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Ok. Let’s do this. We’ll be honest, no matter what. It wasn’t easy to rank the best cocktail bars in Milan, but we did it.
Whether you’re a traditionalist looking for the perfect Negroni or a fearless drinker eager for something new, FLAWLESS.life is here to help you find the cocktail bar that best suits your tastes and your style.
So, dear friends here is the Mecca of Milanese Mixology. A definitive guide of the best cocktail bars in Milan.
We feel bad kicking off our list with this one, but there are only a few things we can tell you about 1930 Speakeasy. All we can say is that the boys from MAG Café have created an even more exclusive, intimate outpost with knockout cocktails. Like an authentic Milanese-style Speakeasy, everyone has heard of it, but only a select few know where it is. With exclusive elegance and refinement in a location that transports you back to 1930, you can only consider yourself a real Milanese cocktail expert once you’ve managed to sneak in here. Good luck!
Viale Piave, 1
No list of the best cocktail bars in Milan is complete without Nottingham Forest. A consistent top-dog on the list of the World’s 50 Best Bars, this place is a mecca of mixology, a cathedral to the cocktail, and a bonafide laboratory of libations. Mad genius Dario Comini and his creations continuously push the envelope. Your cocktail might come served in a sneaker, a miniature bathtub, or maybe even a skull to add an eccentric twist to the classics. If you somehow manage to get a seat inside, let the bar staff surprise you.
Via A. Fumagalli, 1
A Navigli institution, Rita’s offers a spirited menu, great vibes, and Milanese style with no frills. Founded in 2002 by Edoardo Nono and Gianluca Chiaruttini, Rita & Cocktails continues to be a landmark for modern mixology in Italy and beyond. This bar satisfies its guests through simplicity, high-quality cocktails, and an eclectic cuisine with ingredients that continue to please both past and present customers for over 16 years. The signature cocktail is the GinZen, a fresh and spicy drink based on crushed ginger, lime, and gin. You have to try it at least once!
Via Panfilo Castaldi, 25
A proper British lounge with a Milanese soul, this cocktail bar is home to quality Mixology. Its collection of spirits boasts over 200 niche labels, including vodka, rum, whiskey, and gin in a unique taste journey through their signature cocktails. The food doesn’t trail far behind either, as their love of good food translates to their dishes and is sure to amaze you. Enjoy meats from the best local butchers at the aperitivo and dinner. Kilburn offers one of the most unique drink experiences in the city.
Viale Regina Giovanna, 22
Every detail of this small cocktail bar, from the decor to the amazing drink list to the gourmet specialties, aims as high as possible, and hits the target with every shot. The atmosphere is exceptionally poised, and the bar does not have many seats, but this only adds to its splendor. The staff is wise and proudly displays their meticulous research behind every drink. Besides the cocktails, this bar has one of the most abundant supplies of whiskey in town, with over 200 labels of both single-malt scotch whiskeys and exotic blends from all over the world.
Ripa di Porta Ticinese, 43
Mag Cafè is not a place, but rather a state of mind. It’s much like Milan: crowded, yet offers you hidden corners of peace away from the chaos of the city. This is the kind of place where you can start a conversation just by looking at the decor, suspended in time where one goal is clear: to guarantee the best possible drink experience for the guests. The drink list changes every six months, so we advise to not postpone your next visit for long. The bar’s antique furniture was donated from an old Argentinian pharmacy. All in all, it’s just what the doctor ordered.
The Botanical Club
Gin is king at this cocktail bar. With two locations, the original in Isola and the second in the lively Via Tortona, the cocktail menu was finely tuned to highlight the botanical qualities of gin, though there are plenty of other options if spirits aren’t your thing. The Botanical Club also happens to be Italy’s first small-batch gin distillery, and one of the few places where you can try their spectacular “Spleen et Idéal” branded gin, which seems to sell out before it even hits the shelves.
