Where to go to Aperitivo in Milan, Italy

Continuing in the The Guide to Italian Aperitivo, today’s final installment talks about: Where to go to Aperitivo in Milan

This question about where to go to aperitivo in Milan is almost faster answered by examining where they don’t serve aperitivo! Milan has many neighborhoods full of clusters of bars and restaurants that serve aperitivo and this is the official opening of the Milanese night. I strongly suggest checking out a list of all aperitivo bars according to Milano Tonight, where you can also search by zone.

I concentrated on several areas of Milan that are easy to get to, and have a lot of options. For any tourists or those undecided, I would recommend heading to the Navigli or Corso Como areas for an aperitivo as there are many different places just feet from each other. If you don’t like one of my suggestions, you can go somewhere else!

Corso Como

Corso Como is a short, pedestrian area that connects Stazione Garibaldi with Brera, full of boutique shops, bars, and discos (including the famous Hollywood disco). [Metro: Garibaldi]

Lollapaloosa Indoor and outdoor seating with a substantial buffet. Just don’t get there too late – they kick out everyone around 10 to reopen a bit later when dancing on the bars and tables happens. [Corso Como, 15]

Executive Lounge One of the first places I had aperitivo in when I moved to Italy, its large, mostly outdoor sitting area filled with overstuffed sitting cushions is set way back from the street and makes it a bit of an oasis in a grey cement jungle. [Via A. Di Tocqueville, 3]

Corso Como 10 Its address doubles as the name of this complex. A plain-looking door with a bouncer camouflages an interior garden and a hidden store packed with the choicest designer items and gadgets you probably can’t afford until after a few drinks. Drinks are not cheap, and the aperitivo is not plentiful. But it’s all about the atmosphere. If you get there early enough, you can cruise the store before sitting down to an aperitivo and suggestive tunes in the background. Check out their bookstore on the 1st floor as well.

Other aperitivo places worth mentioning in Corso Como: I sometimes head to Ganas [Corso Como, 2] when I want some tortilla-inspired aperitivo (don’t expect Mexican food), Dom Cafe [Corso Como, 5], Caffè Novecento [Corso Como, 9].

Brera

If you’ve moved on from Corso Como and head south, you’ll run into the very popular Brera zone. There are a lot of restaurants and sushi bars here in this area. [Brera area: Metro Moscova]

Radetzky Possibly one of the most “fighetto” (posh) bars around, on a nice night the square in front of this bar fills up with hundreds of people in suits, carrying motorino helmets and checking out…everyone. [Largo La Foppa, 5]

Gold Cafe One of the most substantial aperitivo buffets I know, it’s a quick favorite for when we need ape/dinner. Indoor and outdoor seating. [Corso Garibaldi, 89]

Da Claudio. A few doors down from Obika in Brera, for something different, this is a fish market that also offers a raw fish aperitivo at lunch and dinnertime with a glass of prosecco. [Via Ponte Vetero, 16 – Brera : www.pescheriadaclaudio.it]

Other aperitivo places worth mentioning in Brera: Utz Food & Motion [Via Solferino, 48], Moscatelli wine bar [Corso Garibaldi, 93], Fashion Cafe’ [Via San Marco, 1].

Sempione Area

Behind the Sempione park, at the Arco della Pace, there are a lot of bars gathered together. Just Cavalli is technically inside the park, on its border, or you can go to Bar Bianco, smack dab in the middle of Parco Sempione. [Sempione area: Metro: Cadorna / Cordusio / Moscova with some walking]

BhangraBar They have themed nights from Wed-Sun, and their aperitivo is usually based on Indian food, with Thursdays dedicated to a “Meltin’Pot” international crowd. [Corso Sempione,1]

Living. Filled with big-cushioned, low-set seating, the food spread is worth mentioning, if you can maneuver the crowd! Lots of outside seating and standing room on a nice evening with the park in sight. [Piazza Sempione, 2]

Other aperitivo places worth mentioning near Sempione: Cantine Isola (wine bar) [Via Paolo Sarpi, 30], Roialto – lots of specialty, fresh-cooked food stands but spread out throughout the place which = many lines. [Via Piero della Francesca, 55].

San Lorenzo Area and Porta Ticinese

The San Lorenzo / Ticinese area, a short walk away from the Piazza del Duomo, is very popular for the younger set – you can buy beers at a local walk-up and drink them in front of the San Lorenzo columns or go inside one of the nearby establishments.

