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Happy hour: The Route of the Milanese Aperitif

The city of Milan is the birthplace of the aperitif par excellence. This social event that is a point of pride for Italians has now been exported to countless parts of the world. But when we talk about the Milanese aperitif, we are not talking about having a little bite before lunch, but before dinner. And that is why every evening, most of Milan’s bars offer their so-called happy hour, where you can eat to your heart’s content and only pay for drinks. It doesn’t sound too painful, does it? Milanese aperitif hour starts at 6pm, and it can stretch out until dinner time.

aperitivo milano

A typical Milanese aperitif involves a drink, generally an alcoholic drink- if possible the popular Negroni, and some snacks. And let’s cut in here for a second to give you the recipe: Negronis are mixed with gin, Campari, vermouth, and crushed ice. Another very popular Italian drink for in between meals is the Spritz, an alcoholic aperitif not unlike vermouth.

Over the years, bars have started serving more elaborate dishes like pasta, rice, salads or international food. And the only requirement to gain access to their all you can eat buffet is to order a drink (which will set you back a minimum 7 to 10 euro). And without further ado, we’d like to suggest a few charming spots to have your aperitif, which more than a drink, is really a lifestyle:

Where to go?

One of my favorites is tucked away on number 13 of Via Carducci, Bar Magenta. In the area around Teatro alla Scala, you’ll find Café Verdi (on Via Giuseppe Verdi). We can also suggest G- Lounge, on Via Larga 8 (by the Duomo), specializing in Brazilian cocktails. Radetzky, at Corso Garibaldi, won’t disappoint and it is popular for its brunch. Good Fellas is a small bar that serves slightly more sophisticated aperitifs on Via Cusani 4. Alternately, drop by Blender and try their fruit cocktails; you’ll find it on Piazzale Susa. Art Deco Café is a trendy venue on Via Lambro 7. Try also El Caffè della Pusterla on Via Amicis 24. The best thing about Armani, besides its tasty aperitif is its location. You’ll find it in the Arman Montenapoleone Building, which possibly makes it a bit pricier than the others. But it’s definitely worth it. Iguana, in Via Papa Gregorio XIV, is popular with the Milanese youth. And there are many, many others…. some historical and traditional like Biffi, in Corso Magenta 87. And still there are countless more, like Beige, in Largo La Foppa 5, or Hora Feliz in Via San Vito 5, which is one of the first to kick off their happy our every evening (at 5.30pm). To finish off, let’s suggest a beautiful terrace with stunning views, such as that of Aperol, at the Piazza del Duomo. And I can’t end this post without mentioning the idyllic neighborhood of Porta Ticinese, the most bohemian part of Milan and with a long tradition of living life outdoors, on the streets.