A trio of high-style bars is creating some late-night buzz in Venice, making residents reconsider the city's sedate image. Just 100 feet from La Fenice opera house, Centrale Restaurant & Lounge (Piscina Frezzeria, 1659B San Marco; 39-041/296-0664; www.centrale-lounge.com; dinner for two $150) is open for dinner—try the black squid-ink pasta with raw shrimp—and serves after-theater cocktails until the very un-Venetian hour of 2a.m. Visiting fashionistas and celebrities such as Vittorio Missoni and Spike Lee linger for hours in the lounge, which favors spiderweb metal chairs, a bamboo screen, and a backlit crystal bar over fussy fabrics. • There's not a Murano chandelier in sight at Bacaro Lounge (Salizzada San Moise, 1345 San Marco; 39-041/296-0687; dinner for two $150), where simple Italian dishes such as pasta con pomodoro are served in a former cinema. Owned by the Benetton family and designed by Milanese minimalist Piero Lissoni, Bacaro has spare wooden tables and chairs, Prada-gray walls, and a red mosaic bar where locals sipbucintoro, a concoction made of crushed strawberries and champagne. • Artists pontificate over the latest exhibits while lounging on cream linen sofas at Imagina (Ponte dei Pugni, 3126 Dorsoduro; 39-041/241-0625). The prime time to visit this small photography and contemporary art gallery that doubles as a café is during "spritz hour" (6-9 p.m.), when its signature Campari cocktail is just $2.50 a glass.
Centrale Restaurant & Lounge
The bar and restaurant near Teatro La Fenice eschews typically fusty Venetian ambience in favor of spider-web metal chairs, a chameleon-hued backlit bar, and a loud sound system. Dinner and after-theatre snacks are served until 2 a.m.
Created by the editors of T+L for Regent Seven Seas Cruises.