The 10 best bars in Sicily, from beach huts to 17th-century crypts

Anche gli Angeli, Sicily
Anche gli Angeli is set in a 17th-century crypt and is a marvellously cool place to escape Sicily’s summer heat

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Nightlife in Sicily means, by and large, nightlife in Sicilian cities, or their beachside satellites. Catania arguably boasts the island's most vibrant music scene, closely followed by Palermo, where the annual summer Ypsigrock festival (2019 dates: 8-11 August) is kind of like a Sicilian Glastonbury.

Outside of a few cookie-cutter Euro dance clubs, the classic Sicilian nightlife hub is the bar, in various guises from extravagant cocktail joints to humble neighbourhood meeting places, where summer refreshment comes in traditional forms. Is there anything better than a homemade granita di mandorla (iced almond water) in a piazza still buzzing with village life at midnight?

North 

Nautoscopio

Nautoscopio is a beach hut bar that brings a very special seaside vibe right to the heart of Palermo. You can lounge on the sand all day, eat great fishy fast food prepared by the popular FUD Bottega Sicula and watch giant ships sail through the harbour. But stick around until after dark and the mood changes: candles are lit on port-side tables, and live bands and DJs get going. There's dancing on the sand, much imbibing of (not always very impressive) cocktails and perfectly quaffable Sicilian wines. 

Contact: 00 39 366 5409382;
Opening times: Daily, 9am-2am
Prices: £

Nautoscopio is a beach hut bar that brings a very special seaside vibe right to the heart of Palermo

Bocum Mixology

I2020欧洲杯网站f Italy's foodie bible, Gambero Rosso, has named this friendly venue with a cool, vintage vibe Italy's best cocktail bar, who's to argue? Upstairs is a fine-dining restaurant; downstairs is the Sicilian capital’s hippest drinking venue; and there are outside tables too to savour Palermo as it passes by. The wine selection veers heavily towards natural producers. The cocktails range from several variations on the classic negroni to challenges such as the Tomatotini (sun-dried tomato-infused gin, Noilly Prat, anchovy colatura and chilli-infused olive oil). Live music with a jazz bent happens on many Thursday evenings. 

Contact: 00 39 091 332009;
Opening times: Mon & Wed-Sun, 12.30pm-2.45pm, 6pm-2am
Prices: ££
Getting in: Reservations recommended for dining

Visit the award-winning Bocum Mixology for expertly crafted cocktails

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Kalapinta Craft Beer

You’re not obliged to drink serious ales at Kalapinta: you can opt for a cocktail such as Bandito alla Fragola (tequila, lime juice and strawberry juice) or Tsantsa Punch (rum, cloves, star anice pineapple juice, mint and lime juice). But – as the name suggests – the raison d'être of this lively pub just off Cefalù's main drag is craft beer, and there are some very good labels to choose from, from the ten brews (some of them local) on tap to the vast international choice in bottles and cans. Frequent themed evenings and live music – from rock 'n' roll to jazz and soul – are flagged on the Facebook page. 

Contact:00 39 0921 820168;
Opening times: Tue-Sun, 6pm-2am
Prices: £

Kalapinta Craft Beer has 10 brews on tap (some of them local) and a vast international choice in bottles and cans

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East 

Morgana Bar

Hugely pretty but very touristy, Taormina is not exactly 'Nightlife Central' – but if you're still restless when all the daytime cafés have closed, head for this late-night cocktail bar. Do make sure you book a table first or you may not get in. The tiny Morgana is done out in a kind of 1960s Surrealist style and serves cocktails such as Cucumber Negroni (cucumber-infused Campari with gin and Vermouth) or Ddhanens (bourbon, rhubarb liqueur, lemon juice and rosemary syrup). The outside space is a lovely spot to sip and drink. Music on the smallish dance floor is relatively bland but there's usually some action after midnight.

Contact: 00 39 0942 620 056; 
Prices: ££
Opening times: Mon & Wed-Sun, 7pm-2am
Getting in: 2020欧洲杯网站Reservations essential

Morgana Bar is a late-night cocktail spot, which is done out in a 1960s Surrealist style

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Tinkitè

This charmingly boho bar and café in the heart of Ortygia, Siracusa’s centro storico, is a relaxing place for everything from a morning cappuccino to a great light lunch (salads feature salmon, avocado, walnuts, lamb’s lettuce; delicious bruschette include one with sun-dried tomatoes and salted ricotta) to afternoon tea (they have more than 30 varieties). In the evening, it’s a venue for regular live music happenings. The atmosphere is particularly laid-back and welcoming around aperitivo time, when an alternative crowd of locals and ex-pats meets up over wine, cocktails (try the Ortygia Island with gin, prosecco and orange juice) and snacks.

