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The Best Aperitivo Spots in Milan, Ahead of Salone del Mobile

The Best Aperitivo Spots in Milan, Ahead of Salone del Mobile

There are many different ways to interpret that simple question: “Do you want to grab a drink?” A cocktail or a coffee? A glass of wine or a Coca-Cola? Luckily, Milan is a city where whatever your interpretation of “grabbing a drink” might be, there’s somewhere nearby to serve you.

Here we have made our selection of favorite places to enjoy aperitivo: that classic Italian afternoon or pre-dinner treat of a cocktail and snacks. Some are historic venues and others are new openings—but all of them are perfect for a break from Salone del Mobile, which begins in Milan this week, or in fashion weeks to come.

Bar Basso

Let’s start with a classic: Bar Basso is the place where the Negroni Sbagliato was accidentally created in 1972, and more than 50 years later, it continues to be a favorite of locals who come to catch up with old friends (and make new ones) at the outdoor tables on Via Plinio, illuminated by the famous neon Bar Basso sign. The interior is furnished with design pieces that have made it an especially popular venue during Salone del Mobile. It has an old-school charm, but the buzz is almost always around the tables outside.

Via Plinio 39

Turbo

First opened in 2020, Turbo’s futuristic space includes an event venue, a mixology bar, and a zero-waste restaurant. The space itself is dominated by saturated blue walls that feel like a location from a Wong Kar-Wai film. The decor is modern, but not cold: at its center is a hydroponic greenhouse from which herbs and spices used in cocktails are harvested, and the zero-waste concept helps to determine the ingredients for the dishes prepared in the restaurant, which are always made with care. It’s located on the Naviglio Grande canal, one of the most popular areas to have an aperitivo in Milan—a little removed from the fast pace of the city.

Via Andrea Ponti 4

Combo

Photo: Courtesy of Combo

Whether Milan, Venice, Bologna, and Turin, Combo is always a dependable choice. Serving as both hostels and bars, they also offer rooms to study or work in, and are always set in pleasant surroundings—an island of green, even in the grey of Milan. Equally, Combo is the perfect place to chat with a friend over a drink while gentle music plays in the background.

Ripa di Porta Ticinese 83

Ronin

When people talk about the Ronin, which opened in 2022, they are referring to the entire building in Milan’s Chinatown which looks like a futuristic gateway—and the place that portal leads is definitely Japan. Each floor of the building offers something different, including a karaoke lounge, a restaurant, or a cocktail bar. On the ground floor, there is a tavern and listening bar where vinyl collectors take care of the music selection, above it’s a Japanese fine dining restaurant, and on the floor above that, there’s a hidden cocktail bar dedicated to Japanese mixology—perfect for having an aperitif before it turns into a karaoke bar later in the evening.

Via Alfieri 17

Pasticceria Cucchi

At Pasticceria Cucchi, people are sometimes more likely to order Martinis than coffee—but since 1930 it has been serving both. Cucchi is another historic establishment that is a must-visit if you want to experience the old-school Milanese way of life, as it has been handed down one glass at a time. Family-run for three generations, at its tables on the Corso Genova you can order pastries and a coffee in the morning, and later—until it closes at 9.30 p.m.—a well-made cocktail.

Corso Genova 1

Lido Liquor Bar

Lido Liquor Bar is located in the beautiful Piazzale Cantore, just a stone’s throw from the Navigli and the city center, but not so close that you feel crowded. Here, you can order either a cocktail or wine without any judgment. (Many bars in Milan are decidedly in one camp or the other when it comes to the question of cocktails versus wine.) It begins as a low-key spot for hanging out and catching up with friends, then, as the evening draws on, it reveals another side of itself as a nightclub—and soon, the dancing begins.

Piazzale Cantore 4

Palinurobar

Photo: Courtesy of Palinurobar

Cocktails dominate the menus of many of the bars on this list, but Palinurobar focuses on the world of natural and sulphite-free wines instead. (Over the past few years, natural wines have almost overtaken the Spritz in popularity across Milan’s nightlife.) Located in the Loreto district, the Palinurobar was one of the first places to embrace natural wines enthusiastically, rejecting the dismissive attitude of many other wine bars. It was the brainchild of four friends working in various creative fields, and began to be frequented by friends, and then friends of friends. If you find yourself there, you too will likely be struck by the feeling that you have now joined that circle.

Via Paisiello 28

Bar Quadronno

Bar Quadronno is first and foremost a sandwich shop—indeed, it was the first in Milan, having opened in 1964. Along with panini, however, you can also enjoy a coffee or a cocktail. It stays open from 7 a.m. until 2 a.m. and sits in the middle of all the city’s action, halfway between Milan’s historic center and the Porta Romana district.

Via Quadronno 34

Sidewalk Kitchens Market

Imagine an indoor market consisting of a series of venues on the same small street, offering opportunities to sample cuisines from different continents: that’s Sidewalk Kitchens Market. Maybe you want to have a glass of French wine and a Japanese katsusandu sandwich, and then follow them with a great American coffee? At this food hall, individual restaurants range from American burgers at Chuck’s to the Japanese Katsusanderia. Our favorite for a drink is the Enoteca Frizzante (a satellite of Enoteca Naturale on the Navigli), and the market also houses a location of Bar Paura, which serves coffee and baked treats during the day, before the space becomes a wine bar in the evening .

Via Bonvesin de la Riva 3

Bene Bene

Having opened last year near the Lima metro station, Bene Bene is where Milan’s creative types meet after work for a cocktail and a selection of music curated by and played over the sound system created by one of the founders, Giorgio di Salvo. The ambience is simple but every detail showcases the creativity of its community, from the paintings by young contemporary artists hanging on the walls and the separate playlist that plays in the bathroom, created by the independent Milanese radio station FrittoFM. It’s the perfect place to hash out your latest artistic project over a well-made drink.

Eterno Milano

Photo: Courtesy of Eterno Milano

Eterno Milano has just opened in a location near where some of the more peripheral fashion shows are typically held—so expect this spot to become a fashion week favorite. What differentiates Eterno Milano from other bars is its focus on design: entering it feels like taking a step back in time and having a martini in the (spiritual) company of Ettore Sottsass or Achille Castiglioni. It’s a place to meet and chat, but also even to dream.

Viale Campania 30

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