Aperitivo is popping up more and more, and for good reason. What is it you ask? It’s not only a category of light, alcohol-based drinks but also the Italian way of unwinding after a long workday while enjoying cocktails and small bites before dinner.

Lucky for us, the idea of aperitivo has caught on at several Lettuce Entertain You restaurants. Aperitivo is intended to stimulate the appetite, to literally make you salivate and make you hungry. The drinks are low in alcohol too, so it allows you to have a few with friends, then go on with the rest of your night. Aperitivo drinks are based off dry or bitter alcohols, like Campari, Aperol or vermouth. The Aperol SpritzNegroni and Americano are prime examples. The cocktails can also be wine- or sparkling wine-based, too. Think the French 75 or the Peach Bellini made famous by Harry’s Bar in Venice.

Il Porcellino Cocktails
The Negroni (left) at il Porcellino and the Bellini (right) at RPM Italian

To get started on where to enjoy aperitivo with friends or how to replicate it at home, read on…


Friends enjoying an after-apertivo meal at Osteria Via Stato

Il Porcellino

River North’s favorite Italian-American comfort food spot serves aperitivo daily from 4:00 PM – 6:00 PM in the bar area. Enjoy $3 Italian sub sandwiches, $5 wines by the glass and more than a dozen $8 Negronis to choose from, including classic and original iterations. Salute!

Il Porcellino Negronis

Osteria via Stato

Celebrating “Afternoon Aperitivo” every day of the week from 4-6pm, Osteria via Stato encourages guests to unwind with a selection of wine, sangria and beer for only $5, along with complimentary Italian small plates that include house-marinated olives, roasted balsamic garlic and ciabatta bread. Chat with friends up at the bar, out on the patio, and in the pizzeria while enjoying Osteria’s delicious aperitivo specials.

Osteria Cocktails

From left to right: Raspberry Gin, Blueberry Vodka and Peach Whiskey at Osteria via Stato

RPM Italian

RPM Italian in both Chicago and Washington, D.C. celebrate Aperitivo Hour every Monday through Friday in the bar area, 3:00 PM – 7:00 PM in DC and 4:00 PM – 6:00 PM in Chicago. Enjoy select cocktails, wines by the glass and antipasti for just $7 – $8 and cicchetti for $5, including Prosciutto Involtini with buffalo mozzarella, Fried Olives with fennel sausage and Tuna Bruschetta. RPM Italian DC also offers an array of pizzettes – Vermont PepperoniCremini Mushroom with truffle and fontina funduta or Pizza Fritta, for just $5.

cheersing glasses and pizzas

Whether an evening out with friends to partake in light refreshments before your dinner or entertaining at home, we encourage you to check out the joys of aperitivo to get you one step closer to la dolce vita.