Try Exploit [Via Pioppette, 3] for a more “elegant” (read: posh) aperitivo right in the middle of the SL action, Trattoria Toscana [Corso di Porta Ticinese, 58 : www.trattoriatoscana.net] which has a back garden off of the restaurant which will be packed all night with a mixed, international crowd; or Venti 20 [Via Celestino IV, 9] which has a large aperitivo offering surrounded by bottlecap art.

Other aperitivo places worth mentioning in Ticinese: Colonial Fashion Cafe [Via De Amicis, 12], Yguana [Via Papa Gregorio XIV, 16], Cheese [Via Celestino IV, 11].

The Navigli

The Navigli, or “canals” radiate throughout the city but where they converge is where the action is. Several streets full of clubs and restaurants make up the area called the Navigli, and many of these places turn into disco-pubs and have dancing later on in the evening.

Listing all of the places you could go would take forever, and to be honest, I don’t have a favorite. It’s nice to walk up and down the canals and decide where to stop as the mood (and their mood music) hits you.

On the Naviglio Pavese: Slice [Via Ascanio Sforza, 9] or Spazio Movida [Via Ascanio Sforza, 41], Maya for some tortilla-inspired aperitivo [Via Ascanio Sforza, 41]. On/near the Naviglio Grande: Indiana Post [Via Casale, 7], Momo [Ripa di Porta Ticinese, 23].

Miscellaneous Aperitivo Places in Milan

But by no means less interesting!

7th floor Rinascente. A newly restructured gastronomic floor of this department store reopened last fall, complete with larger balcony overlooking Milan’s Duomo and a choice of places to enjoy an aperitivo. Don’t expect a buffet, but a nice drink and a view. Get some (expensive) food souvenir shopping done while you’re there! [Metro: Duomo]

Princi. A small, minimalist-decorated chain of bakeries throughout the city that also offer something at aperitivo time. A few are open 24 hours. [www.princi.it – Via Mercato/Brera – Metro: Moscova, Duomo or Garibaldi stops.]

Obika Now opening a new seat in NYC and a second seat in Rome, the mozzarella bar that started in Rome with a Japanese-sounding name has become quite known for its mozzarella bar and accompanying aperitivo made with their fresh mozzarella. Take note, their aperitivo stops at 8pm, so be sure and pass by early! Obika is also on the 7th floor of Rinascente. [Via Mercato, 28/Brera or Rinascente at Metro: Duomo]

Noon. So close to Chocolat Gelateria, you can get an ice cream before or after! [Via Giovanni Boccaccio, 4, Metro: Cadorna]

Do you have a favorite aperitivo place I didn’t list? Tell us all in the comments (and please include the metro stop and/or address if possible!)

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Comments

  1. says

    Thank you sara! This is a list I plan to print and carry with me, you never know! I will let you know how my first aperitivo Milanese goes… We plan to go to the big city this week.

  2. Lieludalis says

    This is an excellent series. It is one of the unique social aspects of Italy/Milan that we enjoyed while living there. This is definitely something people should experience when visiting Milan, and it helps to have a good idea of what to expect. We were so confused the first time we ordered drinks during aperitivo hours! Thank you for exploring this ritual in such detail!

  3. says

    The Sand Cafe has a great spread, including dessert later in the evening, and they’ve got a big projector/TV thing for soccer match nights.

    Sand Cafe – Via Gaspare Aselli 7 – 20133 Milano – 0270123136 – sandcafe (d0t) it

    Nearest “metro” stop is Dateo, which is quite a walk away, but the #5 tram gets you very close on Via Beato Angelico.

  4. Suzanne says

    I was in Milan about 6 years ago and used to spend practically all of my time at a great little outdoor place near porta monforte. It was about three blocks east of there on Via Pisacane in the grassy area that divides Corso Indipendenza. Not sure if it’s still there, not sure what it’s called. If anyone knows of it, let me know! All the ‘regulars’ called the owner “Pino” and were treated like VIPs with a special seating section.

  5. Julie says

    you should try Vinodromo (via Salasco 21), it’s one of my favourite place in Milan. You can have a glass of wine or prosecco with excellent food (great variety of ham-salami and cheese but also daily hot plates like soups).
    Julie

  6. Sara says

    Hi Sara,
    I LOVE This information about Aperitivo Italiano! I will be going to Milan in May. Do you think could update your recommendations?
    THANKS!

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