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Venice, St. Mark's Square cocktail and music

I think I'm going to need to pay for an expensive cocktail and listen to the music on the Piazza San Marco. I do know its a pretty touristy choice.

I think I'm understanding that each cafe has their own orchestra. Can anyone recommend a specific cafe? Is it every evening? I read starting at 7pm. We will be in Venice on Thursday thru Monday nights mid September. We will probably go after dinner. Do we need to worry about getting a table?

Posted by
2590 posts

We actually just stood in the square with other people and listened to the music. Certainly not as delightful as getting a cocktail but easier on the wallet.

Posted by
2230 posts

It's been over 20 years, but we thoroughly enjoyed having drinks and a light snack at Cafe Florian. I don't remember if we had a reservation etc, and things change, so you would want to double check on all of this. It was not cheap, but we felt it was worth it, and we had our two kids with us. They were 5 and 8 at the time.

Posted by
5053 posts

We did not have reservations. Can't remember the name, but it was one on the right side of the piazza as one faces the basilica. The drinks were expensive, but not outrageous. Well worth it, in my opinion, to splurge with a drink and a dance in a magical place.

Posted by
105 posts

We had three nights in Venice, and the first night we just stood and listened.

The second night was our wedding anniversary so we sat at Cafe Florian, quite late after dinner, and had liqueurs and coffee. It was so wonderful, albeit expensive, that the next night we repeated it except at the other cafe right opposite.

I can no longer remember how much it cost, although it certainly wasn't cheap, but it was one of the best experiences of our month in Italy.

Posted by
207 posts


I definitely recommend Caffe Florian! When I was there a little over a year ago, they didn't take reservations and getting a table wasn't a problem. I had a couple questions about timing as well since it was March, and they were very responsive via email so you might want to reach out for specific timing info for your dates.

There are fees for sitting with the music playing, in addition to the menu costs, so I'd recommend looking over the menu ahead of time if you're at all concerned about cost. There were many people who sat down, looked at the menu and unfortunately left. We went in fully knowing it would be expensive and budgeted 100 Euro for the evening. After two soft drinks, some macarons, and scones with cream and jam, our bill came to maybe 70ish Euro if I remember correctly.

Sounds like alot, but we spent a good two hours being serenaded there as the sun set over the square and it was worth every last cent to us. There may have even been happy tears it was so special. It is one of my most favorite memories of our whole trip!

I hope you have an equally magical time!


Posted by
6088 posts

As suggested above, I contacted Cafe Florian. I asked about admission/cover charges and whether a reservation is advised. This is the response I received:


Thanks for your kind message, our orchestras are active every day from 10 am until 11 pm.

Live music costs €6 per person plus the prices of the drinks and dishes.

Non cover charge or particular admission is required."

I would argue that the 6 euro is a cover, but its so small, it really doesn't matter. Beer and drinks ranged from about 15-25 euro, I think that's reasonable for a nice evening. I did notice on their website that they were promoting certain bands/orchestras, and there seemed to be ticketing for that (I think 40 euro/person) but I think those might have been special events.

Posted by
3355 posts

Wonderful information jules m! On our arrival day in Venice (mid-October), we want to do this as well. Sit in the square with a cocktail, listen to the music and say “We’re in Venice!”

Posted by
337 posts

I’d like to add a thought…be sure to take a peek INSIDE Caffè Florian as well…it’s beautiful and one can imagine centuries of rendezvous!

Posted by
3992 posts

We took our granddaughters for music, wine and mocktails in 2019. We wanted to encourage them to sit and soak up the ambiance even if it was an occasional splurge. There were plenty of tables at the 2 main cafes across from each other in front of the Basilica. Their drinks were 18 and 22€ apiece. We ordered a bottle of wine to share and the total was less than 100€. The waiter brought 5 little bowls of nibbles to our table. The oldest granddaughter asked us if the nibbles were free for us to eat. We had to laugh that at the price of the drinks, the nibbles were not exactly “free” but were included. It was a magical evening for all of us listing to music, watching the basilica change colors with the setting sun and sipping our drinks.