Where to party in Milan, an aperitif and fun guaranteed
A city of tourists, students, and the financial heart of Italy, Milan is a place where people with different tastes, backgrounds, and cultures come together. Perhaps for this reason, the nightlife on offer is some of the best in Italy, and is wide and varied.
If you’ve travelled to Milan with friends, a night out can start with an aperitif in the Brera and Navigli area, a plan suitable for all tastes, and can end, depending on the party mood, in a big nightclub on Corso Como, dancing until the early hours. We tell you where and you decide. Discover Milan’s nightlife!
The aperitif, a Milanese custom
Any resemblance to the Spanish “aperitivo” is purely coincidental. In Spain, we tend to relate it to the moment before a meal. In Italy, however, the ritual of the aperitif is that moment of relaxation that the Italians allow themselves between 6.00 p.m. and 9.00 p.m. at night, which may or may not be a prelude to a night out.
But where does this custom come from? The aperitif originated in Turin at the end of the 18th century with the invention of vermouth (the inventor, Antonio Benedetto Carpano). Composed of an infusion of herbs and spices and wine, it became popular when eating something to make it “go down better”. Over the years it spread throughout Italy and Europe, and by the end of the 19th century it had become so famous that the Cinzano and Martini & Rossi company made it their flagship product: the Martini.
With this idea of offering “something” to eat, the bars offer a fixed price drink of between €8 and €10, and have an all-you-can-eat buffet of cold dishes. If you’re visiting Milan, the aperitif is a unique moment to experience the city like a true Italian, try a typical drink or cocktail (a Spritz, Prosecco, or a Negroni, for example), and above all, have a bite to eat before continuing with the night.
Don’t miss places like Terrazza Aperol, a classic aperitif spot. It has stunning views of the Piazza del Duomo (link to Piazza del Duomo Milan) and is the place to enjoy an Aperol Spritz. Continuing with the terrace concept, at Coin, located on the rooftop of the Piazza Cinque Giornate shopping centre, you can enjoy unique views of the city while sipping your cocktail or soft drink.
Where do the Milanese go? Near the Columns of San Lorenzo (link to Columns of San Lorenzo) there’s also a great place to enjoy a delicious aperitif. Discover places like La Hora Feliz, in Via San Vito, 5, or Yguana, which is one of the most famous among young people in Milan.
Neighbourhoods and areas where you can go out in Milan
Navigli and Brera, the trendiest neighbourhoods for a night out
But every local knows that the best aperitifs in Milan are enjoyed in spring and summer on the banks of the Navigli canals (link to Navigli Neighbourhood), the most picturesque and “instagrammable” area in the city. In Navigli it’s best to start from Porta Ticinese and walk along the two main canals, naviglio Grande and naviglio Pavesse, to find a random bar and enjoy an aperitif at one of its open-air terraces. And when this comes to an end, it’s the ideal place to continue the evening in one of the area’s pubs and clubs.
There’s a wide range on offer: You can start with a few drinks in pubs such as BackDoor 43, a very small place that has excellent cocktails located in the heart of Naviglio Grande; Le Biciclette, art, music, entertainment, and delicious cocktails; or Le Scimmie, a place with live music. And end the night without leaving the neighbourhood in a nightclub like Rocket Club, which offers underground music and DJ sets from Thursday to Saturday.
Over the years, the Brera district has managed to combine tradition with modernity. It’s one of the city’s most alternative areas, the birthplace of design in Milan, and at the same time it coexists with classic spaces and vestiges of the past such as the Pinacoteca di Brera (link to Pinacoteca di Brera), the church of Santa Maria del Carmine, or very close by, the Teatro alla Scala.
Having a stroll and a drink in Brera is an experience not to be missed during your visit to Milan. A good prelude to a night out for those who prefer a bohemian, laid-back start to the night: Jamaica is a century-old bar (with over 100 years behind it) and is right on the main street, at Via Brera 32. Or to continue with aperitif tourism and views, Brera Garden Floor.
Luxury in Milan, also at night
The capital of luxury, design and fashion, Milan also offers something for the deepest of pockets. The area of Via Montenapoleone isn’t just a paradise for shopping; it’s also home to some of the most exclusive neighbourhoods for partying.
We recommend starting here in the afternoon. The Armani building on Via Montenapoleone offers an aperitif that’s worth checking out at least once to sip your favourite drink and sample the food that comes out on glamorous trays.
After that, things get a bit more complicated. There’s plenty going on in this area, but in the most exclusive sense of the word. Openings, events, and parties for VIPs take place 365 days a year – you’ll be lucky to be invited to one of them!
Nightclubs in Milan: Porta Garibaldi and Corso Como
What does Milan have to offer beyond an aperitif and a few drinks? Like any other big European city, it parties on until late (although you should know that “late” in Italy is four in the morning). You just have to know where to go.
In the Porta Garibaldi area, one street stands out above all others: Corso Como (link to Corso Como) is a large pedestrian street full of life during the day, with its shops, restaurants, and cafés, as well as at night.
Corso Como is home to some of Milan’s most famous nightclubs: Alcatraz, where numerous concerts are held, and Loolapaloosa or Hollywood Rythmoteque, where Milan’s high society, celebrities, and jet setters usually go. If you like techno and house music, you must go to Plastic and if you want to be surprised, every night at The Club Milano is themed.
As you can see, there’s a wide range on offer and there’s something for everyone. Think about what you fancy; Milan is surely ready to offer it to you.