Best cocktails bars of East Milano by shane eaton

What sets "Milano Est" apart from the other zones in Milano is that it always feels like home. Let's explore this vibrant and friendly area together, including Corso Buenos Aires, Porta Venezia, Città Studi and Lambrate.

1. 1930, Cocktail €15

1930 is no longer a secret but that doesn't hold it back from being the best bar in East Milano. The antique furniture, romantic lighting, eye-catching bar counter and friendly and talented barmen continue to push this bar forward, with 1930 now receiving international acclaim with guest bars shifts at 28 HongKong St, El Copitas and El Paradiso. To gain access to this secret bar, you must first get to know the guys at MAG, the sister bar of 1930. If you're lucky, you'll be given a one time invitation. If you're even more lucky you'll eventually receive the membership card, an honor bestowed upon regular visitors who demonstrate a true passion for the bar, cocktails and life in general. With owner and creative leader Marco Russo, bar manager Benjamin “Ullalla” Cavagna and senior bartender Gabriele Calise, 1930 is now a well-oiled machine, recently making 80th spot on the coveted World’s 50 Best Bars list.

Beyond the mesmerizing ambiance at the 1930 secret cocktail bar, the cocktails are superb, with the current list being the best since the speakeasy's conception 4 years ago. The favorites include the warm and comforting Xibalda made with the blue blazer method and featuring Don Julio Tequila,  Ron Zacapa 23, Kaffir Lime, Citrus and Water, Chilli Pepper, Demerara and Chocolate, the savory Lighthouse of Spain with brandy, peach and fino sherry, beeswax, wood and salt, and The Mountain with Farmily 2016, Honey Alpe, Alpine Freshness, Beeswax, Peychaud’s bitters and Absinthe.

The best signature is the Lighthouse of Scoltand (Faro di Scozia) which has Laphroaig quarter cask, sea water, distilled earth, stout and vanilla, milk, aromatic bitters. It is the closest cocktail to liquid gold. 

 The bar counter at 1930 (Photo Toney)

The bar counter at 1930 (Photo Toney)

 Aperitivo at 1930, Mr. Gabriele of 1930

Aperitivo at 1930, Mr. Gabriele of 1930

 

2. Casa Mia, Cocktail €12

Casa Mia is a cozy cocktail lounge in Viale Regina Giovanna run by the friendly team of owners Luigi Ferrario and Amanita Toktok and bartender Manuel Quintiero. From the sweetheart staff to the comfortable couch perfect for meditating over a Manhattan, every element of Casa Mia will make you feel like you're at home. The most special place at Casa Mia is the tucked away bar counter, where in addition to being surrounded many high-end bottles, you'll get to mingle with the friendly habitués and industry people that frequent the bar.  Other than Manuel’s great Spaghetti Western features mezcal, agave syrup, tonic water infused with tomato, tabasco, taco rim, ask for the Negroni Draft, a very important drink dedicated to the memory of Matteo Mevio.

 Amanita, Manuel and Spaghetti Western

Amanita, Manuel and Spaghetti Western

 Negroni Draft

Negroni Draft

3. l’ALCHIMIA RISTORANTE & LOUNGE BAR, Cocktail €12


Alchimia is an ambitious new project from Alberto Tasinato, former F&B manager of Mandarin Oriental Milano. Together with chef Davide Puleio and bar manager Valerio Trentani, they’ve created an elegant yet welcoming bar restaurant in Viale Premuda, a three-minute walk from 1930. The restaurant features stunning dishes such as the Risotto Milano Roma and Carbonara from the experienced Roman chef Puleio. In the lounge bar area, you can try smaller dishes such as the heavenly Anchovies, Butter and Bread or Cacio e Pepe to pair with a great cocktail from Valerio or Chiara Domenichini. My favorite signatures are La Mia Milano (Vermouth Cocchi Storico, Campari, Rabarbaro Zucca e Saffron perfume), Milano - Venezia in 3 anni (Vermouth Cocchi Storico, Campari, Grappa Castagner 3 yo and Soda water) and Casta Panky (Vermouth Cocchi Dopoteatro, Casta, Dom Bénédictine, Amaro Leon) shown below.

 Chiara prepares a Daiquiri; Casta Panky cocktail

Chiara prepares a Daiquiri; Casta Panky cocktail

4. Drinc, Cocktail €10

The first thing you'll notice when entering Drinc, located in Via Plinio, is the warm hospitality of Luca Marcellin, who make sure to greet and chat with everyone immediately as they enter. This kind welcome shouldn't come as a surprise because of their important experience together at the famous Four Seasons hotel of Milano. Drinc itself is small, with four bar stools in front of Luca and a few tables. It's a very intimate place, perfect for chatting with with your friend or date.

The best drink of the menu is the Nothing like the first sip, which reproduces the emotion of the first sip 5 times, in one Martini cocktail. First, Plymouth gin, vermouth infused with cardamom and lavander and lemon bitters are carefully mixed together using a dropper. Then the concoction is shaken and poured into a test tube which is sealed with a cap and placed in a glacette to keep it cool. When ready, you swivel the Martini glass of choice into place, pour the first sip, and add the respective garnish. 

