Call it what you may, the Milanese happy hour, cocktail hour, or aperitivo time, but between the hours of 6 pm and 9 pm, Milan is on a mission to indulge. The bars are abuzz with locals and tourists alike with an aperitif in one hand and traditional Italian snacks in the other. Not just famous for their aperitivo, most of these bars also serve up a great coffee experience in Milan.
It may be great to enjoy drinks at home with friends and family but there’s just something about the vibe at your favorite aperitivo bar in Milan that you need to be a part of. Perhaps it’s the breathtaking views from the rooftop bars or the vintage charm of the old classic bars that keep you coming back for an aperitif time after time. So when in Milan, eat, drink, and viva la vita like the locals. Salute, to your next best aperitif!
The 15 best Aperitivo bars in Milan
- Bar Basso
- Terrazza Aperol
- Ceresio 7
- Terrazza Duomo 21
- Terrazza Martini
- LaGare Rooftop Bar
- Sky Terrace Bar, at Hotel Milano Scala
- Terrazza 12
- Fonderie Milanesi
- N’Ombra de Vin
- Il Bar at the Bulgari Hotel
The bar is located in Città Studi which is abuzz with students. During Salone del Mobile, the annual design week, Bar Basso fills up during aperitivo hour and is the after-party venue of choice in the area. The trademark drink of Bar Basso, the Negroni Sbagliato was invented here and is served up in a giant glass. It’s a must-try Italian aperitif…at least once. Go for the laid-back vibe, old-fashioned charm, and legendary aperitifs.
Best for: Cocktails, shaken and stirred.
Located in one of the most magnificent squares in the world, in the heart of Duomo square stands Terrazza Aperol. With the Milan cathedral just in front of the building, take a moment to savor the location as much as you will your aperitif. The interior of the bar is designed in vivacious orange, conjuring up images of a stunning sunset to match your sunset cocktail. Yet when you flow out into the terrace of Terrazza Aperol the hues are subdued allowing the views to take center stage.
Best for: Breathtaking views and sultry sunsets.
No visit to Piazza Duomo is complete without a stop at the Camparino bar in Galleria where you can sip on the signature cocktail—the Campari Seltz. As a meeting point of choice since the 1900s, this bar continues to deliver consistently good aperitivo served by elegantly dressed waiters. The whole experience at the Camparino bar in Galleria is legendary, with the classic old-school vibes and traditions being upheld with grace.
Best for: A taste of iconic cocktails.
A favorite spot for post-work drinks since the 80s. The crowd is as stylish as the drinks at this aperitivo bar. The restaurant caters to all hours of the day and the aperitifs include a plate of delicious appetizers, fresh focaccia, freshly fried chips, and olives. Although the nightlife is something to talk about, Radetzky is a great place to unwind and enjoy tea and cake or a delicious lunch with families, too.
Best for: Cin Cin in true Milanese fashion.
The American Bar at Ceresio 7 is the spot to be for aperitifs and after-dinner cocktails. There are also two rooftop pools to marvel at the city skyline while sipping on your classic international drink which the bartenders add an Italian twist to. The Ceresio 7 is all about comfort and space with multiple seating areas to accommodate as much of the Milanese aperitivo culture as possible. The unparalleled views of the setting sun over Milan will make your aperitif perfecto.
Best for: Living la dolce vita one aperitif at a time.
Terrazza Duomo 21
The Terrazza Duomo 21 lounge bar is another gem located in the majestic Piazza Duomo. If you’re looking for a place to party then this is it. With live after-dinner DJ sets till late night, you may want to linger a while after your first aperitif. The avant-garde decor will inspire your most stylish insta moment while downing a few spirits with the girls or guys. Terrazza Duomo 21 is all about the location and views which is undeniably stunning.
Best for: Getting the party started.
When out in the center of Milan’s fashion district you will find the perfect stopover at Terrazza Martini. Located in Piazza Armando Diaz on the 15th floor you can view Duomo, Torre Velasca, and Castello Sforzesco from the rooftop bar and lounge. The wood panel floors and deep red sofas with scatterings of the Martini logo make for a luxurious experience. Salute to your new favorite aperitivo bar in Milan, Terrazza Martini.
Best for: Views for days of glorious Milan.
