A place where sipping prosecco from a plastic cup somehow feels elegant and sophisticated, Venice plays by its own set of rules. The romantic, spellbinding city is home to countless welcoming bars that have a fascinating old-world vibe that you won’t be able to resist.
Grand Canal, the biggest and most famous canal in Venice, is lined by many mature and refined bars, most of them owned by five-star hotels. Here you can relax and enjoy an Aperol Spritz while watching the chaos of the bustling canal from a suitably quiet distance.
While the top bars in Venice along the main canal are great, it’s the tiny ones tucked away in among the labyrinthine streets that will truly make you fall in love with Venice’s bar culture. Some of these bars are so small that there’s only room for a handful of drinkers inside. The rest spill out onto the streets, lounge on canal bridges, and perch on stone walls while drinking surprisingly cheap drinks for such a typically pricey city.
With such a great choice of tempting drinks to buy and cool bars to visit, it can be impossible to know where to begin. To help you out, we’ve put together a list of the absolute best canalside bars in Venice with dreamy views. Add these beautiful bars to your list of things to do in Venice, and you’re guaranteed to have a fantastic time bar hopping in one of the most enchanting cities in the world!
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16 Lovely Canalside Bars in Venice, Italy
1. Watch the Sunset at Osteria da Moro
Set on one of Venice’s many minute islands, Osteria da Moro faces the mainland and also enjoys wonderful views of the Dolomites. Its unique position makes it one of the best bars in Venice from which to watch one of the most spectacular sunsets you’ll ever see in your life.
Perched on the waterfront, this traditional bar may look a bit old and worn on the outside, but that’s what makes it special. Hungry, thirsty locals have been flocking to this humble hotspot for decades, eager to dive into their substantial sandwiches and take their pick from their astounding local wine collection.
While there is a huge window that offers unobstructed views of the canal, it’s standing room only inside. But that doesn’t matter. Tables for various group sizes are dotted in front of the bar. And if you can’t get a seat, you can always stand and sip as you take in the sunset.
2. Sip the Original Bellini at Harry’s Bar
You’ve got to make time to visit Harry’s Bar while you’re in Venice. This legendary place on the Grand Canal has been running since 1931 and is famously the spot where the incredibly addictive Bellini was invented.
Step inside, and you’ll feel like you’ve gone back in time. Everything in this place, from the warm lighting to the mahogany bar, has a nostalgic feel from Europe’s classic cafe culture. It’s the perfect place to go when you need to take a break and want to surround yourself with the simpler things in life.
You won’t find crafty mixologists and creative cocktails here. Instead, you’ll be presented with stunning views of the Grand Canal and classic drinks, such as negronis and martinis. All kinds of VIPs have visited this bar over the decades, from painters and writers to kings and queens. So be sure to take a look around when you visit. You never know who you may be sitting next to!
3. Soak Up the Views at Terrazza Danieli
Think of the top places to watch gondolas gently float along the canal, and the best rooftop bars in Venice probably don’t come to mind. But Terrazza Danieli breaks the mold, offering some of the most magnificent canal views you’ll ever see during your trip.
Enjoying a lofty location on Hotel Danieli’s rooftop, this remarkable bar offers a dramatic 180° view of the city. From most of the graceful tables, you can easily spot the Doge’s Palace, Giardini, and the island of San Giorgio. Visit just before sunset, and you’ll be treated to a natural light show as the sky becomes illuminated with every possible shade of yellow, orange, and red.
Here you can indulge in a top-end selection of local wines and the finest champagne money can buy. If you’re feeling hungry, take a look at the menu. You’ll find a tempting selection of gourmet Italian dishes, plus house-made pizzas, pastas, and tasting menus. This historic hotspot is a pretty upmarket place, so make sure you wear your finest outfit.
4. Snack on Cicchetti at Al Timon
A must-visit for foodies, Al Timon is the perfect place to visit however hungry you’re feeling. If you’re ravenous, you’ll want to devour their decadent steak menu, laden with the very finest cuts and cooked by experts who somehow manage to do it perfectly every single time.
If that sounds a bit much for you, the lavish cicchetti may win you over. These bite-sized Venetian snacks and finger foods taste even better than they look. Better still, because this place is so popular, the cicchetti sell out fast, and fresh batches are continuously made and served throughout the day.
You don’t have to dine to come here. If you simply fancy a glass of bubbles or a craft beer, you can order your drink and enjoy it while dangling your legs over the peaceful canal. Don’t worry if you’re on a small budget. The bar offers a different selection of local Italian wines by the glass for reduced prices.
5. Keep it Simple at El Chioschetto
Sometimes simple is best, and this is definitely true when it comes to Venice nightlife. This casual venue is tiny on the inside, but you’ll have no interest in sitting indoors when you see the view outside anyway. The area in front of the bar is scattered with tables and chairs, all of which have remarkable views of the Grand Canal.
Visit during the day for the chance to enjoy all kinds of Spritz while people-watching in one of the busiest parts of the city. Or come in the early evening and treat your palate to a glass of local wine while the sun dips into the horizon and the sky takes on a burning orange hue.
