The fashion capital of the world and a city that exudes magnitudes of class, Milan will also wet your whistle with its myriad of extravagant bars. Whether you are looking for a classic Campari or Negroni or feeling daring enough to try out some molecular spirits created by seasoned mixologists, there is a bar in Milan that can cater to your unique cravings. Large or tiny, the most luxurious bars in Milan come in all types of styles, as well.
Luxurious Cocktail Bars in Milan
Nottingham Forest Cocktail Bar
Situated only a few streets away from Duomo di Milano and about ten minutes from the metro, Nottingham Forest Cocktail Bar is not only a highly recommended bar in Milan, but it also lands on countless World's Best Bars lists. A hidden gem, you have to pay attention to find Nottingham Forest, or you might walk right past it. Be sure not to pass it up, because once you find your way through the wooden door into the warm and cosy vibe, it is worth the time spent there - even if you have to wait in line to earn a seat.
This teeny bar does not afford space for large crowds and does not take reservations, but those who are fortuitous (and patient) enough to get a seat will experience unforgettable molecular magic created by the mad scientists behind the bar. In this peculiar little place, eccentric aperitifs come served in all forms of chemical phases – solids are transformed into liquids and vice versa, multiple colours are swirled together to create delightful compositions, and some spirits even smoke, foam, and vaporize into thin air, right before your very eyes.
Dario Comino, the master mixologist at Nottingham Forest Bar, is known around the world for his astonishing spirit creations. Warning: do not be surprised if your cocktail is served in a miniature bathtub, shoe, skull, or music box.
Viale Piave 1, Palestro
(+39) 02 79 83 11
Open: 18:30-02:00, Sunday 18:30-01:00
An authentic rooftop bar experience in the Sempione Park in central Milan, Terrazza Triennale is both a bar and a restaurant that serves extravagant Italian cuisine with vegan and vegetarian options, beer, wine, and signature cocktails atop the Palazzo dell'Arte. If you are looking for an escape from the tourist-laden bars and restaurants near the Castle and Duomo, Terrazza Triennale is a unique find that is typically frequented by locals.
This lavish bar is affectionately called “Osteria con Vista,” by the owners - the tavern with the view – and it lives up to the name beyond all expectations. As you look across the lush trees, the tops of them nearly close enough to touch, you get a feel for the expansive scope of Sempione Park. Beyond the park, your eyes can feast on the fantastic view of the peak of one of the largest citadels in Europe, the Sforza Castle, as well as the Porta Nuova and Garibaldi areas.
On your way up to the bar, the live vegetable garden that the chefs pull from to season the food will amaze you. If it were not for the tables, chairs, bar, and bar stools, Terrazza Triennale might be mistaken for a greenhouse. The walls and ceiling are made of glass held together with metal frames designed with a modern and chic architectural allure. Surrounding the glass-enclosed bar is an outside terrace sprinkled with tables and chairs, the perfect place to enjoy a drink and the marvellous views of Milan out in the fresh air. During the day, there is an extra shimmer as the sunlight reflects off of the metal framework and glass, and at night, the panoramic view of the stars and night sky create an ethereal environment like no other.
Whether you are hungry for an Italian meal or just want a luxurious cocktail, Terrazza Triennale is a spectacular bar to put on your list. Try the crème brulee or tiramisu for dessert, or you can keep it simple and order a coffee while enjoying the incredible views. It is advisable to make a reservation before you head there, though, because the restaurant and bar can get crowded quickly.
Viale Alemagna Emilio, 6
(+39) 02 3664 4330
Open: Tuesday-Thursday 18:00-01:00
The Dry Milano bar can be found at two different locations, each one similar, yet different. Dry is the place to go if you are craving late-night gourmet pizza and cocktails, and they also offer vegan and vegetarian options.
If you are in the Brera District, visit Dry Milano Via Solferino 33 in the centre of Milan, where the techno house music plays all night long in the trendy, cosmopolitan atmosphere. It is not deafening, but definitely loud enough to let you know you are in a bar and not a restaurant. While ultimately informal, Dry is a bar where you will see a mixture of tourists, locals, businessmen and women, couples, and smaller groups of people enjoying a good time.
If you prefer to get away from the music, however, there is a separate room in the back where you can sit, drink and eat. The bar gets busy quickly, and you cannot make reservations for the bar area, but you can make them for the seating area. However, they expect you to leave within your allotted one hour and a half if you make a reservation.
Request a seat at the bar while you are waiting for your table, so you can get started with your drinks. For starters, ask for their signature Bee's Knees cocktail and their focaccia, two highly recommended items on their menu. Several of the main dishes are available in smaller portions to sample and share. To top it all off, try out the Dry's interpretation of Il Bombolone, a hot, crispy doughnut with pistachio ice cream inside.
Dry Milano Vittorio Veneto 28 is the sister bar, located in Porta Nuova, just a hop, skip, and a jump from Porta Venezia, and within walking distance of the Gallery of Modern Art and the main train station. The menus are the same: upscale, modernized pizza choices and cocktails, and the service at both bars could improve a bit at the most active times. A few tables are situated outside of the bar if you wish to sit outdoors.
