Saturday 3 July 2010

Ma Che Siete Venuti a Fa, Rome

"I sit, rudely hogging space at the tiny bar, surrounded by people coming in and asking for a taster. Most of them go on to order a glass. The barman has seen me making notes on the beers, and starts to offer me tasters too. The tasters keep coming, and as I make more notes, so he pours more beers. We're trapped in a Mexican stand-off of politeness. I've only had 4 hours sleep in the last 40, and pray for him to blink so I can slip out unnoticed. He blinks, but I miss my opportunity. This isn't going to end well.

"Glasses pass back and forth over my head, and everyone is happy. The bar is packed full, and people are calling their orders in from the street. If you want to drink outside, then your beer is dispensed in the ubiquitous flimsy plastic pint pot. This bar is simultaneously a local for hundreds, and a destination for thousands. The barman serves a couple of Aussies, who he recognises from a couple of days ago. He remembers what they had drunk, and makes a recommendation accordingly"


That's transcribed 'as is' from my notebook, written in the raucous exuberance of Ma' Che Siete. If Open Baladin is the temple to Italian craft beer, and Bar 4:20 is a similar sort of shrine to the best beers globally, then Ma' Che Siete is a spit and sawdust style stand-up boozer that just happens to offer a mix of great beers from all over the planet. It seems to do this without any pretension to greatness, but just in the spirit that great beer is a right, not a privilege.


  1. Hi there, seems I left Rome the day you arrived. Glad to read you enjoyed what could probably be the beer nirvana here in Italy.

  2. This is what blogging is for, reportage from the front lines of beer, the mind boggles to think what Joyce (James that is not Grenfall) of Hemingway would have done with it (signed up to the Huffington Post probably)

  3. Leo - I hope you had as good a beery time as I did.

    Adrian - too kind.

  4. Maybe next time do it in the present tense to give a feeling of immediacy ;-))

  5. Fantastic. I'm glowing green with jealousy of your updates - sounds like a great trip. Rome is now top of my must-visit list.

  6. Will be heading to Italy in May 2011 for 2 weeks. I'd love to know where to go for good/great beer. Rome/Florence/Venice/Lake Como. Wife is a wine drinker and I'm a brewer/beer drinker.

  7. Bryce - the main problem with the places that I've mentioned is that they are so pro-beer that they do so at the exclusion of wine. My advice would be to use either or as a starting point for seeking out great beer in those these cities.


Sorry about the word verification - the blog was getting spammed to bits.