Quite unexpectedly, Florence opened up to be a touching museum-ish, but party-all-night-long-ish and noisy; it was holding its own cocktail festival Florence Cocktail Week. It was hard to get into all of these participating bars, but there was no way to skip, for instance, Manifattura Tabacchi, a unique place that conquered my heart.
In Manifattura all cocktails are made only from alcohol of Italian origin, and this is incredible and lovely. It’s astonishing how you can sit at the bar counter as if you were in a museum, and you can only tell as few as three or four names from all the bottles. Splendid, because there’s so much that is produced in a magnificent, bright and authentic Italy: vermouth, bitter, amaro, liquors, distillates, etc. It was a brilliant yet obvious idea to open such a bar, while having all of these at your disposal. And all these is presented with such sincere passion!
I’m in love. Manifattura looks like an expensive nightbar, quiet, calm, refined, but through its veins runs all the dope (in a good sense of this word) of crazy bartenders, their fuse and affection for what they do and for the place, where they do it. This is alcohol patriotism.
From words to deeds. For example, they make White Negroni with artichokes-infused gin, local vermouth and Luxardo liquor. Or Italian variations on Americano cocktail, countless aperitifs, an Italian version of any given cocktail classics. And if you show a genuine interest, then Fabiano (the distinguished-looking bartender in the photo) will describe you everything, allow you to taste almost everything for free and even will rip a piece of cash register’ tape to write down a list of worthy bars with a note ‘ask Pablo here, and then Stefano there, and tell that you came from me’.
In Manifattura Tabacchi the food looks great as well, the guys are working with smiles on their faces, they aren’t prim, but friendly and very perky, to such an extent that it could be hard to leave them.
I like such bars not only for their cordiality and cheerfulness, but also for the fact that you feel enlightened after visiting them, as if you had a drink, and kind of went to the museum or a guided tour. For the matter of such gastro- (read ‘alco-’) tourism, I recommend Italy, which will open for you from an unexpected side.
Piazza di S. Pancrazio 1, Florence, Italy
Tue-Thu 6:00 p.m. – 1:00 a.m.
Fri-Sat 6:00 p.m. – 2:00 a.m
Su 12:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m., 6:00 p.m. – 1:00 a.m.