Via Solferino, 33
Viale Vittorio Veneto, 28
Easily one of Milan’s most stylish bars in Milan (and that’s saying something). With its polished concrete bar, brass fittings, and dim lights, you’ll feel like you’ve just stepped into the ultimate bachelor pad. Dry Milano is easily one of Milan’s most stylish bars (and that’s saying something). With its polished concrete bar, brass furnishings, and soft lighting, you’ll feel like you just stepped into the ultimate bachelor pad. Order yourself a beautifully balanced Old Fashioned, have a bite of their focaccia, and relax in their mysterious, dreamy atmosphere. Make sure to also check out their second location in the Repubblica District: the same quality, but with more seats.
Via Orti, 4
One of our personal favorites, Lacerba effortlessly matches anything New York or London has to offer in terms of precision and innovation but checks their ego at the door. Inspired by the Futurist magazine of the same name, Lacerba’s menu favors bewildering flavors, unexpected combinations, and inventive updates on old classics. It all adds up to a dizzyingly great experience, or maybe we should just slow down with the Sazeracs.
Via Marcello Malpighi, 7
Eppol wouldn’t feel out of place in Williamsburg or Shoreditch. With a bar that comes finished in exquisite marble and dark wood, surrounded by exposed brick and a garden wall, it’s the perfect blend of elegance and grunge. The cocktails are authentic yet brilliantly balanced, and it’s what’s inside your glass, not the glass itself or the garnish, that’s the main focus of this place.
Via San Fermo, 1
A crossroads of a bistro and a cocktail bar, TIBI is a little French corner hidden behind a small door at Via San Fermo 1, preserving its atmosphere despite the tourism and passing trends of the city. The specialty here is the gin (expressed in over two hundred labels), but their version of the Moscow Mule, the African Mule, continues to be the talk of the town.
Ripa di Porta Ticinese, 63
Another quirky vintage bar in Navigli, walking into Pinch’s parlor feels like going back in time to the golden age of the 1940s. Everything from the vintage furniture, sepia-tone photographs, and eccentric staff uniforms help to create the feeling that you’ve traveled not only back in time, but out of Navigli and into Prohibition-era America. Let the bar staff in their snazzy vests whip you up something that not only looks spectacular but will take your breath away.
Via Corsico, 12
Ugo publicly calls itself ‘’The Unusual Bar.’’ Great! Who wants to be “normal” anyway? The décor, complete with old tennis racquets, candelabras, and tea sets, looks like a scene straight out of the early 20th Century. Meanwhile, the cocktail list blends a wide range of classics, with some intriguing (or should I say ‘’unusual’’) modern concoctions.
Via F. Argelati, 35
Talea creates something new out of allegedly incompatible elements. Semi-hidden on the Navigli streets, this place was born from the collaboration between mixologist Filippo Sisti and the Pinch team. Unique in its style, with a botanical influence, Talea creates incredibly beautiful (and delicious) “inebriating” brews, similar to a work of art, that are a pleasure for the eyes and the palette. You have to try, at least once, the tasting menu in the Vivarium, a real novelty in Milan.
Ripa di Porta Ticinese, 43
Another mysterious offering from the boys of MAG Cafè, Backdoor43 calls itself the smallest bar in the world. Knock on the window and Mr. V, the only Mixologist in town that wears a mask, will make you a takeaway cocktail. You can’t ask any questions, you can’t try to open the window, and you must leave once you get your cocktail. Unless, of course, you’ve managed to secure the room for two hours. Backdoor43 has room for only 4 people at a time, so choose your friends wisely!
Piazza Ventiquattro Maggio, 8
The Doping Club in the Yard Hotel offers an experience that makes you feel like a dapper English gentleman. The Doping Club serves refined, dandy-themed cocktails that pack a punch. Only a few know that, inside The Doping Club, there’s another one of the city’s excellent concepts: the Wootsu Society. The name refers to one of the oldest secret societies in Asia, while the atmosphere is a dark whirlwind that makes guests feel nostalgic. To join Wootsu, you have to get on Mr. Lee’s good side.