Another great drink from the new menu is the variation Whisky Sour ma va là with whiskey, salty caramel and cuman syrup, organic apple juice, fresh lime and egg white.

 Luca (photo Toney)

Luca (photo Toney)

 Whisky sour ma va là! and Nothing Like the First Sip

Whisky sour ma va là! and Nothing Like the First Sip

 

5. Nottingham Forest, cocktail €10

Nottingham Forest is rightfully the most famous bar in Italy, thanks to Dario Comini, the father of molecular mixology. Because of this, you will need to arrive early to grab a spot. Otherwise you'll wait in line for 30 minutes or more. Respect to Comini who treats all of his customers equally, with no preferential lineup for industry people or VIPs.

Once you enter, you are greeted by the waiter who accompanies you to your seat, either at the bar or at one of the handful of small tables. There is also seating outside but I would discourage sitting there as you lose the atmosphere of the bar, described by some as Indian Jones' attic. Nottingham Forest is a dark and intimate bar, decorated with interesting objects collected by Comini during his various travels in Asia, Africa, America and the Caribbean. Perhaps the most interesting one is the bar itself, which used to be bar in NY's historic Knickerbocker hotel, where the Martini cocktail was invented. In fact, the Martini cocktail is Comini's favorite drink and you can't go wrong ordering one of his many variations on the classic. Perhaps Dario's most famous variation on the classic the Mondrian Martini, where Comini adds spheres of trapped liquor to a Martini cocktail. He uses the spherification process from molecular gastronomy to create "molecules" of different colors: green from absinthe, red from bitter campari, yellow from vodka infused with saffron. 

Outside of the Martini category, one of Comini's best is the Negroni Vellutato with a foam of walnuts, which adds more character to the famous aperitif. In fact this drink has inspired a new trend among mixologists, with many developing their twist on this cocktail.

Although Nottingham Forest has recently fallen out of the World's 50 Best Bars list, there's no doubt it's the most important cocktail bar in the country, having paved the way for the new generation of cocktail bars such as L'Antiquario in Naples, Jerry Thomas in Rome and 1930 in Milano.

 Mondrian Martini and Negroni Vellutato

Mondrian Martini and Negroni Vellutato

 

6. Harp Pub Guinness, Cocktail €8

Harp Pub Guinness is an institution in Città Studi - serving great piadine and milanese comfort food to hungry Politecnico di Milano students during the day, classic aperitivo drinks to professors and older alumni at happy hour and refined cocktails to the younger after dinner crowd. Try head bartender Riccardo Corbetta's Smoked Bloody Mary or anything off his latest drink list. Of course there's also Angelo Corbetta, who can always suggest a great scotch to finish off the evening on a high note.

 Ricky and Andrea (Photo Toney)

Ricky and Andrea (Photo Toney)

 

7. Atmosphere Pub, Cocktail €8

Under the management of siblings Matteo and Michela Ciammella, Atmosphere Pub is one of the best bars in East Milano. Other than fine cocktails, you can also try a great beer from craft brewer Birrofila. Atmosphere Pub is a happy balance between a dive bar and an american bar, which make it the ideal neighborhood hangout, and a favorite of both locals and bartenders.

Matteo is a big fan of the Old Fashioned so make sure to ask him for his rendition of this classic. Also check out his variation on the Sazerac with Michter's whiskey, cognac, Angostura and Peychaud's bitters. The small batch unblended whiskey gives the drink more elegance and smoothness compared to a typical bourbon or rye. 

 Matteo prepares his Sazerac (Photos Toney)

Matteo prepares his Sazerac (Photos Toney)

8. Sapori Solari, Cocktail €8

Led by bartender Juan Valente and waitress Marika Squicciarini, Sapori Solari is one of my favorite new openings in Milano. It’s impossibile not to be drawn into this hip new space in Via Solari, with a stunning backbar at the entrance. The focus here is on cold cuts, cheese, wine and Juan’s phenomenal cocktails like the Fresh Green (bourbon, soda, lime, honey, matcha tea). There are also two sexy dining rooms to to the left of the bar area where you can sample some of the best salumi in Italy.

 Fresh Green and Aperitivo Plate at Sapori Solari

Fresh Green and Aperitivo Plate at Sapori Solari

9. Milord, Cocktail €7

I first discovered Milord at a laurea party as this large all-purpose breakfast/lunch/aperitivo joint 100 m from Piazza Leonardo da Vinci is popular with students from Polictenico di Milano. After meeting Cristian Lodi at various bar events, I’ve started to frequent Milord thanks to his excellent cocktails like Derby Pie, a whiskey sour variation with lemon juice, pear and vanilla syrup, bourbon infused with walnuts and the addictive Ruby chocolate from Chocolate Academy Milano sprinkled on top.

