The best bars in Milan, Italy...

 

For a city break, you will struggle to find better bars than those in Milan. It is a city that oozes class and the famous fashion houses boast their own ultra-chic bars, restaurants and hotels, whilst the cocktail bars are amongst the best in Europe.

 
 
  • Most Milan bars open until 01:00 or 02:00 every day, nightclubs until 03:00 or 04:00
  • Milan bars are at their busiest 19:00 - 22:00 (or 20:00 - 23:00 on Saturdays)
  • Milan is a large city but can still be explored easily by foot if you plan your route
  • Most Milan bars have Aperitivo offers between 18:00 and 21:00 seven days a week, with unlimited free food included for a set price on all drinks. Be careful though, the price of cola, water or beer can be as expensive as cocktails during this period
  • It's usually cheaper to stand at the bar than sit down at a table in Milan bars (normally indicated by "servizo al tavolo"). Sitting outside can cost even more
  • Most Milan bars accept payment by credit or debit card
  • Staff in most Milan bars speak good English
  • Smoking is not allowed in most Milan bars although some may have smoking rooms.
  • Generally, the locals tip, if at all, by just leaving loose change.  A "coperto" cover charge is usually included in the bill

 

 Best Bars Milan ~ Armani Lounge / Photo: milan.armanihotels.com

Best Bars Milan ~ Armani Lounge / Photo: milan.armanihotels.com

1 ~ ARMANI/BAMBOO BAR

Overlooking the magnificient Milan skyline, this exclusive cocktail lounge inside the Armani Hotel Milano is the perfect place to enjoy an Aperitivo with a view. Double volumed ceiling, louvred window wall and backlit onyx features add a touch of elegance. Whilst also possibly the most expensive in town, here you'll find some of the best cocktails in Milan.

Cocktails €20+     Beer (0.5l) €18+  Wine  €13+

Montenapoleone (1 minute walk)

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 Best Bars Milan ~ Nottingham Forest / Photo: nottingham-forest.com

Best Bars Milan ~ Nottingham Forest / Photo: nottingham-forest.com

2 ~ NOTTINGHAM FOREST

One of the world's most famous molecular mixology bars, curiously named after the English football team yet decorated like a tiki bar with African and Asian influences. If Michelin gave stars for cocktails, then this tiny little wooden bar from superstar barman Dario Comino, would certainly boast three. Get there early or expect to queue as reservations are not taken and groups not welcome.

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Porta Venezia (8 minutes walk)

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 Best Bars Milan ~ Bar Basso / Photo: Bar Basso

Best Bars Milan ~ Bar Basso / Photo: Bar Basso

3 ~ BAR BASSO

An historical cocktail bar that has become a real Milanese institution and is best known for its signature invention, the Negroni Sbagliato, which is presented in huge iconic scenographic glasses with large ice cubes. A magnet for the crème de la crème of international designers, design journalists and students, this is a must-visit whilst in Milan.

Cocktails Not known     Beer (0.5l) Not known   Wine  Not known

Lima (9 minutes walk)

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 Best Bars Milan ~ H Club Diana / Photo: hclub-diana.com

Best Bars Milan ~ H Club Diana / Photo: hclub-diana.com

4 ~ H CLUB DIANA

The trendy cocktail lounge bar and beautiful garden at the 4 star Sheraton Diana Majestic hotel is one of the hottest spots in Milan with the movers and shakers of the local fashion and art worlds enjoying the great DJs and signature drinks to make it one of the city's most popular after-work pit stops. Reservations are recommended as it gets busy for Aperitif.

