Where to go for Milanese happy hour

Everyone knows that Milan is famous for its aperitivo, namely happy hour. Around 6.30pm – 7pm bars get flooded with locals who are ready to indulge in yummy food paired with cocktails, wine and beer. And if you’re visiting Milan, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t dive into this culinary treat! Keep reading, I’ve listed some of the best bars for aperitivo in Milan.

 

N’Ombra de Vin

📍Via S. Marco, 2(Brera)
⏰ Sun – Wed 6pm – 12.30am, Thur – Sat 6pm – 1.30am
💰 €10-30

best wine bars in milan
Photo by N’Ombra de Vin

Sipping great wine surrounded by countless wine bottles is every wine lovers’ dream. While there are lots of wineries where you can sip wine surrounded by wine bottles, most of them aren’t like this one. While during the day N’ombra de Vin is a relaxing place to taste yummy food paired with exceptional wines, from happy hour till the after hours  it transforms itself into one of those super cool wine bars where music, wine, and food are the protagonists. The atmosphere is dynamic, frequented by people of all ages, from university students to older adults. On the weekend N’Ombra de Vin is the place to be, especially on Thursday night, with great drinks and live music that will make you dance on tables. It’s set on two floors, but the best part is the underground area: a big space with a magnificent collection of almost 3000 wine bottles! The underground looks like an antique wine cellar and its vaulted ceilings, beautiful columns and wine bottles coming from all around the world create a fantastic atmosphere. The highlight at N’Ombra de Vin are its delicious happy-hours, with excellent wine glasses or bottles accompanied by pizza, cheeses, olives, cold cuts and much more. Apart from extraordinary wine bottles, you can also order from a selection of dishes that accompany your wine to perfection.


Mag Cafè

📍  Ripa di Porta Ticinese, 43 (Navigli)
⏰  Monday – Sunday from 8am – 2am
💰   €8-10

the best cocktails bars in Milan's Navigli district
Photo by Mag Cafe

Milan has many different shades. For those that want to relax and enjoy a cocktail in a retro-style bar in the lively Navigli district, MAG Cafe is the place to go. Breakfast, lunch, happy hour or after dinner cocktails, it’s always the perfect time to stop by MAG. The cocktails are seriously good, created by two bartenders who really love their jobs. At MAG Cafe you will find a sophisticated selection of cocktails that will blow you away, each served in unique glasses bought from different places around the world. Let’s just say that if you’re into mixology, you’ve stepped in the master’s door.  But it’s not only the cocktails that are wooing in the customers, the whole vibe at MAG Cafe is super cool, with jazzy sounds floating around. It has this mix of Parisian 1930s style with a somewhat unusual mix of objects and furniture. The result? Bohemian and just perfect. From the frames hanging off the walls, to the dimmed lights and books, to the SUPER COOL wooden bar counter showcasing the countless liquor bottles, everything mixes together to create that cozy yet cool atmosphere.


Associazione Salumi e Vini Naturali

📍 Corso Garibaldi, 41
⏰ Mon – Sat 10am – 12am, Sun 5pm – 11pm
💰 €15+ average

the best bars for aperitivo in milan
photo by Associazione Salumi e Vini Naturali

Tucked away from the hustle of Corso Garibaldi, in the charming neighborhood of Brera, lies Associazione Salumi e Vini Naturali. This enoteca is a treasure trove of natural wines, boasting up to 600 labels. Its interior exudes an intimate vibe, surrounded by an impressive array of bottles against exposed brick walls, but the true gem is its secluded inner garden. Here, wine enthusiasts will find a broad selection to indulge in. The culinary offerings focus on exquisite charcuterie boards and focaccias, offering a perfect pairing with the natural wines. This location is a serene escape in a bustling area, providing an authentic Milanese aperitivo experience with a focus on quality and tradition. Reserve your spot online.


After exploring these popular spots, you might want to delve deeper into Milan’s aperitivo culture. A guided food walking tour through Navigli and Porta Ticinese, starting at 5.40pm, offers an immersive experience. This tour will give you the chance to sample a variety of local wines, cheeses, and iconic dishes like the Milanese cutlet, while your guide sheds light on the historical backdrop of Italian culinary traditions. It’s an ideal way to expand your gastronomic knowledge while enjoying some of the best flavors Milan has to offer.


Dry

📍Via Solferino, 33 (Brera)
⏰ Monday – Sunday from 6pm – 2am
💰 €8-20

where to drink in milan
Photo by Dry

Dry has become one of those trendy meeting points in Milan’s Brera district for a delicious aperitivo, an after-dinner drink or to simply taste some yummy Neapolitan-style pizza. Apart from the cool background music floating in the air, Dry’s whole design gives it an edge. The unrefined stucco, the stripped walls and the simple and rough colors give it a retro style that instantly creates a cool mood. One side of Dry is dedicated to the bar area with a beautiful bar counter where the bartender puts on a show with his cocktail-making skills. The other side is dedicated to the pizzeria, where a more simple yet modern style comes to life. The cocktails are absolutely delicious, the selection is vast with a lot of creative drinks and with a section dedicated to  the “vintage” and “forgotten” cocktails that will blow you away. Forget about your typical Aperol Spritz or Mojito, dive into the unknown and have the bartender lure you with some new recipes! Wine lovers, Dry hasn’t forgotten about you, there is a good wine selection as well, but I definitely recommend you try the cocktails! For happy hour, you will be served some finger-food along with your cocktail, or you can order from the menu some fresh bruschette or focacce to accompany your drink. If you want to prolong your stay, order those yummy pizzas with additional seasonings such as raw cured ham aged 24 months, oven baked prosciutto.


