In the University area. Very good bar with over 12 taps, many when I was there local Italians which couldn't find anywhere else in the city. Beers were all well kept. Knowledegable helpful bar staff. Prices were good 3.5 euros up to 9 o'clock, 5 euros with a nice bread, cheese , meat platter, a little cheaper than the centre. Don't get there too early as opening might be a little delayed, leave it to 5.30 pm to be certain.
This great little hole in the wall is worth the effort of heading up north of Termini station and into an - uh - less than touristy area of town. The front room has a vaulted ceiling and exposed air duct, with lots of randome art, posters and beer paraphrenalia on the walls. At the back of the room are three or four steps up into a second, smaller room holding the bar on the right and two more high tables on the left. At the back is a bank of refrigerators stock full of interesting brews. The highlight, though, are the fourteen taps and two hand pumps. When I was there, about half the taps were Italian, and none of them were from global brands. I had three Italian brews, all of which were kept and poured well - although the "cask-conditioned" was served too cold.. I didn't try the food, but the people at the next table had a fine looking cheese board. I was there on a Monday in late December from about 6 to 7:30. Only a few people were there when I arrived, but the bar was difficult to get to by the time I left. And you do have to get to the bar - no table service. Once you got his attention, the bartender was friendly enough. Definitely recommend.
Being just two blocks from the Sapienza Università di Roma, Luppolo 12 naturally attracts a bit of a college crowd. If that's not your thing, or if you'd like to do a little pub hopping, Il Serpente is not far away; but there's another reason to visit the Pigneto area, and that's a wonderful little restaurant called I Porchettoni right next door! Moving forward...
As you enter Luppolo 12 there are tables set to each side with an aisle that runs down the center and takes you up a few steps to the small bar in the back. The back wall is banked with coolers full of bottles, and the kitchen is behind that. The vaulted brick ceiling in the front room and its real copper air-duct is something to see, and the bar echoes that, made from brick, with tumbled marble on the walls behind it. They've done it in a bright yellow, probably to make the space feel larger, but also better lit and "happy". There are no seats at the bar, but there are a few more tight tables up there. As it can get crowded you may have trouble getting a beer so be prepared in advance, knowing what you want, and perhaps even ordering two at the same time.
They offer 14 beers on tap, or "alla spina", as well as 2 beers via hand pump. As I understand it they are most likely not actual cask beers, but beers that have been prepared to be served in that way. 150+ bottled beers widen their selection, and across the board they have an international inclination. If you're looking for Italian craft beers your choices will be limited.
Unlike many bars Luppolo 12 actually offers food, and it's some pretty good food at that! It remains basically bar food, but beyond the snacks of chips and nuts they're producing some fine Foccacce (8 different versions), and high quality meat & cheese boards. The focacce runs just 5 - 6€, and the salumi e fromaggi boards are 5 - 15€.
Have I enticed you to visit? Because I think you should, even if it's just a stop after enjoying a simple but delicious meal at I Porchettoni, although I have to note two drawbacks: 1) there's only 1 toilet, and it's kind of gross and smelly, and by the time it gets busy you'll have a hard time getting in there, and even worse - you probably won't even want to at that point! 2) The Pigneto area north of Termini is still a little sketchy, and if you're not street-wise you might just want to keep to central Roma or the Trastevere area. Arrivaderci!