Bar Bozza, the South Rome wine bar that stands out thanks to its counter

Mar 10 2024, 15:37
Natural wines and contemporary dishes, a lively and relaxed atmosphere: if this wine bar has won us all over in such a short time, it's because it's different from all the others

It's a first draft, a sketch, just a trial. That's how Fabio Macrì and Mauro Lenci envisioned the name of their Bar Bozza, a small counter, a dynamic kitchen, and an extensive wine selection. It was supposed to be their rough copy, but in a short time, it turned out to be a space that was truly missing in Rome. Because here, regardless of the occasion, you always end up coming back.

Bar Bozza, the former copy shop transformed into a wine bar

Some technical details before letting the stomach speak. Mauro selects the wines (naturally fermented), Fabio takes care of the kitchen, and the menu – a series of tapas that change frequently – is slim and with many vegetarian options (we vegetarians thank you: it's one of the few wine bars where we can leave with a full stomach). The space is small, from the former copy shop where the two owners once printed their theses, the red floors, doors, and fixtures remain. And since the adventure began in February 2022, a Spin-Off has also emerged next door, dedicated to beer.

The tables in the outdoor courtyard are the best, but sitting at the counter is a guarantee. So, let's start from here. From that narrow and lively counter. People willingly go to Bar Bozza alone. The staff is young, indeed very young, welcoming, friendly. Knowledgeable without showing it too much. You exchange some words with those on the other side, and most of the time, you end up finding new companions on the neighboring stools.

The silent exploration of Bar Bozza

But this place in Ostiense is also the venue for intimate dinners, chats among friends, and romantic evenings. You eat well, spend the right amount, as they used to say. Here it is just like that: prices are appropriate to the offer, to the quality of the raw materials, never flaunted, never opposed. No one recites from memory the names of the most virtuous suppliers, but then when you talk to Fabio, you start discovering hidden gems in the city, from the local shop to the neighborhood minimarket. The bread, which arrives at the table just warmed, comes from one of the best bakeries in Rome, but you have to ask if you want to know the name. But then, does it really matter so much?

First, of course, you drink. No menu for the bottles, you rely on the team or get a glass from the tap. The selection is absurd; you can find everything, just have a clear idea or let yourself be guided. Otherwise, what's the saying? Do it yourself. That's what they called their wine, FaiTù, red (Montepulciano, Romagnola) or white (Trebbiano, Moscato, Malvasia, Pecorino, to be drunk in large sips), produced near Teramo.

Identitarian flavors and scents

After the first few times, that intense whiff that comes as soon as you cross the threshold becomes simply the scent of Bozza. Many say that smell is the distinctive sign of a person; for a venue, it's more challenging to have one so identifiable, specific, all its own. Bar Bozza has it. We could talk about study, technique, knowledge. The truth is that, at the core of the cuisine, there is just a great taste. Few frills (in presentation, because there is plenty in preparation) and a lot of substance, straight to the flavor but never banal. It's a cuisine that stimulates the appetite, enticing you to order more.

The dishes of Bar Bozza

Some examples, among the most iconic: the Bar Bozza egg, a must for the first months of opening, hard-boiled egg with miso, seaweed, sesame, and spring onion; the barattiere cucumber with herbs and sesame that refreshed us in the scorching summer of '22; the Christmas special, two slices of toasted pandoro with chicken, pickles, caramelized onions, and crispy ham; the glazed pork belly with kimchi, peanuts, and chili; the many versions of pumpkin, from scapece to the latest one, with roasted cardoncelli, fried sage, and a saffron mayonnaise to bring tears to your eyes.
Then, of course, you might just want to "snack" on something: the fried offerings from the brewery will satisfy everyone, sweet potato or cauliflower, each vegetable has its accompanying sauce to satisfy that longing that is not quite hunger.

All this works, but perhaps there is more: at Bar Bozza, you go to celebrate "without commitment" (but with a lot of style), to update periodically with your close friend, you end up there on purpose or by chance, for many "quick glasses" before a dinner that is "so far away" (most of the time, it's not). Returning from an aperitif or at the end of the evening, for the last drink.

A place to return to

Bar Bozza has turned two years old, but even in the early days, the premises were clear. Maybe that's why we have never stopped going back. Although there are other similar places, in concept and offer. The lively atmosphere, good dishes, the unique service offered by passionate guys who introduce each bottle with a simple "it's one of my favorites."

You go when you feel good, but also when you are tired, when you want to unplug or when you need to have that conversation that you have been putting off for too long. Perhaps what Bar Bozza has really managed to give us, in such a chaotic, schizophrenic city, where new openings follow each other and devour each other at a relentless pace, where everyone shouts about quality and innovation, is a refuge. A shelter where you can find good food and wine, but above all, where you can feel safe. A bit like at the end of a long mountain hike, but with your back to Ostiense.
A place where you can decelerate, sit down, and let out a sigh of relief. Here, at least for one evening, you can put everything on hold. And yes, then you eat and drink well.

Bar Bozza - Roma - via Giulio Rocco, 27 -

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