Via San Gregorio, 40
From the same family that runs the Mag Cafè, Barba is a mixology cocktail bar with a surprising concept. Here, the music is king, and a love for vinyl is flaunted without fear of judgment. The menu is not only innovative but printed on both sides of a 45 rpm. In addition to the great classics, the drinks are an ode to experimentation, prepared with the best products on the market, along with some ‘’special’’ in-house offerings on a secret menu. Making a choice will be difficult.
Via Tiraboschi, 2
A Mixology cocktail bar and restaurant with Asian influences, Dhole takes daring ingredients and flavors from the East and translates them in their drinks. Enjoy these exotic flavors and combinations from across the globe while surrounded by chic wallpaper, furniture, and soft lighting.
Via Mario Fusetti, 1
Iter is the first fusion cocktail bar in Milan by Nicola Scarnera and (again) Flavio Angiolillo & Co, with a nomadic soul that takes guests from Italy to the world. In fact, every six months, the team of chefs, bartenders, and photographers pack their suitcases and travel to another country for a week of exploring culinary cultures and traditions to reinterpret them back in Milan. The proposed menus, therefore, are a real gastronomic ‘’airport’’ full of peculiar combinations that transport you to the exotic location itself.
Via Piacenza, 15
Dark velvet sofas, light fixtures, mirrors, and a mahogany counter fill the main hall, while the second room combines velvet curtains and large tables. The Spirit is a bar and club with a charming retro taste that’s perfect for a drink. Here, you can enjoy some exclusive benefits, such as reserving a section of a room, participating in special events, enjoying “luxury” bottles, and taking advantage of tailor-made drink services.
Alzaia Naviglio Grande, 12
Tucked away in a hidden corner of Navigli, GinO12 (attached to the restaurant Officina 12) is one of the best places in Milan to enjoy a gin and tonic, or gin-inspired cocktail. With its long metallic bar and exposed red brick walls, GinO12 feels like more like Manhattan than Milan. The only problem here is trying to narrow down your choice of gin from the impressively wide selection of gins from all around the world.
Via Alberto da Giussano, 2
At Rufus, creativity reigns supreme inside the exposed brick venue. This avant-garde cocktail bar and mixologists are sure to entice with exotic blends and new recipes prepared with seasonal products to be enjoyed under glamorous and imposing chandeliers that create a pleasant flood of light throughout the space. Here, vintage and modern go hand in hand.
Via Plinio, 32
Photo credit Vivi Milano
Not far from Corso Buenos Aires, Drinc is one of the more inventive and accomplished cocktail bars to grace Milan’s drink scene. It’s an intimate and relaxing place to get away from the hustle and bustle of one of the city’s busiest streets and to broaden your horizons with some spectacular combinations. Bartender Luca Marcellin has put together a compelling and authentic cocktail list that we consider a must-try.
Pravda Vodka Bar
Via Carlo Vittadini, 6
If vodka is your poison, we recommend this fiery Russian-inspired joint in Via Vittadini. Our go-to is the Vodkatini, made with Moskovskaya Cristall premium vodka. Or skip the pomp and circumstance and do as the Russians do: take it straight. Na zdorovie!
Via Plinio, 39
2016 was a rough year. We lost some incredible pioneers in art, music, literature, and mixology. Bar Basso’s chief barman, Mirko Stocchetto, may have left us in November, but his world-famous concoction, the Negroni Sbagliato, lives on. Rumor has it that Stocchetto accidentally mixed prosecco in a Negroni instead of gin, but when he tasted it, he realized he was onto something. Stocchetto started serving his Negroni Sbagliato made to order with a single large ice cube in a tall glass in Venice. Order two Sbagliati: one for yourself and one for Mirko.