recalls a concept store even though its spaces and elements are not fully those of a concept store; it’s ideal for someone travelling by himself who doesn’t want to feel alone, but surrounded by people.

If you don’t have the chance to visit the Roman branch, there’s one also in Copenhagen with a much larger location, also in a lounge-living style, with a large bar and large windows. But the magic of the Roman streets, as we know, is priceless, not to mention when in spring you can sip a glass of Claude Cazals right from the square, far from the crowds and with antiquity looking at you.

The wine list comprises different labels. The drinks include some fresh and light interpretations of spritz and classic Italian aperitifs; a safe port for some evergreen cocktails such as Cocktail Martini or Margarita. The selection of spirits focuses on the most popular labels, including some niche products or producers, thus offering a more than satisfying range for those who look for a well-executed classic. 
Salotto 42 is the contemporary place you don’t expect in the capital, far from the attentions of mixologists and gourmet chefs, without a definite brand. Its eclectic offer is perfectly matched by the desire to browse through Manolo Blanik’s book while sipping a Bloody Mary at sunset. The dolce vita continues.

Translated into English by Slawka G. Scarso