Radio Rooftop Bar

📍 Piazza della Repubblica, 13 (Repubblica)
⏰ Monday – Sunday from 7pm – 1am
💰 Cocktails €15-18

Radio Rooftop Bar Milan
Photo by Radio Rooftop Bar

Radio Rooftop Milan is one of the coolest places to have aperitivo.  Located on the 10th floor of the five-star hotel ME Milan Il Duca , you know you’re in for a great experience from the moment you step inside the elevator. When you arrive to the hotel lobby, go down the hall and to the left and you will find an elevator labeled “D” that will take you to the hotel’s 10th floor. As the elevator doors open, the dimmed lights, hip background music and cool contemporary setting immediately grab you and set the tone. No reservations are taken, so I suggest you don’t arrive after 7pm (especially if you’re a large group).  As you are taken to your seat, the beautiful Milanese skyline unfolds, and during the good season, the beautiful rooftop terrace is open and offers the perfect spot to enjoy the skyline. The cocktails at Radio Rooftop Milan are creative and delicious. I ordered the Passion Me and a French 75, while my sister had an Aperol Spritz and a Mojito. Our friends had prosecco. The aperitivo comes with some yummy finger food, but you can also order from a selection of delicious snacks. The fried sage and the pumpkin cream with pop corn are wonderful.


Ceresio 7

📍 Via Ceresio, 7
⏰ Monday – Sunday from 12pm – 1am
💰 Cocktails €15-18

rooftop terraces milan
Photo by Ceresio 7

Rooftop bars have been the IT places for a long time now. You’d expect the trend to go away but honestly, what beats a great cocktail paired with a panoramic view? And Milan has a few rooftop terraces that are definitely worth the try. One of the trendiest ones is located in the historical Enel building and overlooks the Milanese Financial District. Oh, and it has been designed with the touch of Dean and Dan! This rooftop terrace is Ceresio 7, and for those that like to dine in a cool atmosphere, Ceresio 7 also has an Italian restaurant serving delicious seafood, meat and pasta dishes with a contemporary twist.e.  But to be honest, happy hour or after-dinner drinks are the real deal at Ceresio 7. First off, the setting is wonderful, there are two swimming pools and you get to enjoy your drinks by the pool in a refined ambiance. During winter, the outdoor area is heated, but there is also a nice indoor lounge where you can enjoy your drinks.  There are background vibes floating in the air and the whole atmosphere is just perfect. For happy hour, along with your drinks you will be served some homemade chips, small seafood tartares, olives and other finger food. But you may also order something from the happy hour menu.


LuBar

📍Via Palestro, 16
⏰ Tue – Sat 8am – 12am, Sun – Mon 8am – 11pm
💰 Drinks €8 – 15

the best bars for aperitivo in milan
photo by Lubar

Nestled in the former coach house of the majestic Villa Reale, LuBar is a hidden treasure within the GAM’s internal courtyard. Its atmospheric winter garden transitions into a delightful outdoor area in the warmer seasons. Here, the spirit of Sicily is vividly brought to life through a carefully crafted menu. The aperitivo experience at LuBar is exceptional, offering a blend of classic and Mediterranean-inspired cocktails, complemented by a selection of wines and delightful Sicilian snacks such as mini arancini.


B Cafe

📍Via S. Maurilio, 20
⏰ Mon – Thur 8am – 1am, Fri – Sat 8am – 2am
💰 €10

the best bars for aperitivo in milan
photo by B Cafe

Situated in the heart of Milan’s historic 5 Vie district, B Cafe is a multifaceted gem that beautifully transitions from a cozy daytime cafe to a sophisticated evening aperitivo spot, giving way to a modern twist on the classic Milanese aperitivo. Patrons are treated to an array of inventive drinks, perfectly paired with the cafe’s small, exquisite bites. Enhancing the already charming atmosphere is the mellow jazz sound of the Milanese duo “Just Friends,” whose performances add an extra layer of relaxation and enjoyment to the aperitivo experience at B Cafe.


Frida

📍 Via Antonio Pollaiuolo, 3
⏰ Sun – Tue till 1am, Wed – Sat till 2am
💰 Drinks €7 – 9

the best bars for aperitivo in milan
photo by Frida

Frida, a celebrated establishment in the vibrant Isola district, is a haven for those who enjoy the laid-back, hipster ambiance. More than just a bar, Frida is a social rendezvous perfect for enjoying aperitivos with friends. Whether it’s indulging in a finely brewed beer, savoring a glass of select wine, sipping on a creative cocktail, or sampling delightful snacks, Frida offers an inviting green oasis for relaxation and lively discussions.