Standing out from the crowd, El Chioschetto is one of the few bars in the area that boasts live music. There’s no set schedule, so pop by during your trip and see if anything is advertised for that evening.
6. Celebrate Happy Hour at Taverna al Remer
Undoubtedly one of Venice’s best-kept secrets, Taverna al Remer feels almost impossible to find. But if you’ve got the patience to traverse the city’s network of alleyways and canals, you’ll be rewarded with one of the most special and clandestine bars in Venice.
Hidden away down a discrete passageway that opens up into a cute courtyard leading to a jetty that stretches into a canal, this secret gem is developing a solid reputation for its excellent happy hours. Pop in after a long day of sightseeing and try a perfectly blended Campari Spritz. You’ll soon feel so at home and relaxed that you’ll find yourself ordering dinner and spending the entire evening there.
Take a look around, and you’ll see exclusive bottles of prosecco chilling in ice buckets. If you prefer something with a little less fizz, there’s a staggering collection of excellent Italian wines in the cellar just waiting for you to try them.
7. Enjoy the Last of the Sunshine at Osteria Bancogiro
Osteria Bancogiro has a fascinating history that makes it one of the coolest Venice wine bars. Centuries ago, the archway close to the venue was where rich Venetians ordered their messengers to collect their credits and pay off their debts, so they didn’t have to do it themselves. Today, it’s a gorgeous wine bar with a sun-kissed outdoor terrace where you can watch the world go by as you take it easy.
Not only that, but the bar also boasts an incredible location. You’ll find Osteria Bancogiro in the very heart of ancient Venice, just steps away from the famous Rialto Bridge. If you can manage to tear your eyes away from the stunning view, you’ll discover that the food and drinks served here are real works of art.
Impeccable attention to detail is paid to everything served to customers here. You won’t know what to take pictures of – the stunning view, your plate, or your glass!
8. Discover Italian Craft Beers at Il Santo Bevitore
Looking for somewhere peaceful where you can try a beer you’ve never had before? Seek out Il Santo Bevitore. Tucked away in a back street on the Cannaregio canal, this unassuming spot is usually bustling with locals keen to try the new beer that’s just come in.
If you don’t mind jostling a few people for one of the old bar stools, you’ll find yourself sipping a truly one-of-a-kind beer while taking in the kitschy, nostalgic decor. If you’d rather enjoy the view while you drink (that’s why you’re here, after all!), there are plenty of barrels outside where you can place your beer while chatting with your travel buddies and making plans for tomorrow.
There’s a fantastic selection of Belgian and Italian craft beers on tap, plus top-quality rotating guest beers. There are usually more than 20 different types to choose from at any one time. If beer isn’t your thing, opt for a gin and tonic. Perfectly balanced, these drinks are made with the bar’s very own gin and are enhanced with all kinds of creative garnishes.
9. Stay Within Budget at Ombra del Leone
Drinks in Venice don’t have to cost you a small fortune. There are plenty of budget-friendly places if you know where to go. Ombra del Leone offers the perfect balance of affordability and wow value.
When you first look at the bar-restaurant, you’ll think it costs a fortune. It’s located far away from the hustle and bustle of the city, with a stunning outdoor terrace that rewards guests with a direct view of the Grand Canal. But as it’s not owned by a fancy hotel, the prices are a lot more realistic than you’ll find at most other bars along the main strip.
Make yourself comfy at one of the many tables and soak in the view of San Giorgio, Punta della Dogana, and Chiesa della Salute. There’s a fantastic selection of local wines and cocktails available. Or, if you fancy something a bit more substantial, you’ll be amazed at the creative pasta and innovative seafood dishes on offer.
10. Step Back in Time at Al Bottegon
Al Bottegon is the place where all your dreams about a sepia-hued 1950s Venice come to life. This traditional Venetian bar looks exactly the same as it did 70 years. But instead of appearing old and weathered, the bar has a unique charm and welcomes you like an old friend.
You’ll find the nostalgic bar lining one of the quietest canals, so you can sip your Spritz and lose yourself in the mesmerizing movement of the water. Sitting in this bar really does feel like you’ve gone back in time, way before mass tourism hit Venice.
Poke your head inside, and you’ll spot a huge glass counter filled with every kind of cicchetti you could possibly imagine. They’re so tempting that you won’t be able to say no – even if you’ve just finished lunch! To complement the nibbles, there’s an incredible wine cellar absolutely brimming with different bottles. There’s usually a special served each day that’s always worth trying.
11. Say ‘Cheers!’ with a Craft Beer at Birreria Zanon
Venice is well-known for its wine, prosecco, and Spritz. So what do you do if you’re in the mood for a beer? You head for Birreria Zanon, that’s what!
Tucked away in Cannaregio, this tiny canalside bar is as far off the beaten track as you can get. But don’t worry about being alone. It’s a hugely popular place to get drinks in Venice among cool young Venetians who flock there in groups to cross more unique craft beers off their to-drink list.
