Allegra's Insider Guide Milan parte IV: in vino veritas
Right on time for the fine settimana (weekend), here are Allegra’s insider tips for getting tipsy with elegance. Usually, some old-school Italians already have a cuppa of vino for lunch, but that’s for real bosses only.
The majority of people and the more socially acceptable variant is to start the alcoholic intake, as per usual, after work. As a Milanese, Aperitivo is a ritual like Sunday mass and takes place on average 3 times a week, be it after work or post shopping marathon on the weekend.
Since Italians are very social and outgoing, they have plenty of friends and the best Tetris solution to maintain these relationships, with a tight schedule, is to make plans for aperitivo and then dinner. For the strong livers out there, try the post-dinner option.
In Milan, there is a large variety of places to pick and choose, where to get that kick of leggerezza.
Here are the go-to places: Bar Basso is my favourite and you have to order the big aperol ("uno Spritz grande") or Negroni Sbagliato, with the only disadvantage being that its location is not central. Many people in the fashion industry opt for this hot-spot, but there is no exceptional dress code, except for the waiter who always looks so dapper in their black and white ensemble.
Besides Bar Basso, I love to go to Pandenus in Piazza Risorgimento. The setting and ambiance is perfect, as it is right on the square with a small, green veranda. Also, you don’t need to be overdressed but a leisure outfit would be advisable.
Bar Jamaica is also a classic among the Milanesi. In the heart of Brera, the Milanese version of Montmartre, you can expect the crowd to vary, from the most stylish signorina to the street artist covered in paint. Both with the goal of having a good time.
Remember when I wrote about one of the districts called Porta Ticinese, the area where you can find some nice boutiques? Well you can rest your feet at a Tapas-Wine bar called Tasca, split into two shops, one for drinking and the other for la comida.
Now, let me take you to the prettiest and most romantic of them all: Chiosco Mentana in Piazza Mentana. Sip your drink in the middle of this hidden gem of a square, underneath big bold trees covered in strings of light – magic right?
What you might have not known about the Italian aperitivo is that there is always something to snack on. It may be super tasty olives or chips, but it’s a rule and once you got used to this added benefit, I promise you, no other aperitivo is going to satisfy you like it does in Italy.
If the weather forecast is good, then reserve a table or seat at the Ceresio7 Rooftop Bar by Dsquared2’s Dean & Dan. The view over the city at sunset is breathtaking. FYG, Ceresio7 is also a great spot for after-dinner drinks. In the hot summer days you can take a dip into the pool but make sure to reserve your “lettino” at least 3 months in advance!
So, after you have tried different interpretations of the Aperol Spritz or the drink of your liking, I suggest you take a little break and indulge a sumptuous dinner. If you are lost and don’t know where to go, read the second part of my Milan Series Milan Part II: It's not all about pasta & pizza.
With all that being said, if you are in “the night is young” mood, I’ll join and accompany you. I am an Espresso Martini aficionado and I must say the best one I’ve had so far was at Dry. Dry is a very stylish bar, but also restaurant that will give you that NYC Soho industrial vibe.
Another beautiful and not-to-miss cocktail bar is the one at Mandarin Oriental. It’s a true feast for the eyes with flower arrangements in vibrant colours mixed with Fornasetti Design – adoro!
The most fun experience you will have, will be at Nottingham Forest. But since it’s such a mesmerizing and #fomo experience, you have to make reservations in advance and remember to be very punctual! The queue is long, and nobody is VIP enough for them to keep the other eager drinkers waiting. FYI: the place is dark and gloomy, but they offer delicious fuming cocktails out of a mini bathtub, a high heel or an ananas. Enjoy!
Other very popular cocktail bars in Milan are Tibi, N’Ombra De Vin in Brera, and Lacerba in Porta Romana (great fish, too!).
Outfit-wise-tip: chic, stylish, trendy – in short, glam it up and give people something to look at!
If you are feeling fabulous (and adventurous) dance the night away at the following places:
- Apophis Club
- Just Cavalli
- Armani Club
- And drum roll (yes my favourite) … Nepentha
Please, ragazzis, remember to drink responsibly, as I still want you to like me despite the hangover. Also remember to be safe, especially if it’s not your habitat. Lastly, remember that the real adult drink is water, so drink plenty after the night out!
The last part (I know it’s sad right?), will revolve around the cultural treasures in Milan, so hang tight for some artsy insider tips!
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