A Guide to Milan’s historical, unusual and quirky bars

written by Dajana 6. September 2018
A Guide to Milan’s historical, unusual and quirky bars

Milan is internationally known as one of the world’s most important fashion capitals but did you also know that the city has an interesting culinary story to tell? We put together some of the best, unusual and quirky bars. Check out where to have a coffee or drink when wondering around Italy’s business and fashion capital.

Milan’s exclusive Speakeasy Bar

Let me give you some hints: unique hidden bar, gramophones, signature cocktails, Ragtime & Blues. 1930 is a Milanese hidden gem that is inspired by the prohibitionist American speakeasy. Once you manage to be invited to this exclusive bar where everything is studied in its tiniest details and find out where it is, 1930 will leave you speechless . In fact, you won’t even find the address on the website or on the bar’s social media channels. You will need to be invited by someone who is already a frequent guest or might need to spend some time at the MAG Cafe on the Navigli in Ripa di Porta Ticinese to find out more. It took me a while to finally be invited, but it was definitely worth the wait. Once you enter 1930, you are greeted by the staff who knows your name, and by the end of the evening it does not feel like leaving a bar, but a friend’s place where you had one of the most amazing nights out and enjoyed exquisite cocktails.

In a city where everyone seems to be running from one appointment to the other or is trying to always be on top of the latest trends, having a drink or two at 1930 will allow you to immerse into old times and calm down for a few hours. If you have some time in Milan, be patient – 1930 will find you, eventually.

Where the famous ‘Negroni sbagliato’ was invented 

Via Plinio 39, Wednesday to Monday from 09:00 to 01:15

Bar Basso is one of the city’s historical cocktail bars and was the first-ever bar in Milan to introduce the so called ‘aperitivo’ to everyday people. Managed by the Stocchetto family since 1967, today the bar is not only known as the place where the famous cocktail ‘Negroni Sbagliato’ was created by the owner Mirko Stocchetto. In the late 1960s he accidentally grabbed the bottle of Prosecco instead of the gin to mix a Negroni. Today, the bar is still one of Milan’s most famous institutions and turns into one of the international design community’s favorite meeting places during Design Week. Make sure to stop by for a drink – you will for sure be spoilt for choice: the menu includes more than 500 drinks, from great classics to newly invented ones. In case of doubt, choose the bar’s signature drink ‘Negroni Sbagliato’.

A Wes Anderson designed Bar at Fondazione Prada 

Largo Isarco 2, Monday to Thursday from 09:00 to 20:00 and Friday to Sunday from 09:00 to 22:00

Not in the very center of Milan, but just a five to ten minutes walk from the metro station Lodi T.i.b.b., you’ll find Fondazione Prada, a modern building and former distillery that houses a contemporary art and culture institution co-chaired by fashion icon Miuccia Prada and Patrizio Bertelli since 1995. After visiting the permanent and temporary exhibitions and installations at the Fondazione, we recommend you to take a break at Bar Luce and enjoy a coffee and panino prepared by the bar’s very own panino-master. The bar opened in May 2017, was designed by famous film director Wes Anderson, is inspired by the atmosphere of Milan’s cafés in the 1950s and 1960s and would definitely make a good movie set for one of his next movies.

A concept store that turned into a worldwide success 

Corso Como 10, Restaurant: every day from 12:30 – 15:00 and 19:30 – 23:00; Store and Gallery: every day from 10:30 – 19:00

Milan’s iconic concept store, 10 Corso Como is a very well known yet still hidden gem in Milan. Hidden behind a discreet facade, you can have a break at the stylish café restaurant and bar, walk through the design and bookshop or enjoy the silence on the rooftop garden. 10 Corso Como was opened in 1990 by gallerist and publisher Carla Sozzani. Since then, Corso Como has successfully established stores around the world.

Pasticceria Marchesi: A Milanese institution since 1824

Via Monte Napoleone 9, Monday to Sunday from 07:30 to 21:00 

Pasticceria Marchesi was founded by the Marchesi family in 1824 who started their business with handmade confections. In the beginning of the 20th century they also started offering coffee in the morning, cocktails in the evening and pastries, cakes, biscuits and sweets during the whole day. This historical café is located in Milan’s famous luxury shopping street Via Monte Napoleone. Pop in for a coffee and a small snack when you’re in the city center. Pasticceria Marchesi is only about 10 minutes walking distance away from the Duomo and definitely worth a visit. 

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