There’s a staggering selection of local and international craft brews available on tap at any one time, plus a great choice of guest ales you’ve definitely never heard of. If beer’s not your thing, there’s a decent selection of red, white, and rosé wines, as well as prosecco and a few Spritz.
If you’re having such a great time that you don’t want to move on for lunch or dinner, you don’t have to. There’s a fantastic selection of cicchetti and loaded sandwiches that will keep you full for hours.
12. Unleash Your Inner Wine Lover at Vino Vero
It’s almost impossible to choose the best wine bars in Venice simply because there are so many of them! If you find yourself in the Cannaregio area, make an effort to find Vino Vero.
This chic bar is so small that you could easily mistake it for a store. But don’t let its minuscule size fool you. Visitors perch themselves on the wooden windowsill and mingle among the shelves of ancient bottles as they sip.
But the reason you’re here is to admire the canal view, so head outside and make use of the handy table that juts out of the window. You won’t find any cocktails, Spritz, or beers here. Instead, you’ll find an extensive array of wines available by the bottle and glass.
The people behind the counter are incredibly knowledgeable about wines. So if you’re in the mood to try something new or you’re not really into wine, this is the place to experiment. Tell the staff the flavors and drinks you enjoy, and they’ll make the perfect palate-pleasing suggestion.
13. Surround Yourself with Luxury at Bar Longhi
If you’re celebrating a special occasion or you just feel like splashing out, make plans to visit Bar Longhi. One of the most iconic and exclusive bars in Venice, this VIP hotspot is hidden away from prying eyes inside the Gritti Palace Hotel.
Step inside, and you won’t believe what you see. Unashamed Venetian grandeur is everywhere you look, from the original 18th-century works of art on the wall to the sparkling Murano glass chandeliers on the ceiling. There’s even a stunning painting created by Venetian artist Pietro Longhi, the person the bar is named after.
Outside you’ll find a romantic terrace that’s so close to the canal you could literally dip your fingers in it if your arms were long enough. With white tablecloths, candlelight, and soft music, Bar Longhi is the perfect place to impress your date – just know that everything is expensive here.
So skip the wine, prosecco, and beer and make your trip worth it by ordering one of the classic Italian cocktails. Just try not to gasp when you get your bill.
14. Eat Your Way Through Venice at Ae Bricoe
A lot of the bars in the Fondamenta della Misericordia in Cannaregio are a bit on the touristy side, but Ae Bricoe is the exception. This tiny spot is run by three siblings who dish up all kinds of mouthwatering cicchetti and sandwiches stuffed with so much filling they’re almost the size of your head!
The inside of the bar can be a little overwhelming. You’ll find bric-a-brac, trinkets, and souvenirs everywhere you look. The decor is certainly busy, but it gives the place a welcoming, homey charm. It also gives you plenty to talk about if the conversation runs dry.
For something a bit more minimalist, head outside and sit by the canal. Here you can try all kinds of local wines, craft beers, and Spritz while you nibble on the homemade snacks. We recommend the porchetta, which is made by a friend of the family. As an added bonus, this place is open for breakfast, making it an excellent port of call first thing in the morning.
15. Order a Work of Art at Il Mercante
Il Mercante is considered to be the best cocktail bar in Venice for so many reasons. It boasts a prestigious location, right by the magnificent Basilica dei Frari, and the name literally translates as “The Merchant,” referring to Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice.
While many people come to admire the gorgeous decor, sit by the peaceful canal, and enjoy the impeccable service, it’s the cocktails that really draw the crowds. Take a look at the menu, and you’ll find all the classics (think Spritz and Bellinis) rubbing shoulders with innovative creations, such as the N20spresso Martini, Buttery Charger, and Amaz-on fire.
Whatever you order, you’ll definitely want to snap a pic of it before you sip. Not only are the cocktails perfectly balanced when it comes to flavor, but they really do look like works of art. Delicate flower petals, beautiful dried fruit, and locally-sourced herbs turn a standard cocktail into a masterpiece.
16. Try Loads of Different Wines by the Glass at Cantinone già Schiavi
They say if you want to find a great place to go, look for where the line is the longest. Follow the line in Venice, and you’ll find yourself at the entrance to Cantinone già Schiavi. This amazing wine bar offers one of the most comprehensive selections of wine by the glass you’ll find anywhere in the city.
Cantinone già Schiavi also functions as a wine shop. So you can wander around, taking in the floor-to-ceiling wine displays while sipping on your newest discovery. There’s no seating available here, but don’t let that put you off. After you’ve had a browse, step outside and enjoy the warm Venetian air while watching the canal scene before you.
If you like something to nibble with your wine, take a look at the cicchetti selection. Here you’ll find freshly-baked baguette slices topped with all kinds of gourmet deli meats, Italian cheeses, and even edible flowers tempting you.
There you have it! The 16 best canalside bars in Venice. Where’s your favorite place to grab drinks in Venice?
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