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Porta Venezia (2 minutes)

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 Best Bars Milan ~ Caffe Miani

Best Bars Milan ~ Caffe Miani

5 ~ Caffe Miani / Camparino in Galleria

Unlike most of the bars in the famous Galleria, this stunning cafe bar is a Milan institution. In 1867, Gaspare Campari, opened a shop inside the newly built Vittorio Emanuele II Gallery from which he sold his famous aperitif.  His son, Davide, was actually born inside the Galleria and took over the company, opening the Camparino Bar in 1915.  Following Allied air raids in 1943, the bar was bought by Guglielmo Miani, the tailor to the Larusmiani label and thereafter has seen a repeated succession of the prestigious Milanese aperitifs Campari and Zucca outbidding each other to trademark the bar. Campari took over from Zucca once more in 2012, renaming the bar "Camparino in Galleria" following 16 years of the "Zucca in Galleria" name. Many locals join the huge crowds of tourists to enjoy an Americano cocktail, a Campari or a rhubarb Zucca whilst stood at the historic bar (you pay more when you sit down at a table). 

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Duomo (1 minute walk)

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 Best Bars Milan ~ Backdoor 43 / Photo: Facebook BackDoor43

Best Bars Milan ~ Backdoor 43 / Photo: Facebook BackDoor43

6 ~ BACKDOOR 43

Opened in summer 2015 from the same team as next door neighbour MAG Cafe and the secret 1930 bar (both below), this tiny hole in the wall cocktail bar is one of the most unique concepts we've come across on our travels. At number 43 Ripa di Porta Ticinese, you will find a doorway decorated with bottles and shakers.  Inside the doorway, there's a sign on another door that states "STOP!  The smallest bar in the world".  On your left is a small serving hatch in which appears a barman wearing a V For Vendetta mask.  He will either give you the key for the locked door (you need to book ahead), or take your street drinks order.  You will need to follow the two sets of rules above his head however: "4" is for takeaways and states that you can only order one cocktail at a time, you can not ask any questions, you must leave when you receive your cocktail and you must not try to open the closed door.  There is a menu of five cocktails and one beer to take away and drink along the canal.  The rules for "3" refer to what's behind the locked door;  it only works for uncomplicated guests, the bar is your's alone for two hours and it's open from 19:30 until 03:00.  If you're lucky enough to be given the key, inside you will find a tiny whisky room so small it only holds four people and your barman.  There's a choice of five excellent bourbon based cocktails and an iPad allowing you to choose your own music.  This really is the smallest bar in the world, yet the biggest of ideas. 

Cocktails €6+     Beer (0.5l) €6+

Porta Genova (5 minutes walk)

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 Best Bars Milan ~ Octavius Bar / Photo: replaythestage.com

Best Bars Milan ~ Octavius Bar / Photo: replaythestage.com

7 ~ OCTAVIUS

Opened in March 2015, this beautiful cocktail bar on the first floor of the Replay flagship store on Piazza Gae Aulenti is shaped like a luxury cruise liner. The creamy leather curved seating and plush wooden bar was designed by the same team behind the Zoolander film set. There's over 500 premium spirits and the cocktails are amongst the best in Milan with Francesco Cione being crowned Diageo World Class Italian Barman of the Year 2015.  The Stage restaurant on the same floor offers some stunning food to match the drinks.

Cocktails €15+     Beer (0.5l) Not known   Wine  Not known

Garibaldi (3 minutes walk)

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8 ~ 1930

This invite only secret cocktail bar is, as its name suggests, a 1930's American Prohibition style speakeasy complete with gramophones, a piano, jazz music and punch cocktails. Belonging to Flavio Angiolillo and Marco Russo, the same award-winning cocktail team behind the popular MAG Cafè on Ripa di Porta Ticinese, it's an absolutely stunning venue that transports you back in time to luxurious 1930's hidden Chicago. In true speakeasy style, you will need to access through a tiny unmarked Chinese grocery store. Nottingham Forest (above) barman Teo Rizzolo was drafted in to help with the creative menu and you can see why this is the venue of choice for those in the know. Unfortunately, to gain access you will need a membership card or be a guest of one - they are incredibly selective - and that may involve asking around town for a bit of help.

