Rasputin, a secret bar in Florence

Rasputin, a secret bar in Florence

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There is no doubt that prohibition awakens desire. Rasputin stands as a speakeasy: an exclusive bar behind closed doors, to which only a few are granted access. Indeed, all cities in the world have their secret bar. The speakeasy concept emerged in the first decades of the twentieth century in New York, in full swing of Prohibition. I’m not very fond of cocktails, as seeing a beautiful glass with just capacity for a cappuccino, priced 10 or 15 euros, from which one could only drink a sip almost as fast as a shot, makes me feel terribly upset. I prefer a jar of beer or a generous glass of wine, which despite the anxiety for drinking guarantees a prolonged delight. …

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Florence from above at Se·sto: exclusive ‘aperitivo’ with a view

Florence from above at Se·sto: exclusive ‘aperitivo’ with a view

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As E. M. Forster famous novel A Room With A View, the Se·sto restaurant and bar unique location on the rooftop floor at the luxury hotel The Westin Excelsior in Florence provides a scenic view over the Arno River to the whole city and the surrounding hills. In the kitchen, Chef Matteo Lorenzini has created a menu based on innovative Italian cuisine with an international touch. The proposals for lunch or dinner are Mediterranean dishes made with fresh seasonal products accompanied by a great variety of wines. Se·sto also offers a wide range of cocktails served on the terrace, where you can also enjoy an exclusive Italian aperitivo while looking at the sunset. The selection of music ranges from nu jazz to lounge emphasizing the outstanding ambiance.
Se·sto, The Westin Excelsior, Piazza Ognissanti 171, daily aperitif from 7 to 9 p.m. (€ 21). Walk-in policy, reservations not accepted

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La Cité: books, music, coffee and wine in the heart of San Frediano

La Cité: books, music, coffee and wine in the heart of San Frediano

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Books, art, wine and music. La Cité is defined as a polyvalent cultural space, responding to demands for the eclectic interacting of today. Since 2007, this two-storey café-bookshop of Borgo San Frediano (Oltrarno, Florence) has become a small cultural island, a city within the city itself. La Cité is just the antithesis of the classic bookstore-supermarket franchise and is described as a place of research and meeting, as well as a reading room, where cultural diversity and languages ​​are mixed. Their selection of texts is preferably of critical, independent and creative publications. Over the 5000 titles included in its catalogue one can find new and used books, newspapers and editorial oddities. Before sale browsing and reading books is allowed. In addition, each week, book presentations are organized with the presence of authors, critics, musicians and artists, as well as public debates on current affairs. Ideal spot for blind dates, too.
La Cité – Borgo San Frediano 20R, Florence. Open every day, from 9 to 2 a.m. On Sunday it opens at 3 p.m. – WIFI connection

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Arty cocktails at Antico Caffè del Moro in Florence

Arty cocktails at Antico Caffè del Moro in Florence

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Some venues of Florence became my favourites thanks to dating local guys. The Art Bar – Caffè degli Artisti – Antico Caffè del Moro is one of them. I believe locals are always the key to entering everyday life, anywhere. And, although those dates rarely succeeded, fortunately the places still endure. Despite usually crowded, it´s worth a visit just at Antico´s happy hour (6-9 p.m.), with fruit cocktails at 7 euros (10 euros after 9 p.m.). Customers range from American college students with their last generation iPhones, to gentlemen from the neighbourhood and residents in their early forties. Founded in 1926, it consists of a small room with ten round tables with candles, and the service (especially the girls) is charming. The buts? Cocktails sometimes look like fruit salads and the preparation of drinks takes its time.
Via del Moro 4 50123 Florence FI – open every day from 6:30 p.m. to 1 p.m. (Friday and Saturday until 2 p.m.)

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La Ménagère, as hipster as Florence could be

La Ménagère, as hipster as Florence could be

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La Ménagère is a sophisticated and cosy place in Florence expected otherwise in New York’s SoHo or NoHo. Everything inside seems perfect: the colour of the orchids, the arrangement of glasses, the glow of a piano that none plays, or the tone of the lighting. The comfortable facilities of this multipurpose space (restaurant, bar and coffee, flower and household shop) resemble a neat stage. So neat that, even though it is in front of my house, I only enter it on occasional dates. I still haven´t made up my mind on whether it fascinates or scares me. I am that kind of person. To me, in Florence traditional is better, so I rather prefer used and grooved premises, where the photos on the walls are really old and made by the owner. There, where objects and space are not the result of the careful work of an interior designer, but of some mime and sincere dedication of its owner. Imperfect places reflecting a dubious taste, becoming beautiful and, at the same time, enigmatic. In spite of it all, I have been told that La Ménagère is sure a good eat.
La Ménagère. Via De’ Ginori, 8/R, 50123 Florence FI, Italy

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