Last week while I was digging through the pile of stuff on top of my desk at home I stumbled across my little Moleskine Milan notebook. I got it for my birthday last year, and basically it’s a notebook with a map of Milan in it and special sections to write down your favourite spots in the city. While I was living abroad last year I wanted to make the most of it so I frequently went on wandering-through-the-city missions to discover fun new places. I think when you live in a city for a limited amount of time you try harder to get to know it better than you would do at home. Reading through the lists of cafés, bars, restaurants, shops and clubs that I loved just makes me want to go back.
I’m going to put this rediscovery to good use and tell you all about my favourite spots in Milan. First up: bars and cafés.
Before I moved to Milan I didn’t drink coffee but after about 100 “ you’re in Italy how can you not like coffee?!” comments I decided to broaden my hot beverage horizon and started drinking cappuccino. And I’m glad I did! I’m still not an advanced caffeine lover, so I’ll pass on the espresso, but I can appreciate a nice latte or cappuccino.
In Italy you can pretty much go into any café and drink great coffee without having to pay the ridiculous prices some chains (yes I’m talking to you Starbucks) or hipster cafés charge.
My favourite Milanese cafés:
OT7IUM T7 CAFÉ
You can find this little café in the Tortona area, where several fashion and interior designers have their offices. Tortona is also a good spot to visit if you are looking for some original clothes shops or you want to browse through some design books at the design library.
The decoration is quite simple with a red and white colour scheme. The coffee is very nice and you can get some homemade brownies or muffins to go with it. You can also eat a simple lunch here or drink a stronger drink in the evening. When fashion week is on sitting by the window is the best location for model spotting but when the weather is nice I would recommend choosing a table outside in the courtyard.
Address: Via Tortona 7, 20144 Milano, Italia
CAFFE DELLA PUSTERLA
Firstly I have to admit I didn’t discover this place by wandering around Milan to find the lesser-known spots in town, I read about it in Lonely Planet. This place is great to drink a coffee in winter or summer because of its little heated terrace, which is especially convenient for those of you who enjoy a little nicotine with their caffeine. If I remember correctly I drank my first Italian cappuccino at this place! AWWWWWW ❤
Address: Via Edmondo de Amicis 22, 20123 Milano, Italia
First of all I should explain something about bars in Milan. There is big tradition of ‘aperitivo’ in Milan. Between 6 and 9 pm in most bars and restaurants you pay the same price for any drink (most people opt for a cocktail), this can go from 5 to 15 euro’s, and you can eat as much as you want from the buffet they put together (the quality of the food is usually related to the price of the cocktail). I decided to talk about regular bars that don’t do an aperitivo first. I will talk about my favourite places to go for an aperitivo together with restaurants, because you can easily eat enough at aperitivo for it to be a proper meal (which me and my friends ALWAYS did since we are poor students). I decided they will form the ‘Food’ category together.
My favourite Milanese bars
FRIZZI E LAZZI
This is a good example that shows that there is a lot of truth in the “don’t judge a book by it’s cover” saying. From the outside it looks like some shabby bar only old drunks would go to, BUT IT’S NOT! When the weather is nice this place is great. Behind the shabby bar façade is a massive garden where you can enjoy reasonably priced (and I mean reasonable prices by Milanese standards, it still isn’t cheap) bears and cocktails. Another plus is that it’s probably not in any travel guide and pretty much only frequented by locals, so you’ll feel real cool sitting there.
Address: Via Evangelista Torricelli, 5, 20136 Milano, Italia
La Vineria is technically a wine shop but when the temperature gets high enough the owner puts out some tables and chairs on the sidewalk so you can drink your wine on the improvised terrace. It’s cheap, it’s nice and no nonsense. Bonus points: the people who are sitting there are usually pretty nice to look at.
Address: Via Casale 4, 20144 Milano, Italia
SUGAR COCKTAIL THERAPY
I had to turn to Google Streetview to find out the name of this bar because I’ve never noticed a name sign when I was sipping from a drink there (I’m happy I didn’t, what a stupid name!). Another outside bar, this time on the Naviglio Grande (one of the canals in Milan). Also another simple no nonsense bar, if you want to drink really expensive cocktails on designer furniture this is probably the wrong blog post for you!
Address: Ripa di Porta Ticinese 39, 20147 Milano, Italia
So there you have it: some of my favourite places to enjoy a beverage in Milan. I hope it gives those out there who are planning a city trip some new ideas and inspiration. Definitely let me know I you are planning to visit/visited any of these places! Next week I’ll be back with food!