Cocktails €12+     Beer (0.5l) Not known   Wine  Not known

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 Best Bars Milan ~ Just Cavalli / Photo: Facebook Just-Cavalli-Hollywood

Best Bars Milan ~ Just Cavalli / Photo: Facebook Just-Cavalli-Hollywood

9 ~ JUST CAVALLI

Open seven days a week until 04:00, this incredible club and restaurant from fashion designer Roberto Cavalli and architect Italo Rotais is located at the foot of Parco Sempione's famous Torre Branca viewing tower.  It's a VIP club like no other, aimed at Milan's best looking party-addicted, celebs and socialites. The award-winning signature cocktails are incredible and, of course, made with Roberto Cavalli Vodka. In summer you can dance on the outdoor terrace with two scenic dance floors under the stars.

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Cardona (8 minutes walk)

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 Best Bars Milan ~ Le Biciclette / Photo: lebiciclette.com

Best Bars Milan ~ Le Biciclette / Photo: lebiciclette.com

10 ~ LE BICICLETTE

Located on a quiet side street in the heart of Milan, this former bicycle shop offers cocktails to a backdrop of both hi-tech and minimalist furniture enriched with modern art displays by international artists, which change on a monthly basis, live music and DJs.

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Sant Ambrogio (7 minutes walk)

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 Best Bars Milan ~ Dry Cocktails & Pizza / Photo: drymilano.it

Best Bars Milan ~ Dry Cocktails & Pizza / Photo: drymilano.it

11 ~ DRY

A unique Milan bar that couples unusual pizzas and mixology. Opened in July 2013 by the team behind the ultra cool Pisacco bistrot and Trussardi alla Scala's former two star Michelin chef Andrea Berton. Some of the best cocktails in Milan with signatures mostly built around gin, as well as whisky, pisco, mezcal, tequila, and Campari, alongside contemporary and long forgotten mixes.

Cocktails €10+     Beer (0.5l) Not known   Wine  Not known

Moscova (6 minutes walk)

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 Best Bars Milan ~ Terrazza 12 / Photo: Facebook The-Brian-Barry-Building

Best Bars Milan ~ Terrazza 12 / Photo: Facebook The-Brian-Barry-Building

12 ~ TERRAZZA 12

For this stylish 1950's inspired lounge bar, you will need to take the lift up to the tenth floor of the The Brian&Barry Building fashion store. Opened in March 2015, it overlooks the heart of the city, with a 360° view of the Madonnina and Duomo. Moveable glass walls make it possible to use the terrace all year round and there's simply no better view to enjoy one of the twelve original signature cocktails, created to pair with the food from the Asola restaurant on the floor below.  Open everyday until 01:00

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San Babila (3 minutes walk)

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 Best Bars Milan ~ Luce e Andrea / Photo: lucaeandreanavigli.it

Best Bars Milan ~ Luce e Andrea / Photo: lucaeandreanavigli.it

13 ~ Luca & Andrea Cafe Bar

This relaxed tiny canalside restaurant and bar in the romantic Navigli neighbourhood offers some of the best cocktails in Milan. With great views of the canal, and open daily until 02:00, it is popular with youngsters, the friendly bartenders have won many International cocktail competitions.

Cocktails Not known     Beer (0.5l) Not known   Wine  Not known

Porta Genova (3 minutes walk)

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 Best Bars Milan ~ Radetzky Cafe / Photo: radetzky.it

Best Bars Milan ~ Radetzky Cafe / Photo: radetzky.it

14 ~ RADETZKY CAFE

This fashionable hangout is in named in honor of Joseph Radetzky von Radetz, the Austrian general who, for better or for worse, made he history of the city of Milan by crushing the 1848 Italian uprising. Opened in 1988 and frequented by architects and designers, it mixes a great architectural space with one of the most vibrant atmospheres in Milan, especially for Aperitivo from 19:00.  The traditional cocktails are prepared with care and experience, from such classic aperitifs like, Spritz, Negroni and Martinis to long drinks, whilst the kitchen is also open the same hours as the bar.

