Dec 16, 2019

What makes a good Italian coffee bar good?



Given how picky and demanding Italians can be regarding food, furiously sending back a dish if the carbonara has even a hint of heavy cream, it's curious how patient they are when it comes to espresso, sometimes settling for pretty awful brews. Why is that?

Are we Italians just impatient?
Have we gone too long without heavy-duty caffeine, so anything will do?
Do we not want to make a fuss, since a bar is far more public and intimate than a restaurant?
Maybe it's steadfast loyalty to our neighborhood barista—a loyalty that can be deep and wide and sometimes last decades.

Romantic notions aside, no one should ever settle for a bar that fails to cut it, whether because the coffee is mediocre or the morning pastry too dry. A bar holds a crucially important, practical, and cultural role in daily life—in that way at least kin to an American "watering hole." If your local bartender can't mix drinks, there's trouble in Dodge.

But how exactly do you go about rating an Italian bar? What makes a good bar good?

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