In Porta Venezia, the eccentricity of the cultural district is reflected in its restaurants, which are framed by Art Nouveau architecture. A few kilometers away, a sense of trendy liveliness fills Brera and Moscova. Meanwhile, in the south, the crowded canals of the Navigli are supported by the diversity of Porta Romana, which aims to satisfy everyone’s tastes. Then there is Isola and Garibaldi, which reveal charming courtyards and rooftops between glimpses of street art and well-known designer brands. And finally, the City Center offers the most romantic drinks, in the presence of historical beauty.
In Milan, where time is marked by aperitifs with a capital “A,” toasts are made under starry skies with after-dinner snacks. Each neighborhood serves as the backdrop to a cosmopolitan city full of opportunities and Meccas of Mixology. In these drinking temples, the drink lists strictly follow the “whims” of the season and the skilled bartenders. Sipping a simple Bloody Mary or venturing outside your comfort zone with something special makes no difference, for every drink in every neighborhood offers a comprehensive sensory experience.
We decided to select the best from each district, and voilà! Here are some of the best cocktail bars among Milan’s central areas, chosen by you and by us!
Via Marcello Malpighi, 7
The shared passion of the owners for good food, liquor, and nightlife have given rise to Eppol, a non-conformist bistro and cocktail bar that’s both elegant and grunge, exotic and Mediterranean, and intuitive and creative. Once you enter this retro, vintage room, with some more modern gems, you feel like you’re walking through different eras. Here, the drink list here changes according to the seasons, so go and see what it has in store for you now! With happy hours and aperitifs, the drinks are rich in unique ingredients processed with new cooking techniques. Great attention is also paid to the appearance of the cocktails when mixing, along with the careful selection of garnishes and various decorations. The distillates, used as a base, together with the liquors, come from different cultures all around the world. All the products are high quality and are skillfully combined with spices, aromas, syrups, and homemade recipes to create cocktails blended with both the traditions of mixology and a good dose of imagination.
Via Panfilo Castaldi, 25
At the corner of Via Settala, not far from the lively Via Lecco, Via Panfilo Castaldi 25 is a totally British experience that welcomes customers with a family atmosphere reminiscent of your childhood living room. The Kilburn, led by the up-and-coming Ennio Lettera, splits its heart between England and Italy, London and Milan, and the Queen’s country and our Porta Venezia, where days are savored with a sip of a cocktail and gourmet dishes. Behind the wooden counter, the patròn shows off his bartender skills, quenching your thirst with sophisticated drinks. There is a blend of aromas, colors, and flavors, prepared with luxury whiskeys, selected rums, and premium spirits. Here, forget about the 5 o’clock tea because you can take part in a tasting journey through the best mixology and gastronomy England has to offer.
Viale Piave, 1
Nottingham Forest has an excellent stock, boasting a wealth of about 2,000 spirits to choose from, which has led them to spend the last eight consecutive years topping the list of the 50 Best Pubs in the World among mixology pioneers. Their global success, history, and experience have allowed them to satisfy a diverse clientele for over 40 years. The restaurant can only be defined as a fusion, uniting exotic styles (Oriental, Caribbean, African) with avant-garde cocktails. These intoxicating mixes are based on the philosophy of molecular gastronomy. If you want to try something experimental, you know where to go!
TIBI BISTROT PROVENÇAL
Via San Fermo, 1
Typically, those who want a getaway in the Provence go to the Tibi Bistrot Provençal, a small, local restaurant in Brera that satisfies its clientele with treasures of foreign cuisine, including creative drinks and delicacies that parade on trays and tables under soft lighting. The new menu has been ready for a few weeks now (we tried it, have you?) and pleases everyone’s palate, offering both daring and traditional recipes from the south of France. However, enjoy a layover in Japan thanks to mixology with a Japanese twist. The new cocktails of the season are a feast of unusual ingredients (no spoilers) that transport you overseas, along with homemade dishes (tropical beer), faithfully backed by mixology historians (make sure to check out their classic African Mule), and followed by French wines, sparkling wines, and champagne. The choice is yours.
