Wednesday 13 April 2011

Ma Che Siete Venuti a Fa (aka: Football Pub), Rome

If the journey from Open Baladin to Bir & Fud was short and easy, then the one from Bir & Fud to Ma Che Siete Venuti a Fa is even easier: turn right out of Bir & Fud and the Football pub is the first bar on the left, the one with all the people spilling out onto the street.

Tiny inside, it creeps back from the tightly filled bar past to-be-used-soon keg and opens into a small box of a room with football on the TV and beer posters all around. Downstairs is another small room, dark and cool, a great late-night drinking spot. And that’s definitely what this place is: somewhere to properly drink. Bir & Fud is for chilling out, eating and enjoying a few beers, the Football Pub is where it kicks on.

The beer list is more imports than Italian, including some American, Belgian and Danish beers, ranging from little and light to big and dark, although the front line of the beer taps are led by two A-list Italians: Italiano Tipopils and Bibock. I start on Tipopils which was one of the must-have beers on my list before we arrived. I’ve had a few bottles before, I’ve enjoyed it with homemade pizza, and I like it a lot, so wanted it on tap. It arrived in a chunky pint glass, very pale in colour, and smelt like fresh noble hops, zinging with grassy, subtle fruitiness. However, I must’ve got a bad batch because it tasted like hopped wort, which was gutting.

Moving on, I had a Italiano Bibock and it was sensational. A caramel-red colour, smoothly malty underneath and then the most incredible hop flavour I’ve tasted in a beer in a long time – so fresh, so clean, so fruity and grassy, vibrant and pronounced and delicious, plus a bitterness that gets your full attention. I could still taste it the next morning.

Then we had to go home and sleep because it was past midnight and we’d been up since 4am. But we did return later in the week and I had another Tipopils and it was fantastic. Cool and crisp, simple yet wonderfully complex and interesting and tasty, with those noble hops showing who is boss. I must’ve got unlucky with the first one because this was brilliant.

The Football Pub is for drinking in, a ‘spit and sawdust’ kind of place, as Zak Avery says, compared to the clean temple of Open Baladin. It’s for groups of friends to hang out and order beers and talk shit until you can’t drink any more. Some bars are just made for that kind of thing and this is one of them. It’s a great place (the 2nd best bar in the world, according to RateBeer’s Best Of list).


  1. I had the most fantastic holiday in Rome a couple of years ago before I was properly into beer and didn't know, or think to find out about, any of these places. So I'm half kicking myself and half thinking that I've got a really good excuse to go back!

  2. Do you think they'd show Leeds United games on the box if we asked nicely?

  3. Did you dare take your ropey pint of Tipopils back or were you too scared of the a potential Italian-style refusal.

    It sounds as good as I hoped it would be, another firmly at the top of my wish list for when I visit Rome in July. Thankfully its a 10 min walk from our hotel and we are staying 6 night so plenty of time to visit and surely revisit.

  4. I like the name of the bar - "But what have you come to do", or more colloquially "What did you come here for?" "Bir & Fud" is good too.

  5. beerprole - Go back!

    Mark - They only show proper games. Although there was a Blackpool scarf on the wall!

    Rob - I didn't dare take it back! I drank most of it and then got another. You'll like this place a lot, I'm certain. Good to have a hotel so close as well. Ours was about 20 minutes away (by San Pietro station) and it was in a good spot.

    Phil - It's a good name! It's also a pain to remember so thankfully they went with Football Pub as well!

  6. I had my first Cantillon beer there, before I went to Belgium that is and when Cantillon was not available in Ireland, which it is now.

    Fantastic place.

    Mark, opposite The football pub and pretty much beside Bir & fud, is there a brewpub? Or another beer bar? When I was leaving the football pub I noticed it. Being my last night (and with family) I could not investigate.

  7. There is another pub and it did have a lot of beer taps but I have no idea what it is. I haven't read or heard anything about it...

  8. Ah thanks. Looks like people are so insertanything-ed on leaving that they don't get to take a look. Of course I'm just basing that sweeping statement on both of us.

    I did a google street view and it looks like its a beer bar but not at the same level. Still better than most Italian bars for beer. Hard to tell as the website is all italian.

  9. The big pub in front to Football pub is Birreria Trilussa. It's the oldest pub in Trastevere, they has only industrial beers like Tennent's, Guinness and other big brand.
    Cheers! Paolo