LaGare Rooftop Bar
The 13th-floor rooftop bar is an ultra-modern meeting ground for aperitivos in Milan. Enjoy a selection of finger foods with your mixer while taking in the skyline of new Milan. LaGare Rooftop Bar at the LaGare Hotel is located in Porta Nuova the vibrant futuristic business district of Milan. Go there on a Wednesday or Friday for a vibey atmosphere with DJs livening up the terrace as you sip away at your finely crafted cocktail.
Best for: Picture-perfect selfies atop the new Milanese skyline.
Sky Terrace Bar
Enjoy spectacular 360-degree views from the eighth floor of the Hotel Milano Scala where you’ll find the Sky Terrace. Indulge in Mediterranean-inspired bar bites while drinking an aperitif or two both made with the freshest of ingredients sourced from the hotel’s very own rooftop vegetable garden. This is the best of green mixology and our idea of sustainably spoiling yourself. Two green thumbs up from us to the Sky Terrace Bar.
Best for: A cozy spot for a comfy date night.
You can expect nothing less than deliciously crafted cocktails and views to keep you entertained for hours at The Brian & Barry Building in Piazza San Babila. Pair your drink with samples of Italian cuisine that take finger food to the next level. The vibe is cool and comfy with relaxed seating both indoors and outdoors. Terrazza 12 is the perfect hangout joint before dinner and sets the tone for a great night out.
Best for: La Bella vita with an aperitif.
Here’s a true hidden treasure that’s hard to find but worth the visit. This one-of-a-kind bar is built at a former traditional metal foundry off Via Giovenale. Fonderie Milanesi is the kind of place that you visit time after time for the vintage look and feel that transports you back in time. The beautiful garden can be enjoyed summer long at aperitivo time when they serve up an aperitivo buffet made up of a selection of dishes like the traditional “Risotto Milanese”.
Best for: Come with an empty stomach, leave with a full experience.
N’Ombra de Vin
N’Ombra de Vin is a unique wine lovers’ haven situated under the San Marco Basilica in the former refractory of Augustinian Friars. Opened in 1973 by a family of wine merchants, the venue is now an established wine cellar. They import wines from around the world and specialize in fine French wines, making for a sophisticated aperitif hour. N’Ombra de Vin has an impeccable menu to pair with your best prosecco.
Best for: The holy grail for wine lovers.
If you consider yourself to be part of the cool crowd then you should know about the cocktail bar Ugo. Based in the heart of Navigli, take a seat in the homely inside parlor or under the umbrellas on the bustling streetside tables on Via Corsica. Whether you’re ordering a Negroni or Aperol Spritz, Ugo bar has a passionate bartender to balance flavors and create your perfect mixer. So take your time and enjoy aperitivo at this much-loved bar.
Best for: People watching…spritzer in hand.
Il Bar at the Bulgari Hotel
Those in the know go to the Il Bar at the Bulgari Hotel for a true Milanese-style happy hour with traditional aperitivo taking center stage. Try the signature Bulgari cocktail, indulge in the sublime selection of dishes, and relax in the private garden. The chic style and hip surrounds of Il Bar at the Bulgari Hotel make it the place to be during Milan fashion week. A place to see and be seen.
Best for: Upscale aperitivo hour.
Frida is located in Milan’s creative Isola district, home to Milan’s bohemian, artistic crowd. It’s a small bar that packs a big punch when it comes to its cocktail list…80 to be exact. If that’s not enough to tempt you, they serve a welcome plate to whet your appetite while downing your aperitif. The kitchen stays open till midnight and serves up a variety of light meals. Start or end your evening at Frida’s and you will not be disappointed.
Best for: Having a tipple with the artsy crew.
Frequently asked questions about the best aperitivo bars in Milan
Almost every bar on every street within Milan city center offers drinks at aperitivo time. From rooftop terraces like Sky Terrace to hotel bars like Il Bar at Bulgari Hotel, all serve up aperitifs at happy hour.
Times may vary slightly between establishments however aperitivo is usually served between 6 pm and 9 pm.
Italy has many popular aperitifs that are enjoyed by locals and foreigners alike. Negroni is one of Italy’s most popular aperitifs, the others being a Campari and Aperol Spritz.
There are many drinks that go down well at aperitivo in Italy. Some popular choices include Campari, Negroni, Aperol, wine, and prosecco.