Corso Garibaldi, 104
Whether it’s a harsh winter or a hot summer, aperitifs and after-dinner drinks spent contemplating the beautiful Gucci Arti Wall are found at Chinese Box. For some years now, a good part of the nightlife in the area crowds the sidewalk of the now iconic Corso Garibaldi cocktail bar with a minimalist design and a family atmosphere. Inside, attention falls on the 7-meter long bar and the flight of liquors on display behind the bar. If you can find a place to sit on the terrace, you’re in luck!
Via Solferino, 33
If the term “Dry” in the age of Prohibition literally meant “dry” and alcohol-free, it becomes a bizarre diametric within the walls of Via Solferino. The stars here are the cocktails that, for those who don’t know, are exceptionally combined with classic and specialty pizzas, and gourmet focaccias with unusual combinations. Dry Milano is a universe full of diverse novelty drinks that await you, presented #aftermidnight. Only at this location, the kitchen doesn’t stop from Tuesday to Sunday. The night owls can taste some exceptional specialties by chef Lorenzo Sirabella from midnight until one o’clock! Go and find out what’s in store for you!
RITA & COCKTAILS
Via Angelo Fumagalli, 1
In 2002, when the concept of happy hour was beginning to spread on the Milanese streets, Edoardo and Gianluca opened the doors of their cocktail bar, marking the beginning of a new era in the drink world, where “drinking well” became possible. Since then, Rita & Cocktails by Edoardo and Gianluca is still a historic institution on the Navigli. It is the place where the excellent Gin Zen was born, as well as a must-stop for the most daring explorers of mixology. Everything here revolves around the wooden counter where bartenders juggle experimental and colorful drinks. The drink lists are subject to periodic changes that follow the whims and fresh concepts of the whole team. And if the refreshments (and even the furniture) always make you feel at home, you can be sure that your glass is full of fresh, natural, and carefully selected raw ingredients.
Ripa di Porta Ticinese, 43
The story of Flavio Angiolillo and his team is a story that we all know well. They are skilled, sophisticated scholars of taste, and travelers, but above all incurable creatives who, with their ”revolutionary” concepts and exclusive drink lists, have created a mixology empire of cocktail bars in Milan. The MAG Café, among these, could be considered the headquarters with its 1930s style full of unique pieces and playful sophistication. This lounge overlooks the Naviglio Grande and remains their best-kept secret, even if everyone knows about it. Try their great drinks on the new spring-summer menu! Let our review serve as inspiration for your next trip over to Navigli!
PINCH – SPIRITS & KITCHEN
Ripa di Porta Ticinese, 63
Pinch is for hopeful time travelers. Here, amid an atmosphere made of soft yellow light and faded fabrics, vintage furniture and a staff that rocks suspenders, you get to relive the 1930s and 1940s! The cocktails are almost as extravagant as the location itself, and the bartenders have fun with spirits, vermouths, liquors, bitters, and spices for their creations, which can be sipped comfortably around one of the outdoor tables. And if you get hungry but don’t want to get up, rest assured the chefs in the kitchen know how to delight your taste buds.
Via Tiraboschi, 2
A cocktail bar and restaurant where the aromas, flavors, spices, and traditions of the Terre di Levante are blended to create delicious dishes and “intoxicating drinks” ready for discovery, Il Dhole is a crossroads that bridges Porta Romana, Milan, and Italy to the Eastern countries with a cuisine and mixology of exotic infusions. Here, the bartenders’ cocktails are dedicated to a different city in Asia and are distinguished by bold combinations from the menu that you can’t help but fall in love with. The new drink list recounts another journey, from Central Asia to the Middle East, passing through the Southeast, to bring together Chinese mythology, Shintoism, Hinduism, Japanese Buddhism, and pagan traditions. Worship Inari, the Japanese Kami god of rice, tea, love, and success, with Sakura Tea and shrub with rice vinegar, or Raijin, god of thunder and lightning, with cocktails with bitters, or land in Thailand in a battle between Narai and Rahoo for the Amarit, the elixir of immortality, to conquer the world. Ready to go?
LACERBA – QUISIBEVE
Via Orti, 4
Combine chaos, the cosmos, art, futurism, and voila! Welcome to QUISIBEVE in Lacerba. This eccentric bar of the renowned restaurant in Via Orti is especially appreciated by those who never tire of the bustling Milanese nightlife spots that have an impetuous spirit and a vintage style. The aperitifs are a sacred ritual to enjoy while extending your stay with appetizers accompanied by a glass of wine, one of the specialty drinks, or one of the Bloody Marys (yes, there are several variations). And remember that “drinking quality cocktails” within these walls is a necessity and a promise that are both achieved (try it to believe it).
