- Photo by Cristina Gottardi on Unsplash

5 amazing drinking spots you can't miss in Milan

There's a craft brewery, a cocktail bar that looks like an Indian pub, a cocktail bar inside the Swiss Chamber of Commerce and... a desecrated Church

39w ago

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The city of Milan is living a modern renaissance. In just over twenty years, the financial capital city of Italy has transformed itself with an amazing PR makeover. It has been the economical epicentre of the country for a while but in the past, no one would ever dream of going to Milan for fun, the city was perceived as both an evil necessity and a necessary evil.

Today Milan is, year in year out, the most visited city in Italy because it managed to transition away from the past and fast-forward into the future in a way that other Italian cities couldn't. It is a truly international and global hub. There's everything for everyone and ticks every box for the modern traveller, tourist or tripper. There's the Milan Design Week, Milan Fashion Week and over the last two decades, it has held events dedicated to just about anything from sneakers to music to organic food and gardening.

Photo by Chris Barbalis on Unsplash

Photo by Chris Barbalis on Unsplash

This translates into a nightclub and bar scene like no other in Italy. Whatever you want, Milan's got it.

Gattopardo

ph: Gattopardo cafe

ph: Gattopardo cafe

This might be the craziest concept you've ever heard of because the 𝘎𝘢𝘵𝘵𝘰𝘱𝘢𝘳𝘥𝘰 (Italian for 'ocelot') is a desecrated church that's been converted into a nightclub. How Italian is that? The coolest, and weirdest, thing about it is the decor. The church opened in the early 1900s and was used until its desecration in the late 1970s. Today, it still looks pretty much like a church.

ph: Gattopardo cafe

ph: Gattopardo cafe

The altar is now the bar and there's another bar upstairs, on the pulpit. There's a giant chandelier hanging from the ceiling, which is actually a vault, and the drapes and curtains are still there. It is a phenomenal place.

And cocktails are great. Mind you, in this instance, that's hardly the point.

Nottingham Forest

ph: Nottingham Forest

ph: Nottingham Forest

𝘕𝘰𝘵𝘵𝘪𝘯𝘨𝘩𝘢𝘮 𝘍𝘰𝘳𝘦𝘴𝘵 is a cocktail bar named after the English Football Club of the same name (Nottingham Forest F.C.), one of the oldest football clubs in England and two-time European Cup (now known as Champions League) winner in the late 1970s.

ph: Nottingham Forest

ph: Nottingham Forest

Because of its name, you might be tricked into thinking this is just another British-inspired mock pub but it isn't, it's actually an avantgarde cocktail bar with warm colour and great vibes. They're quite particular with their cocktail selection and they have a reason. The Nottingham Forest consistently makes the "The World's 50 Best Bars" annual list.

Swiss Corner

ph: Swiss Corner

ph: Swiss Corner

Milan even managed to make Switzerland exciting by turning the Swiss Chamber of Commerce into a bistrot/lounge bar. It's called the 𝘚𝘸𝘪𝘴𝘴 𝘊𝘰𝘳𝘯𝘦𝘳 and is located on the ground floor of the same building that houses the Swiss Consulate in Milan. It specializes in signature cocktails and modern cuisine, not your usual "cucina italiana".

ph: Swiss Corner

ph: Swiss Corner

One of the things I like the most about the Swiss Corner is that it is open around the clock. You can have breakfast, lunch, brunch, happy hour and dinner, all in one place. And it has a reasonably comprehensive wine selection, too.

Birrificio Lambrate

ph: Birrificio Lambrate

ph: Birrificio Lambrate

Birrificio (Italian for 'brewery') 𝘓𝘢𝘮𝘣𝘳𝘢𝘵𝘦 opened in 1996 in the eponymous district of Lambrate, north-east of the city centre, pioneering craft beer when everybody else in Italy was drinking wine or cocktails. Back then, beer was considered vulgar in Italy, something only the lower classes would drink. They kept at it and what started out a small operation got bigger and bigger. Today, you can find Lambrate's beer in most craft beer pubs throughout the country and even abroad.

ph: Birrificio Lambrate

ph: Birrificio Lambrate

If you ever go there, you must try the Robb de Matt (Milanese dialect for 'crazy stuff'), a rye IPA with 5.5% ABV or their flagship smoked stout called Ghisa (Italian for 'cast iron').

El Brellin

ph: El Brellin

ph: El Brellin

Rome and Florence have rivers (Tevere and Arno), Milan has canals. The "Navigli" are a system of interconnected canals eventually flowing into the River PO, the longest river in Italy. One of these canals, the Naviglio Grande, is a tourist hub with a plethora of restaurants and bars on both banks, including 𝘌𝘭 𝘉𝘳𝘦𝘭𝘭𝘪𝘯, my personal favourite.

ph: El Brellin

ph: El Brellin

The name Brellin refers to wooden planks that women would use to wash clothes in the early 1900s. It is a high-end and sophisticated locale specializing in traditional Milanese cuisine but it isn't as expensive as you'd think. It's always open and usually accept walk-ins.

Have you ever been to Milan?

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Comments (6)

  • That brewery just hit my list for Italy when I make it over there :)

      8 months ago
  • I need to get out more... Great write up Alessandro!

      9 months ago
  • I’ve been to Milan before, but I’m deffo putting on the list for Birrificio Lambrate alone!

      9 months ago
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