In Genoa, l'aperitivo (a happy hour including appetizers or an open buffet) is a must, that few are willing to pass up on: enjoyed in historical, traditional, or trendy pubs, in the old taverns and bars found throughout the region, in museum cafeterias, and at countless sidewalk cafés.
The array of international drinks and natural beverages offered include, at least two specialties that are not to be missed: a "gotto" (Genoese for 'glass') of Ligurian white wine served with the region's famous focaccia, and the "baxeichito", a cocktail featuring the region's fabulous basil.
And a host of little dishes, brimming witha variety of delicacies, are there to ensure the drinks never get lonely!
In Genoa, the usual fries, puff pastry savouries and olives... are often joined on the bar top or at the table by an abundance of other snacks: tocchi (pieces) of plain focaccia or focaccia with toppings, or al formaggio di Recco, Recco's famous cheese-filled version; anchovies marinated in lemon juice; deep-fried sticks of chickpea flour, known as panissa, and piping hot cucculli dumplings; little servings of pasta al pesto; sun-dried tomatoes in oil; grilled vegetables; small squares of frittata and savoury pies; salmon canapés; slices of cima, a traditional Ligurian stuffed veal breast speciality; cod fritters; special cold cuts; chunks of cheese and even octopus dressed with parsley, all depending on the restaurant's local traditions and the season.
The most popular pubs and bars for happy hours are undoubtedly those in the historic centre, especially in the areas of Piazza delle Erbe, Via San Donato and Via San Bernardo, and throughout the Old Port.
And during the summer, Genoa's seafront and the neighbourhood of Nervi – especially the promenade - also spring to life, with the bathing establishments frequently visited in the evening for a beer or a cocktail and a chance to admire the sunset.