The only problem with designing a Milan Bar-Hopping Tour is where – and when – to stop. We could suggest several undiluted experiences and never cross the same threshold twice. Still, tell us what your poison is and our resident aperitif therapist will take you on a unique, custom-tailored tour of some of the city’s coolest hot spots.
To begin with Terrazza Aperol, a racy classic, designed ad hoc with a hefty nod to the retro origins, the colour and even the bubbles of a spritz made with the evergreen, ever-orange, all-Italian aperitif. Its enduring popularity may owe something to the location: the terrace, at the entrance to Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, has a magnificent view over Piazza Duomo.
A few blocks north in trendy Brera, our favourites of the moment are Dry, where Guglielmo Miriello’s team of professionals serves up some of the headiest cocktails in town in an ex-industrial ambiance with perfect lighting (and great pizzas), and the contemporary Café at Marc by Marc Jacobs, all lit-up in vibrant blue and pink and spilling out onto Piazza del Carmine to accommodate a mob of fashionistas. If you’re a wine buff, though, N’Ombra de Vin could be just up your Brera street: it boasts professional sommeliers and a jaw-dropping wine list for tastings around the huge table in an atmospheric 15thcentury basement.
Heading a little north of the city centre into neighbourhoods all astir with renovation and redevelopment, Ceresio 7 is a sight to behold. This is the rooftop restaurant with pools and American bar opened by Dsquared2 twins Dean and Dan Caten to crown their new HQ. The interiors are all retro-modernist; the drinks American vintage with a potent local twist.
Superbly designed like a theatre set by art director Tanja Solci in what was once the family sawmill, Carlo e Camilla in Segheria, just south of the city centre this time, became the high-end cocktail and dining destination in 2014. And with Filippo Sisti at the bar, no one’s tiring of the cocktails any time soon.
Have we mentioned The Doping Club yet? More retro style and a British/US sporting theme with lots of intimate leather, rosewood, steel and jazz. A couple of moustachioed mixologists concoct the stimulants, among the best and most original in town. Concealed in a lovely Milanese courtyard at Porta Ticinese, trendy The Doping Club belongs to small, similarly-themed hotel The Yard.
And then of course, within spitting distance of The Doping Club but right on the Naviglio Grande, there’s more of that speakeasy atmosphere at Ugo: avant-garde drinks and delectable nibbles. Or, a little further down the canal, Pinch, with that blind tiger décor again and a barman-patron with a penchant for mixing Italian liqueurs and vermouths, revisiting old-time classics with contemporary flair.