There would be so much to say about Mad, but the words, at some point, would tire you out. If you hang out in the Diladdarno and Borgo San Frediano, you will have bumped into it, the bar is right next to Piazza del Carmine. Peeking beyond the street corner, you would see the 13th century basilica standing on the bottom of the square with its rough brick facade, not far away (but hidden from view) are the gardens of Palazzo Antinori.
San Frediano is no doubt the coolest street in Florence, and the Mad is practically at its center. It is easy to understand how this bar managed to become so popular among Florentine viveurs. The secret? The relaxed and informal atmosphere in which you find yourself when you enter and the amazing quality of the drink list.
The location certainly does its part. The walls are half cerulean and half covered with bricks, with small copper pipes running through it. The space is wide and divided into two rooms without galleries, stairs or mezzanines. Everything has a simple and linear appearance. The place, like its prices, is easy and accessible. The atmosphere has something reminiscent of the bohemian world of university students and goliards. It’s like entering the homes of your best friends.
Speaking of friends, we must talk about the owners, Neri Fantechi and Julian Biondi, who define themselves in the menu as “foul-mouthed and noisy”. They really animate the place with their (not only alcoholic) spirits of unrepentant party-goers. Without them, nothing would make sense, really, and even Mad himself would lose its irresistible madness. It’s not by chance that they define the restaurant as a “cocktail pub,” precisely because they want everyone to feel at ease.
As for cocktails, the list is really long. These are mostly very original creations, both for mixing, naming and presentations: many appear as spinoffs of the most famous traditional drinks, each accompanied by a fun punchline, a further evidence of the strong sense of humor that permeates the whole place. Written on a blackboard on the wall, you will find the specials of the day, which we advise you not to miss.
Between toastings and snacks (you guessed it, there is always a little pasta waiting for you, if you want to soak up the alcohol), the hours to the Mad flow without anyone ever looking at the clock or getting bored. Especially in the warm season, with outdoor tables and the crowd of San Frediano, the place is magnificent and worthy to be visited all the year, to not miss even one of the many novelties.
For the rest, you have to go there and try everything yourself. You will arrive at home (if you come back) very tipsy, but one thing you will be sure of, even among the fumes of alcohol: you will return to Mad every weekend.