Florence, the capital of Tuscany and epicenter of the Italian Renaissance, boasts many excellent bars. Locale Firenze (translated in English as "Local Florence") is one such cocktail bar that pairs modern mixology with centuries-old surroundings.
Housed in the historic Concini Palace, which dates back to the 1500s, the foundation of the building is thought to date back even further to ancient Roman times.
It was once the home of Bartolomeo Concini, an influential diplomat whose family married into the all-powerful Medici family.
Opened in 2015 by a young Italian chef, Locale Firenze features a gorgeous atrium bar in the former palace courtyard where carriages would pick up and drop off visitors.
A green wall of plants helps evoke the feeling of being in a garden. There's also a restaurant with several beautiful dining rooms serving modern cuisine.
In 2021, Local Firenze ranked #51 on The World's 50 Best Bars list.
I arrived at about 8:40 p.m., after eating dinner at another bar during aperitivo time.
I was able to grab a red-upholstered seat under the dim lights and glass roof of the bar just as a party of two departed.
Once their empty glasses were cleared, I was given a glass of water, some snacks, and a distinctive yellow cocktail menu.
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After perusing Locale Firenze's drink menu and talking with the English-speaking bartender about my preferences, I splurged on the Sorbetto di Ruggero, a gin cocktail with Violetta, pink grapefruit, kumquat, tonic, and lime.
A green leaf was used as a garnish and a spoon for some little egg-like balls. It was a light, refreshing, and playful citrus cocktail, and just what I like.
Additional snacks and a complimentary Cosmopolitan shooter were served when I asked for the check. My drink cost $22 (€20).
Speaking of the check, I couldn't help but notice the name of the cocktail on it was "Cock Ruggero," which led to a quick Google search and the discovery that it's the name of an Italian man who starred in adult films.
I wondered if all the cocktails had alternative names on the check? Or did I get lucky?
Locale Firenze is pricey, but given the ambiance and fantastic cocktails and one of Florence's best bars, I'd happily go back for more.
Visit Locale Firenze
- Address: Via delle Seggiole, 12/red, 50122 Florence, Italy
- Hours: Daily, 7:30 p.m. to 2 a.m.
- Dress Code: Nothing specific.
- Reservations: Recommended for the restaurant, made via the website.
Read an interview with Matteo Di Ienno, Local Florence's Bar Manager.