Get ready to quench your thirst…and your hunger…all in one swig. At Emporio 1920 they put jazz ambiance back in style and food in your cocktails. Yeah. For real.
Meet the Owner
Three years ago an ambitious Francesco Trimigno started what is now one of the most popular bars, not only in Bologna, but in all of Italy. No small feat for a man of 35, a veteran bartender and an all-around fun-loving guy.
As he was already working in the industry in Bologna, he decided that he wanted to have his own business and went for the dream. He’d always had the idea of opening his own bar, 20 years in the industry gave him knowledge, skill and passion. Not to mention drive.
With 2 full-time employees and 1 part-time worker, he manages and operates the business all on his own day and night. And while Francesco may work long hours, and snooze molto poco, his tenacity and determination give him the vigor and perserverance to treat each new day at the bar like it was his first.
Emporio 1920 has been recognized by “Gambero Rosso” as one of the top 4 bars in the city. The reason for this is their high standards of quality, and of course their unique approach to bartending and mixology.
The Bar’s Ambiance
Francesco is a lover of the American 1920s. Or, as he puts it “Whiskey in America”. The music played at Emporio may not always be from the 1920s, but it’s always good, classic tunes. You’ll hear sounds from the past like Frank Sinatra, Billie Holiday and of course, Dean Martin.
The uniforms at Emporio are also a sight to see. The bartenders and waiters all wear hats from the 20s, and in addition, have suspenders and almost beatnick looking turtlenecks that they proudly serve tables wearing.
Though there’s no question you can get your standard Gin & Tonic here at Emporio 1920, it’s the specialties that have people coming back for more. And those who have never been, coming in to try it.
In order to have the kind of “fusion” that you will find at Emporio, the owner had to come up with some clever culinary techniques to achieve the level that they have at the bar now.
Before ordering drinks he asked me,
“Ever had mayonnaise and raspberry together?” The answer was no then, and after having been to the bar, the answer is still no. But this is a good example of some of the concotions that you will find at Emporio. And apparently, it’s working out well as their success is no laughing matter.
Whatever Your Pleasure
Francesco makes a point of stating that there is no one drink in particular that holds the most popular at Emporio. In fact, his attitude is to please the customer. Whatever the client wants, they get. Even if it’s not on the menu. Something I learned the second night I frequented the bar. Have it your way, may be the best stolen slogan for them, as whatever it is you’re in want of, you can order it here. No matter how strange or delicious it may be.
Humility is certainly Francesco’s strong point, as he glosses over the fact that he’s won several competitions in the past for his stellar work and creativity with drinks. And if this weren’t enough, his tables are packed every night of the week – even into the wee hours of the morn.
First & Last Glance
Emporio 1920 has a very cozy and casual vibe. While you can dress in style when coming to the bar, jeans and a sweatshirt is also perfectly acceptable here. Bar stools are everywhere, including outside, and the seating is very limited. This allows regulars and newcomers alike to not feel rushed while sipping one of many cocktails as they pass the night away chatting with friends.
Though the style is casual, it’s also the right kind of loud. Great music is always playing, and the dark lit setting makes you feel like you’re in a stylish and tiny discotheque.
If there’s one thing you should know about Emporio it’s that their creativity is genius. The flavors are explosive, no matter your taste. If you tell the owner you like sweet things, he’ll ask specifically what kind of sweet things. If you like salty things, you’re in for an even different kind of treat. The point of coming to Emporio is to step outside of your comfort zone with cocktail creations and into a new world of sensational taste. Tastes, you have never known before.
So the next time you’re in Bologna, and need a great place to have a funky cocktail, make sure you stop in at Emporio 1920. And be sure to let them know Lisa sent you!