Fonderie Milanesi

📍 Via Giovenale, 7
⏰ Tue – Sun 7pm – 9pm (aperitivo)
💰 €15

the best bars for aperitivo in milan
photo by Fonderie Milanesi

Located a stone’s throw from the Navigli, Fonderie Milanesi is a remarkable discovery. This former foundry, tucked away at the end of an inconspicuous courtyard, is rich in character, featuring rustic brickwork and wooden beams. Its enchanting garden area offers an idyllic setting for outdoor aperitivos, creating a magical milieu that comes highly recommended. Inside, the ambiance remains just as inviting for those cooler or rainy evenings, where the unique atmosphere is matched by an equally impressive culinary experience. They serve a happy hour buffet every day from 7pm to 9pm.


Camparino in Galleria

📍Piazza del Duomo, 21
⏰ Mon – Sat 9.30am – 12am, Sun 9.30am – 10pm
💰  €10

the best bars for aperitivo in milan
photo by Camparino in Galleria

Camparino in Galleria is a quintessential Milanese hotspot that mirrors the city’s blend of historical elegance and a thirst for the new. As dusk falls and the city’s roofs glimmer in the sunset, this landmark in Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II offers an immersive Milanese aperitivo experience. Enjoy the luxury of historic surroundings and a glass of Campari-Seltz or Negroni. For 10 euros, expect a spritz and a buffet aperitivo, though it’s a standing-only affair.


Rita

📍Via Angelo Fumagalli, 1
⏰ Mon – Sat 5.30pm – 2am
💰 Drinks from €10

the best bars for aperitivo in milan
Photo by Rita

Hidden near Naviglio Grande, Rita has been a beloved aperitivo spot for over two decades. This pioneering American bar stands out for its seasonal, homemade offerings, including a rich array of vegetarian options. Rita has been instrumental in shifting the focus from quantity to quality, using carefully chosen, authentic ingredients. A must-visit for cocktail enthusiasts.


Cafe Gorille

📍Via Gaetano de Castillia, 20
⏰ Sun – Thur till 12am, Fri – Sat till 1am, Sun closed
💰 average €10

the best bars for aperitivo in milan
photo by Cafe Gorille

Nestled at the intersection of the traditional Isola district and the modern skyscrapers of Porta Nuova, Café Gorille stands as a symbol of urban chic since its inception in the spring of 2015. With its hipster and stylish décor, it serves as an ideal bistrot-lounge for those seeking a relaxing break at any time of the day. The venue offers a delightful aperitivo and dinner menu, boasting an array of tapas starting from 3 euros, varied dishes, and a selection of wines priced at 5 euros per glass. The cocktail list is extensive, with a special emphasis on a wide range of gins. Adding to its allure, Café Gorille features a charming outdoor seating area on a terrace along Via De Castillia, perfect for enjoying a drink while soaking up the Milanese atmosphere.


Buco del Monello

📍 Via Pietro Crespi, 11 – 13
⏰ Mon – Sat 6pm – 12am
💰 average €10-15

the best bars for aperitivo in milan
photo by Buco del Monello

This quaint, Venetian-style spot, Buco del Monello, opened its doors in September 2022 and is already famous for its extraordinary spritz. Offering a variety like bianco, Select, and Campari at 4/5 euros, it also serves a range of Veronese wines starting at 5 euros. The counter showcases Venetian cicchetti, including baccalà mantecato and sarde in saor, along with exquisite charcuterie boards, ranging from €2 to €4. For something more substantial, they also serve cured meat and cheese boards and other dishes. The place is puny, so reserve your spot online.


Le Biciclette

📍 Via Torti, 2
⏰ Daily from 6pm
💰  average €15+

the best bars for aperitivo in milan
photo by Le Biciclette

Le Biciclette, a staple in Milan’s nightlife since 1998, is located in the Corso Genova area. More than just a cocktail bar, it’s a restaurant with late-night offerings, a gourmet burger place, and a favorite for Sunday brunch. The eclectic interior, adorned with bicycles, nods to its past as a bike workshop. The aperitivo experience here has evolved from a buffet to a table service with a variety of finger foods like chickpea hummus and cod croquettes.


Cantine Isola

📍 Via Paolo Sarpi, 30
⏰ Daily 9.30am – 10pm
💰 from €8

the best bars for aperitivo in milan
photo by Cantine Isola

Nestled in Paolo Sarpi’s vibrant streets, Cantine Isola stands out as an iconic wine shop, cherished for its extensive wine selection and homely vibe. The place is really small and they have an outdoor dehor but it’s packed on  weekends. Whether it’s sipping your preferred wine or buying a bottle to go, this place caters to all. Their aperitivo includes tantalizing bites, varying with the wine choice, and typically, a visit here costs about 7-8 euros.

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I'm the daughter of an Italian family of diplomats, the second of three children, and a global citizen. I've lived in 7 cities around the world, I have a gigantic crush on Italy and my name has been mispronounced more times than I can remember.

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