Contact: 00 39 347 6363552; Prices: ££
Opening times: Mon & Sun, 6pm-12am; Tue-Sat, 9.30am-1pm, 6pm-1am

The atmosphere at Tinkitè is particularly laid-back and welcoming around aperitivo time

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Mercati Generali

The 'General Market' – probably Sicily's most influential club – spreads out over the warehouses and pressing rooms of a restored 19th-century winery in the distant southern suburbs of Catania. In summer, the scene moves outside into the palm-shaded garden courtyard. The vibe is laidback, but once the music – wide-ranging in genre and always high-octane – starts, you know you're where it's at. Some of Europe's top DJs appear here, as do big-name live rock and pop acts (generally before they become big names). Check the website for events. DJ sets usually start around 11pm.

Contact: 00 39 095 435 764; 
Prices: ££
Opening times:2020欧洲杯网站 Fri-Sat, 9pm-4am

Mercati Generali spreads out over the warehouses and pressing rooms of a restored 19th-century winery

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First Lounge Bar

I2020欧洲杯网站n Catania's very green (though rather uncentral) San Berillo district you’ll find the First Lounge Bar – a relaxed, friendly boho-curiosity shop of a place, with outside seating on a gorgeous piazza. It really is worth seeking out. There's simple food – selections of cured meats and cheese mostly – and a great selection of beers. The cocktails are very good indeed: try an excellent mojito, or a Boston Iced Tea. But mostly, come for the atmosphere. Until recently this was a run-down area of town; First is a key element in a rejuvenation project that's giving San Berillo a real buzz.

Contact: 00 39 320 7633921;
Opening times: Tue-Sun, 6pm-2am
Prices: €

First Lounge Bar is a relaxed, friendly boho-curiosity shop in an up-and-coming area

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South 

Anche gli Angeli

T2020欧洲杯网站his locale in central Noto is worth a visit purely for its architecture: it's in a 17th-century crypt with great stone arches – a marvellously cool place to escape Sicily's summer heat. It's a 'concept' store with artisan-made clothes and objects, a bookstore, a café, a restaurant (perhaps more expensive than it should be) and a seriously hip wine/lounge bar. There's a decent by-the-glass choice of excellent Sicilian vintages (try the Nero d'Avola) and local craft beers, plus a revolving menu of good cocktails. Live music on Wednesday and Friday evenings ranges from soul to Latino to folk and beyond.

Contact: 00 39 0931 576023;
Opening times: Daily, 8am-12am
Prices: ££-£££

Anche gli Angeli is a hip bar, concept store, book shop and restaurant all in one

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Prima Classe

O2020欧洲杯网站pen from breakfast (the pastries are excellent) through to the wee hours, this smart modern space with retro touches is a firm favourite with a cool Ragusa crowd for aperitivi and post-dinner drinks. Classic cocktails are competently prepared; for something more southern-Med, go for the Bergamottini (gin with bergamot liqueur) or the Googdfather (sic), which combines Jack Daniel's with amaretto di Saronno liqueur. There are also craft beers from micro-producers. Art and photo exhibitions, live music ranging from free jazz to electronica and comedy stand-up acts complete the picture. There's a restaurant too, with mod-Med fare.

Contact: 00 39 0932 652300;
Opening times: Daily, 7am-1.30am
Prices: £-££
Getting in:2020欧洲杯网站 Reservations recommended for dining

Prima Classe is a smart modern space with retro touches, which is a firm favourite with a cool Ragusa crowd

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Don Beach

A2020欧洲杯网站vola, found between Siracusa and Noto on the south-east coast, is famous for its grape variety (Nero d’Avola), for its almonds and for its white beaches. On one of these, right next to the stark ruins of an historic tuna factory, Don Beach serves some exceptional cocktails to the coolest of locals and a handful of well-informed visitors. Cocktails change with the seasons. In summer try a Julep Sour (bourbon, orange and lemon juice, barley water); in winter a Mandarinero (mandarin liqueur, cognac, pomegrantate syrup, chocolate bitters and boiling water) – all served in the weirdest selection of cups and glasses. Occasional live music is announced on their Facebook page.

Contact: 00 39 0931 563777;
Opening times: Daily, 6pm-2am
Prices: £

Don Beach serves some exceptional cocktails to the coolest of locals and a handful of well-informed visitors.