– TO DRINK –

Taverna Azzurra

Via Maccherronai, 15 | Palermo, Sicily

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For those of us who are familiar with the dive bar, a place where folks of all walks of life gather for cheap drinks and easy jokes, you understand how satisfying and real this experiences can be. In Palermo, a city full of life and culture, Taverna Azzurra located along the Piazza Caracciolo is the place to experience. Walking up to the taverna, you might think to yourself you’re just ordering a cheeky one, and then two hours later, there you are pantomiming your life story with your fellow Sicilian patrons over deep wines, spirits, and cheap beer.

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Opposite from the serving bar is an old wooden glass case full of Sicilian wines and bottles of aperitif, nothing notable like Harry’s in Paris, but still a beautiful catalog of Italian Amaro you may have never seen before. Beyond simply looking through the glass, it’s a reminder that you are that in fact, at Sicilian Taverna.

A good meal is always nearby in Palermo by but care should be given with your dinner timetable, which often is determined by the size of your lunch you had earlier in that day. The ‘4 hour Italian lunch’ has mythical qualities, often you don’t even realize the intensity of the ordeal until you’re in the thick of it. Back at home, a 3-bottled, 4-course, 5-hour meal is not all that common. Such a dense meal, a digestif is needed and a café required. It’s just not your everyday life. Showing up for lunch at 12:30 should give you plenty of time to digest before your final meal of the day around 8 or 9 pm. But this can differ in Italy when you start your lunch at a reasonable breaking time during the day and you don’t conclude your meal until 5 pm! 

 

You sit down at 1:30 and around 1:50 or so you finally get your order in. Then, depending on your order, it comes out, slowly by slowly. Taking your time in fear of over doing it, the hours pass by. It’s always recommendable to have a glass of the house amaro to settle your stomach, then an espresso to give you the energy to get you back home.

Now, let’s remind you of a very important thing regarding Italian eating, you are full. And when you are full, you need to rest. You should walk first, but you need your rest, plus you probably have a little jet lag. Since you’re on vacation and you have a hotel or B&B, and they make it comfortable for a reason so you can feel the luxury of laziness as you walk upstairs and into your bed and comfortable of a temporary home.

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Every city has its dive bar, an unpolished watering hole with cheap drinks that welcomes every style of patron regardless of class, age, background, and nationality can gather and shoot the breeze. (Tip: arrive early for a glass cup and hold on to it. Once the crowds roll in, you’ll be stuck with the plastic cups). As you walk in there is a long and a tall serving bar to the left, standing only. While you make your way in, rubbing shoulder to shoulder with your fellow bar mates, lean into the bar your the keep will take care of your order in short moments. Behind the counter, is the staff, no one appears to be family but they might as well be since they’ve been there for years each with their own roles and responsibilities. Unlike most bustling bars in urban areas, you’ll never wait more than a minute or so to place your order. With beverages priced at a euro or two a pop, they rely on a fast turnaround, and with that, an unspoken promise that you’ll be back up at the bar to see your bar keep very soon.

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Now, let’s remind you of a very important thing regarding Italian eating, you are full. And when you are full, you need to rest. You should walk first, but you need your rest, plus you probably have a little jet lag. Since you’re on vacation and you have a hotel or B&B, and they make it comfortable for a reason so you can feel the luxury of laziness as you walk upstairs and into your bed and comfortable of a temporary home.

6:30 rolls around, then 7:30 and you know you’re not hungry since you didn’t finish your meal until nearly 5. Perfect, after your showers the light is just right, an orange sun colors your city with warmth unimaginable to your imagination and every turn you take once you begin your walk makes you life feel all the feels. Going slowly and slowly, the streets take the change, from day to night and you notice the changing moods of everyone around. To your advantage, the bar is set up and it’s time to go.

There is a method to the Italian way, as we’ve mentioned, you’re likely full or still in the process of digesting. Post-lunch and pre-dinner drinks are looked upon as medicine in these parts of the world and they have a solution presented to you, it’s remarkable! The aperitif, the drunks mean for you pre-supper meal is often a balance of sweet and sour, helping to breakdown the foods in your belly from lunch and awake your appetite.

Note, if you’re a one drink lush, cherish that drink and find a good spot that you love so you can get into it. If you are comertable with having 3 cheeky ones before supper, you’re excited.

Showing up to a restaurant around 9:30 is no problem, maybe you have to wait a bit but that’s ok. If you happen to have been having a good time before, there’s a strong change your night might progress much later without food. This is ok. Drink up, it’s your vacation and this is your evening activity, Palermo and street food get along. Meats of all kinds are all around, things that will make you very happy.

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