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Moscova (1 minute walk)

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 Best Bars Milan ~ Bar Cuore / Photo: cuoremilano.it

Best Bars Milan ~ Bar Cuore / Photo: cuoremilano.it

15 ~ BAR CUORE

Located in the heart of the city's most vibrant nightlife spot, this cool artsy unpretentious bar is popular with students and Milan hipsters. Beautiful retro furniture and ever-changing artwork graces the walls whilst DJs and live bands provide a soundtrack to some fantastic drinks.  If you choose to pay €5 extra for your drink, you'll also get a cool colourful backpack as a memento of your visit.

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Sant Ambrogio (9 minutes walk)

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 Best Bars Milan ~ Terrazza Aperol / Photo: terrazzaaperol.it

Best Bars Milan ~ Terrazza Aperol / Photo: terrazzaaperol.it

16 ~ TERRAZZA APEROL

Opened at the entrance of the famous Galleria in Summer 2012 and overlooking the Duomo, this bar and terrace from the famous Campari-owned Padua aperitif was designed by Antonio Piciulo using the Aperol Spritz cocktail as influence. Bright orange colours and large bubbles fill the room whilst the menu features other drinks too.  Easily the best view in Milan but one of the busiest bars with tourists, especially for Apertivo at 18:00.

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Duomo (1 minute walk)

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 Best Bars Milan ~ Bar Martini / Photo: dolcegabbana.com

Best Bars Milan ~ Bar Martini / Photo: dolcegabbana.com

17 ~ BAR MARTINI

When Dolce & Gabbana's stunning Gold Bar closed down in 2015, many a fashionista shed a tear. However all is well, because across town, at their flagship men's boutique, their collaboration bar with Martini, the Turin vermouth manufacturer, still lives strong.  Originally opened in 2003 it's an elegant black and red venue in which to enjoy the fashion label's style over excellent signature Martini cocktails, including the "Milan", a delicious mix of Martini Rosso, Aperol, gin and saffron.  A terrace at the back is ideal on sunny days

Cocktails Not known     Beer (0.5l) Not known   Wine  Not known

San Babila (3 minutes walk)

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 Best Bars Krakow ~ Plaza Krakow / Photo: plazakrakow.com

Best Bars Krakow ~ Plaza Krakow / Photo: plazakrakow.com

18 ~ Chiringuito Risorgimento

Popular with the locals, and one of a few small outdoor bars operated by the Chiringuito group including the original in San Siro, this particular kiosk is surrounded by the greenery of the park around Piazza Risorgimento. Especially busy in summer, you can enjoy Milanese aperitifs, a good selection of wines and beers and fresh food. Open until 02:00 every day, this is the best way to experience Milan's weather and drink under the stars. There's plenty of screens to watch the football and even a Playstation to keep you occupied.

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San Babila (14 minutes)

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 Best Bars Milan ~ Birrificio Lambrate / Photo: Facebook BirrificioLambrate

Best Bars Milan ~ Birrificio Lambrate / Photo: Facebook BirrificioLambrate

19 ~ BIRRIFICIO LAMBRATE ALDECHI

Opened in 1996, this rough and ready brewpub near Lambrate station is popular with an alternative crowd. Nicknamed "Lo Skunky" and looking like an English pub meets a pirate ship with it's dark woods and copper pipes, this is a far cry from Milan's glitzy fashion house cocktail bars. Up to 4000 litres of non-pasteurized and non-filtered beer is brewed on site each day, making this dive bar one of the pioneers in the Italian craft beer movement. There's twelve regular ales to try, alongside seasonal specials, all made on site.  A second bar with a restaurant has since been opened in 2011, on Via Gogi, a short walk away. 

Cocktails Not known     Beer (0.5l) Not known   Wine  Not known

Lambrate (5 minutes)

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 Best Bars Milan ~ La Cieca / Photo: Facebook laciecaenoteca

Best Bars Milan ~ La Cieca / Photo: Facebook laciecaenoteca

20 ~ LA CIECA

The idea for this charming enoteca wine bar came about one summer when some friends toured the vineyards of Italy together.  Together with bio wines and a selection of wines from small producers, they recall the taverns of old by making the wine the real star.  Apart from a normal menu, which details the producer, vintage and cost, they also offer a mystery “black” menu, in which the only information available is the cost of the wine by the glass, marked under a fantasy name.  These are even served in dark glasses and whilst you can ask any questions you like, you will only get a "No” or “Maybe” reply, before the name of the wine is finally revealed. It's like having your own little wine tour of Milan.  Apertivo 18:30 - 21:00.

