7 Italian Aperitivos to Head to This Summer
When the day winds down and the clock strikes 5pm, it’s time to ditch the computer in favor of a spritzer or two over some delicious finger food. Fill up on crostini, cheese and charcuterie at these top Italian aperitivo deals in town.
Bubbly aperol spritz is available in unlimited quantities this summer at neighborhood Italian restaurant Pirata, alongside a rustic spread of tasty Italian bites. For $180, tuck into glass after glass of the golden liquid fuel, topped up with soda and citrus. There's no better accompaniment than this easy-to-down spritzer to pair with Pirata's home-style menu of classic Italian dishes, including fresh pasta, pizza, bruschette and charcuterie.
Fri-Sun 5-7:30pm. $180 free-flow. 30/F, 239 Hennessy Rd., Wan Chai, 2887-0270.
For an elegant aperitivo, head to the beautifully appointed bar at The Langham, an ode to the nostalgic romance of the Art Deco era, with modern touches and a killer bar menu to match. Artesian specializes in bourbon and gin cocktails, but for aperitivo hour, it’s all about a refreshing white wine spritzer or negroni as you munch on complimentary homemade artisan bread, salami, prosciutto, imported cheeses, and chef Pedro Samper’s signature “pseudo” tomato which hides an unexpected surprise.
Daily 6-8pm. Free with beverage purchase. The Langham, 8 Peking Rd., Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, 2375-1133.
A long-standing favorite for early evening grazing, Isobar (the upstairs bar of Italian restaurant Isola) boasts harbor views, an alfresco terrace for sunny day snacking, and moreish Italian bites that could double down as a light dinner. From 3-8pm, enjoy discounted cocktails—such as a pesto martini with gin, lemon juice, basil and pine nut ($78)—and nibble away on calamari, risotto balls and Italian sausage pizzas under a patio umbrella as Isobar’s resident DJ spins tunes into the evening.
Sat-Wed 3-8 pm. Discounted drinks. Shop 4011, 4/F, IFC Mall, 8 Finance St., Central, 2382-2841.
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Embodying the bustling vivacity of an Italian train station café, there’s no better SoHo spot than Stazione Novella for an afternoon aperitif, with its range of premium Italian liquors, hanging chianti bottles, and custom-made train flip clock displaying departure times and destinations (how’s that for authenticity?). From 5-7pm, kick back with an aperol spritz ($88, $48 on Mondays during “Summer of Spritz”) and unlimited canapés including Parma ham, asparagus and truffle oil bruschette, Parmesan cheese, margherita pizza and frittatas.
Mon-Sat 5-7pm. Free with drink. 52-56 Staunton St., Central, 2559-0559.
If you weren’t coming already for their fantastic Neapolitan-style pizzas, the extended aperitivo hour at Osteria Felice is reason enough to stop by this friendly trattoria. The food here speaks for itself—a bountiful spread of pristine Italian ingredients, seasoned and prepared with contemporary touches to let the fresh produce shine. Expect the bar bites to be just as well-executed as the mains, with a tempting selection of Parma ham, mozzarella and tomato, artichokes, ricotta crostini and smoked salmon quiches to pair with wine or bubbles.
Buy 1, get 1 on select drinks, plus free bar bites. Mon-Fri 5-8pm; Sat-Sun 3-8pm. Shop 16-21, G/F, Hutchison House, Harcourt Rd., Central, 2516-6166.
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8 1/2 Otto e Mezzo
Some of the best bartenders in town are to be found at three-Michelin-starred institution 8 1/2 Otto e Mezzo, and while most of us won’t be booking a table for weeknight dinner, free bar bites at happy hour make this fine dining institution an accessible stop for an Italian-style aperitif. Try the flawless drink concotions, such as The Optimist with bacardi, ginger syrup, honey water and basil ($150); and help yourself to chef Umberto Bombana’s tasty palate teasers including octopus with artichoke, burrata with cherry tomatoes and porcini mushroom risotto.
Mon-Sat 5-8pm. Free with drink. Shop 202, Landmark Alexandra, 18 Chater Rd., Central, 2537-8859.
If it's the "Italian way" to have several cocktails before dinner is served, then we'll take two more, please. Neighborhood bar and eatery NOM is one of the best spots to enjoy a true slice of authentic Italian culture... or at least, the part where you stuff your face with unlimited carbs and many, many drinks between the hours of dusk and nightfall. Stop by on Tuesdays to indulge in free-flow pizza, meatballs and pasta with the purchase of a drink between 6:30-9pm, or take advantage of Spritz and Slider nights the rest of the week, where you can enjoy a spritz cocktail and a wagyu beef slider for just $88 (6-8:30pm, Mon, Wed-Fri).
1-5 Elgin St., Central, 2540-7988.