Around fifteen years ago, my wife sent me off on a weekend trip to Rome. I picked my hotel....about three blocks west of the train station....quiet place....three star situation.
On the first day of walking around....I returned to the front of the hotel. I had a feast of a lunch....a five-star ice cream in mid-afternoon, and was fairly tired. I looked across and there was this little pub across the street from the hotel. It was a no-name Italian pub.....nothing fancy. This was mid-November....so there's not a lot of tourists around.
I stepped in.
This was an establishment of roughly 1,200 square feet. Certainly not big in size or ultra modern.
I stood there for a moment....looking at the character of the place.
Tables were designed and built with chess or board games in mind. Across the wall were literally dozens of board games in boxes....in English and Italian.
In the back was a billiard table, with a number of seats facing facing a soccer game running.
In the mid-section was a library of sorts.....Hemingway, Twain, Hugo, Shakespeare, etc.
I sat mostly in a daze for the next two hours. The crowd never went past twenty in number. They sat playing Risk with some associate.....discussing some finer points of Shakespeare in Italian.....or engaging in political talk.
It's the kind of pub that probably can't exist in the United States and if it did....it'd probably fold up after a year because of limited or marginal profits.
An American is used to the saloon-type atmosphere....music in the background....talk over NFL games....etc.
I came back the second day.....repeating the two hour visit to the pub. It's a fascinating atmosphere.....maybe it was a one-of-a-kind situation there in Rome, and maybe there's not another place like it in Europe.
If I ever won a lotto and had a million to throw at some business idea....I'd like to put this type of pub into operation. Course, it'd probably be a failure within a year or two.....but I'd just run it for my own entertainment.