Because aperitivos are EVERYTHING.
Tip! Most Milan bars open until 1 p.m. or 2 p.m. every night while nightclubs will close around 3 p.m. or 4 p.m.
The fashion capital of Italy is definitely not lacking stylish places to grab a spritz. In addition to the glory of aperitivo (unlimited amount of free food included in drink prices,) a night out in Milan is incredibly awesome! Aperitivo is usually served around 6 p.m. to 9 pm., seven days a week. If you order a coke or water, aperitivo prices are also included so a soda might cost just as much as a cocktail. Here’s a list of cool places to be with a mix of historical bars, natural wine bars, gay-friendly, uber hipster and simply chic hubs!
1. Ceresio 7 – Rooftop pool & restaurant.
From 10 a.m. to 2 a.m., you’ll encounter a stylish crowd in this hotspot with two pools and two lounges. Dsquared 2’s Dean and Dan Caten wanted to create an authentic space for people to chill and feel amazing about themselves. Ta-da! The historic Enel building’s rooftop was transformed into Ceresio 7. Come here for the gorgeous view of Milan’s new area.
2. Bar Basso – The OG Negroni Sbagliato.
Neighborhood: Citta Studi
Where art, design aficionados and stylish locals congregate in Milan, Bar Basso is an old-school Milanese bar and the first-ever bar in the city. In 1947, it introduced and normalized aperitif to local Milanese by offering luxurious cocktails that were previously available solely in international hotels. Despite its longstanding fame, Bar Basso has kept its standard and charm. Get its signature Negroni Sbagliato, since it was invented here and presented in large scenographic glasses filled with hand cut ice cubes.
3. N’Ombra de Vin – People watch with wine.
Inside a 1500s ancient refectory, N’Ombra de Vin is a passion project of wine connoisseurs who wanted to create a sophisticated hang out hotspot for the young and the fashionable. With a list of prestigious wines on the menu, people arrive here to watch and be watched, surrounded by vaulted ceiling and stone walls. Quite the religious experience of a different kind, indeed.
4. Elita – Cocktails in a creative space.
In 2013, Elita Bar opened with an open space that welcomed parties, events and concerts. Navigli is already a hip neighborhood, but Elita spreads titillating music to the streets. The cocktail menu spans from traditional Italian, to Japanese, Thai and Mexican. The creative art scene is relaxed and cool, even with a line outside Elita is worth the wait.
5. Bulgari Hotel Milano – The most expensive aperitivo is also the best.
When a spectacular garden is involved in the middle of a bustling city, it’s always highly appreciated. At Bulgari Hotel, you can indulge in floral beauty alongside tasty cocktails and the best aperitivo in town. They’re non-stop and can be consumed inside Il Bar or the lobby lounge. Nothing bad could ever happen here, NOTHING. It’s simply a dream.
6. Eppol – Bistro & gay-friendly bar.
Neighborhood: Porta Venezia
A cool cocktail and restaurant joint that mixes English bar table, Italian furnishing, and French chandeliers. The food menu combines Italian cuisine and American street food, while the cocktail menu enhances local and imported liquor with seasonal herbs (thyme or violet.)
7. Champagne Socialist – Natural wine bar.
Neighborhood: Porta Venezia
For a knowledgeable and enjoyable selection of natural wine, Champagne Socialist is IT. The atmosphere is chic, and the snacks are pretty awesome. Every Sunday from noon – 3 p.m., there’s a free degustation of different natural wines with producers.
8. Rita – Great for aperitivo on the Naviglio.
A cool cocktail bar by the Naviglio, Rita’s menu comes with chuckles of humor. Just take a look at sections called, “to fix problems,” and “to get laid.” Rita’s spread of aperitivo hollers at Italian snacks’ makeover into every traveler’s nibble dream. Tons of chunky green olives, lengthy vegetable crudités, flaky biscuits and that acidic calamari salad…it’s glorious.
9. Fondazione Prada – Best Bloody Mary.
Neighborhood: Porta Romana
Fondazione Prada’s Bar Luce screams Wes Anderson. Rightfully so, since the filmmaker designed it with his eccentric wallpaper, a pinball machine paying homage to Steve Zissou, and Formica retro tables. Essentially, the bar could easily be a movie set, starring the next Tenenbaums – Milanese version. A trip to Milan isn’t complete without a few hours at Fondazione Prada, even if it’s fairly out of the way from city center. Once you make it out there, make every sip count by ordering the Bloody Mary.
Tip! Cab over and have your breakfast early at Bar Luce, then you can wander over to the exhibition.
10. Plastic – THE dance club during fashion week.
Neighborhood: Via Gargano
It felt appropriate to include a club on this list, only because it’s Plastic where fashion people hang out during Fashion Week. It’s a bit alternative, a bit underground, a lot of gay beauts in cages and drag queens on stage. Costumes galore, the music was fly. Andy Warhol said Plastic was “one of the best clubs in the world.” Meanwhile, it’s now frequented by Anna del Russo, Stefano Gabbana, and that girl who’s also staying at your hotel.