Vittorio Veneto 28 or
Via Solferino 33
(+39) 02 6347 1564
Open: Monday – Thursday 6:00 p.m. - 1:00 a.m.
Friday – Saturday 6:00 p.m. - 1:30 a.m.
Luxury Hotel Bars in Milan
A more elegant, sophisticated experience with a tranquil atmosphere, the Bamboo Bar sits on the inside of the seventh floor of the Armani Hotel Milano. Enjoy extraordinary panoramic views of Milan through the louvred windows as tall as the double volume ceiling while sipping on a cocktail, beer, or wine from their prestigious list of choices. Taralli and olives (that are remarkably delicious, by the way) are brought to the table with your order.
A stunning minimalist design, all of the features of the entire bar are square or rectangular shaped, beige as the main colour, backlit with onyx features. Square lamps are placed strategically on end tables next to the chairs that look more like leather love seats with small accent pillows, adding a casual chic appeal that travels you back in time and transports you into the future simultaneously. The breathtaking view of the Milan skyline is probably the best part of the décor, however, regardless of the time of day.
Rumoured to provide some of the best services in Milan, the trendy and busy Armani Bamboo Bar happily accepts reservations. If you are planning to visit, especially during Aperitivo Happy Hour (6:30 p.m. - 9 p.m.), you may want to call ahead to ensure that seating will be available. Keep an eye on their Twitter and Facebook pages, as they announce when live bands will be playing.
Via Manzoni 31
(+39) 28 883 8888
Open: 11 a.m. - 1:00 a.m.
A black resin oval bar that almost looks like a huge conference table at first glance is the centrepiece of this glamorous bar that overlooks a secret garden of sorts through a wall of ceiling-high windows. Before you can experience this elegant, yet charming bar, though, you have to find its location down a private street in downtown Milan, tucked inside of a luxurious hotel in Brera. Once you arrive at the entrance of the Bulgari Hotels & Resorts, ask someone who works at the resort where to find the bar.
Bar Bulgari boasts a variety of cocktails for your tasting pleasure, or you can request something special, and the bartender will surprise you. (If you do not have a preference, ask for the exclusive Bulgari Cocktail, which is crafted with gin, Aperol, and fresh pineapple, orange, and lime juices.) The bar also offers a selection of herbal and loose leaf teas, if you prefer. While you sip on your choice of cocktail or tea, small savoury bites are presented throughout your visit from the kitchen. You can also order anything you desire from the full restaurant menu at the bar, where the same dishes are served in a more laid back environment.
Sit inside at the bar or, if the weather permits, enjoy your drinks outside in luxurious and comfortable outdoor seating. The yard lays directly outside of the bar, surrounded by trees and shrubs that effectively create a charming secret garden or private backyard party type of atmosphere. Pick a spot to sit during fashion week, and experience the opportunity to people-watch.
Via Privata Fratelli Gabba, 7B
(+39) 02 805 8051
Open: Breakfast 24h
Lunch 12:30-2:30 p.m.
All day menu 24h
Bar 7:00 a.m. - 1:00 a.m.
Aperitivo 6:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
Dinner 7:30 p.m. - 11:00 p.m.
Brunch 12:30 p.m. - 2:15 p.m.
Afternoon Tea 3:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.
The Doping Club
If you enjoy an atmosphere that is more toward the vintage posh end of the spectrum, The Doping Club (Dandy's Service & Repair) is the bar for you. The moment you walk into the bar, which is situated in the lobby of The Yard Hotel, the eclectic scene reels you back in time to another dimension – presumably, a gentleman's club in Old England.
Every single piece of décor - furniture, wall decoration, objects, tiles, and carpets - in the bar seems to come from a different era. Hues of brown, red, maroon, tan, and grey lend their feel to the retro environment. The random patchwork of all types of imaginable furniture, brown leather couches and mismatched chairs, are situated in pockets created for small social circles. A post office's wooden entrance. Overhead signs read, “gentlemen.” A vintage bicycle poised beside the bar. Bar stools circa the 1950s – or was it 1930s?
The Yard Hotel is located near Navigli, which is set outside of the crowd of Milan's most popular nightlife district. The hotel's ultra-modern apartments and suites come equipped with Nespresso coffee machines, free Wi-Fi, and LCD TVs. At check-in, you will find vintage barber chairs. Behind the check-in desk is the same type of vintage appeal that everyone loves in The Doping Club – shelves stacked ceiling-high with vintage knick-knacks of all sorts from an era long ago - but, you do not have to stay at the hotel to enjoy cocktails at the bar.
Stefano and Omar, the bartenders, used to work at The Savoy in London. Every cocktail on the menu has a story behind it, and besides the vast array of gourmet pizza choices, the menu is packed to the gills with creative Italian cuisine.
The Yard Hotel
Piazza Ventiquattro Maggio 8
(+39) 02 8941 5901
Open: Sunday – Thursday 6 p.m. - 1 a.m.
Friday & Saturday 6 p.m. - 2 a.m.