Via Piacenza, 15
Perhaps, for those who don’t know, it may be challenging to find the front door. The regulars know what lies behind it, and the most curious onlookers, once they discover it, will come back again and again. With dark velvet sofas, playful lights, mirrors, a magnificent mahogany counter, and small tables, The Spirit is a retro cocktail bar where you go to unwind from the urban frenzy and break the monotony of the work week. The spirits, local and international, are the stars of the full menu, with several luxury bottled brands. At The Spirit, your drink holds the flavors of the world inside it!
Via San Gregorio, 40
Il Barba is one of the brothers in the MAG Cafè family by Flavio Angiolillo & Co., who is in love with music. Here, you have the opportunity to choose the background music while you drink with friends, colleagues, and soulmates. Their passion for vinyl is profound, as the menus brought to the table on 45 rpm. The themes of the drink list change periodically and celebrate the decades that made us dance the most. Deciding which cocktail to drink is never a simple task. The mixologists create new colors and taste with carefully studied, bold combinations, a trademark of the Angiolillo team, that the bravest among us are always up to try. If you have not yet found yourself on the weekend at Via San Gregorio 40, our advice is not to waste any more time. Who knows, you might meet your soulmate as the lyrics of your favorite artist play softly behind you.
Via Thaon di Revel, 3
Open at almost every hour every single day in one of the most lively districts of Milan, we welcome wine lovers and fans of pre and after dinner stops in a fascinating location. The Deus Café, the son of an Australian motorcycle, bicycle, surfboard, clothing and accessory brand, is accessed through a small entrance hall that leads out to a charming courtyard dotted with pergolas and comfortable sofas. This little energetic world attracts a varied clientele who want a break spent in total relaxation. Here, there is no room for the frenetic rhythms of the outside world, only the chance to enjoy and savor every moment peacefully.
CERESIO 7 POOLS & RESTAURANT
Via Ceresio, 7
Aperitifs by the pool with delicious food, as well as glamorous lunches and dinners with the Milanese skyline in the background are found at Ceresio 7. A short walk from the Corso Como nightlife scene is one of the most adored rooftops in the city, which offers a true escape from the city streets and architecture, whose grandeur sometimes hinders the view of the horizon more than necessary. When you go there for the first time, if it feels a bit like New York, rest assured we get it. Come here in the evening to watch the sunset and experience tranquility.
Via San Raffaele, 3
The STRAF bar greets the nearby Duomo from Via San Raffaele. With windows that look out onto the street of the famous STRAF hotel (a member of Design Hotels), it is a landmark for travelers and faithful lovers of Milanese nightlife, and a happy haunt full of chatter and aperitifs with live music and DJ sets. Accommodating but not informal, it reflects the concept and style of the hotel structure, with a well-thought-out interior that plays on the mix between ultra-modern decor and vintage furniture from the 70s. From sunset on, the beats from the music selection come to life, as happy hour always lasts until late in the evening and pours out onto the street.
Corso Venezia, 15
Where relaxation is glamorous, The Martini Bar is the result of the collaboration between Martini and Dolce&Gabbana who wanted to combine their shared traits, (made in Italy tradition and modernity) to create a peaceful spot in Centro Storico that offers customers a complete sensory experience. The atmosphere is chic, and the lunches, aperitifs, and dinners contain the flavors and colors of Sicilian cuisine, with an imaginative touch by the chef who dares to go out of the box. Everything pairs well with quality cocktails, ça va sans dire, and great wine labels, to be enjoyed in the beautiful outdoor area.
Largo Augusto, 1
From morning coffee to mid-afternoon drinks, taking a break after a shopping trip through the streets of the Quadrilatero is a must. The Baxter Bar is a street lounge with a style and furniture that is attentive to every detail, capable of recreating a pleasant atmosphere that feels like home, while the chaos of the city fades like a memory. Toast your drinks while surrounded by marble and brass, playful colors, and a mix of materials and exceptional finishes. While the city passes by, within these walls, time slows down, and you can enjoy every moment peacefully.