Cocktails Not known     Beer (0.5l) Not known   Wine  €4+

Porta Romana (10 minutes)

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 Best Bars Milan ~ Rita / Photo: RitaCocktails

Best Bars Milan ~ Rita / Photo: RitaCocktails

21 ~ RITA

Tucked away in an alley between Porta Ticinese and the Alzaia del Naviglio Grande this legendary bar is one of the most famous in Milan and an absolute must visit for cocktail enthusiasts. Opened in 2002, it remains an alternative to the trendier and more crowded places in Milan, with the onus on the quality drinks made with no syrups or powders and where you can ask the expert bar staff for suggestions.  Visit for Aperitivo; the dishes may be small but they are arguably the most beautiful in the city.

Cocktails  €8+    Beer (0.5l) Not known   Wine  Not known

Porta Genova (6 minutes walk)

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 Best Bars Milan ~ MAG Cafe / Photo: Andrea Buratto Facebook Mag-Cafè

Best Bars Milan ~ MAG Cafe / Photo: Andrea Buratto Facebook Mag-Cafè

22 ~ MAG CAFE

This friendly cocktail bar from Angiolillo Flavio and Marco Russo spawned the 1930 and Backdoor 43 speakeasies (both above).  It remains one of the best bars in town despite the distraction of their new openings.  After choosing from a menu presented in old cocktail books, the drinks are excellent and creative, each served in their own unique glasses bought on the bartender's travels around the world.  The decor is quirky and bohemian with great jazz and blues music making it the ideal place to relax.

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Porta Genova (5 minutes walk)

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 Best Bars Milan ~ The Doping Club / Photo: Facebook The-doping-club

Best Bars Milan ~ The Doping Club / Photo: Facebook The-doping-club

23 ~ THE DOPING CLUB

Located inside The Yard Hotel this high-end cocktail bar is dedicated to the world of sport, with the doping in question being devised by modern alchemists.  Everything about this bar is stunning; from the leather sofas, antique furniture and sporting items, right through to the beautifully crafted cocktails presented in vintage glasses.

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Sant Agostino (12 minutes walk)

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 Best Bars Milan ~ Casa Mia / Photo: Facebook Casa-Mia-Lounge-Bar-Bistrot

Best Bars Milan ~ Casa Mia / Photo: Facebook Casa-Mia-Lounge-Bar-Bistrot

24 ~ CASA MIA LOUNGE BAR & BISTROT

Barman Teo Stafforini's passion to host friends in his living room and enjoy being together in an elegant, warm and cozy environment is the thinking behind “My House”, a homely venue that feels like being in somebody's apartment.  By day it's a welcoming bistro, but by evening the lights are dimmed, candles are lit, music turned up, and cocktails mixed as it transforms into a romantic lounge bar

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Porta Venezia (6 minutes walk)

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 Best Bars Milan ~ Bar Magenta / Photo: Bar-Magenta

Best Bars Milan ~ Bar Magenta / Photo: Bar-Magenta

25 ~ BAR MAGENTA

The oldest bar in Milan, dating back to 1907, transports you back in time to a Milan of days gone by whilst still remaining as vibrant and current today thanks to Serie A, rugby and Premier League football screenings, live music, cocktails and a large beer selection on tap. The dark wood interior and old billiards table resembles more of a traditional English pub than what you would expect of 1900's Milan and it appeals to a wide crowd; businessmen mix with students, locals with tourists, and fashionistas with football fans

Cocktails Not known     Beer (0.5l) Not known   Wine  Not known

Cadorna (3 minutes walk)

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Last updated 3 Feb 2016