As mentioned before, having an aperitivo is a habit made perfect by the Milanese. Don’t ask me where it is served – the answer is everywhere. It is much more common to be unable to find a place where to drink coffee from 6.30pm/7.00pm till 9.30pm than not to be able to find an aperitivo bar. They are all very different, yet very similar. Food, either buffet-style or a plate, is served together with the drink you order, gratis (having to pay a bit more for the drink of course). Anyhow, I will not recommend any certain places, but rather all zones where you will find rows of little bars brewing with people, along with recommendations where to go, though any place in the zones is worth the visit.
If you’ve moved a bit to the north of Duomo, you’ll run directly into the very popular Brera zone. There are a lot of restaurants and sushi bars here in this area. [Brera area: Metro Moscova]
Radetzky is 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 is of the most substantial aperitivo buffets 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]
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].
Corso Como is a pedestrian area that connects the Stazione Garibaldi with Brera, full of boutique shops, bars, and discos (including the famous Hollywood disco). [Metro: Garibaldi]
Executive Lounge One is 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 – My personal favourite. 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.
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 favourite. It’s nice to walk up and down the canals and decide where to stop as the mood (and their mood music) hits you.
Colone di San Lorenzo 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.
Aperitivo places worth mentioning in Ticinese: Colonial Fashion Cafe [Via De Amicis, 12],Yguana [Via Papa Gregorio XIV, 16], Cheese [Via Celestino IV, 11].
Parco Sempione and Arco della Pace
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]
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].
Terazza Aperol deserves its special place due to several reasons. To begin with, its location. Oh my God its location. It is like holding Piazza Duomo at your palm and letting the grandiose facade of the Duomo Cathedral amaze you each time you look at it. Then, the famous Aperol Spritz as the ultimate aperitivo drink is the signature of this locale, and can be found in numerous variations. There is constant supply of crisps by the waiters circling around and the finger food served is delicious, though not extensive. The aperitivo costs around €12 but it’s worth for every cent.