 Derby Pie by Cristian Lodi of Milord

Derby Pie by Cristian Lodi of Milord

10. Rebel, Cocktail €8

Rebel is a new cocktail lounge in Via Donatello run by Emi and Jor. The interior design is 70s/80s style, with a vintage record player, a hip table that looks like something out of a Clockwork Orange and other furniture that will sweep you back to the best moments of your youth. The drinks are simple but well executed. Bartender Marco Brisichella made me fine renditions of a Manhattan and Boulevardier, Rebel is a great choice for those looking for an alternative to the usual cocktail bar in Milano, with a different crowd than the typical hipsters and fighetti that dominate the Milanese scene. 

 

11. Bar Basso, Cocktail  €10

Bar Basso is classic Milano da Bere, complete with a disorganized service and randomly proportioned Negroni and Negroni Sbagliato. But perhaps that's the appeal of this bar, which some consider to be one of the World's 50 Best. It's a chaotic and dynamic mess - much like Milano. 

 The iconic Bar Basso - Photo  Champ Magazine

The iconic Bar Basso - Photo Champ Magazine

Best Cocktail Bars of Centrale - Northern Milano by shane eaton

1. Octavius, COCKTAIL €16

Octavius is the slick cocktail bar next to the The Stage Restaurant in Piazza Gae Aulenti. The Stage has a beautiful interior design, which mimics the interior of a luxury yacht. Architects Roman and Williams clad the walls in tambour wood panels which together with the mahogany ceiling make you feel like you're in the belly of a boat. The adjacent Octavius bar can be spotted through the porthole windows, with similar wood surroundings and warm color tones and lighting. The beautiful stainless and brass bar counter is the highlight, where Francesco Cione mans the crew of talented young bartenders like Sossio Del Prete, Gabriele Tammaro and Nicolò Scelsi.

Although you pay more than MaG cafe or Carlo e Camilla for a drink, the sexy environment and solid drinks are worth the price of admission. Octavius is my top choice for Northern Milano!

  Per-un-EGRONI and Peat Stop

Per-un-EGRONI and Peat Stop

 Sossio making a Michter’s Old Fashioned; These are a few of my favorite things.

Sossio making a Michter’s Old Fashioned; These are a few of my favorite things.

2. Ceresio 7, €15 cocktail

Imagine drinking a perfectly balanced Old Fashioned inside a beautiful swimming pool surrounded by the hottest girls in Milano. Well sadly you can't actually get in the pool but my hope is that one day Guglielmo Miriello will make my dream come true. Ceresio is one of most glamorous bars in Milano, and the favorite bar of many. A must visit on a cocktail bar tour of the city. Poolside photo by Flavia Arditi of Flawless Milano.

pool.jpg


3. Botanical club, €10 cocktail

Botanical Club caught everyone's attention 3 years ago when it first opened, being the first bar to distill its own gin called Spleen et Ideal with 8 botanicals (juniper, angelica, coriander, green cardamom, rosebuds, iris, lime peel, mandarin peel). Entering the bar in the trendy Isola district, I was immediately impressed with the slick bar area and good looking customers. I can see why Botanical is a favorite of my fashionable friends Jessica, Tatiana and Arianna! Although Kate (ex Mag and EGO) started things off at the Botanical Club, she has now moved on to work with Elephant Gin. Manning the bar now is the gifted Mattia Capezzuoli, who you can also find at the larger Via Tortona location of Botanical Club. He prepared two perfect renditions of the Dry Martini and Tuxedo cocktails . From the new drink list, try the 48, a name inspired by the first war of independence in Pastrengo in 1848. It features Spleen et ideal gin, lime juice, lemongrass syrup, plum bitters and organic champagne. In addition to great drinks, they have a solid food menu. Try the Ravioli with ricotta di bufala, saffron and a sea urchin sauce. Bomba!

  Hepple Gin Martini Cocktail and Tuxedo Cocktail

Hepple Gin Martini Cocktail and Tuxedo Cocktail

  Mattia and Shane

Mattia and Shane

 

4. Dry Milano, €12 COCKTAIL

Thanks to Domenico Carella, I discovered the magic of Dry in Vittorio Veneto. The hip space near Piazza Repubblica features a welcoming front bar area, where the bartender on duty will always greet you with a smile as you enter. Hospitality is the number 1 priority of the bar team at Dry and they will always go out of their way to make sure you feel like a king. In addition to stellar cocktails, you can sample the best focaccia in Milano. I suggest the salted Yogurt salato with vinappeso or Stracciatella with prosciutto crudo of Osvaldo to pair with your drinketto.

The list is often changing at Dry, so I encourage you to ask the bartender Federico Turina to make you a twist on a classic. The Michter's Old Fashioned with an ice sphere made by Dom was the best version of this drink I've had in agese. If you become a regular, request the mind blowingly good Ramos Fizz, a drink most bartenders would refuse to make. But at Dry the boys have got your back! 

If you're looking for great food and drinks in a cool atmosphere with head-nod worthy electronic music surrounded by sexy Milanese and jetsetters, Dry is your best bet in Milano. 

 Old FashionED

Old FashionED

 The greatest Ramos fizz

The greatest Ramos fizz

 

 

5. Wooding BAR, €12 Cocktail

Wooding Bar in Isola is an innovative bar by Valeria Margherita Mosca, who gained fame from her Wooding Wild Food Lab, a research laboratory studying the use of "wild food" for human nutrition and nutrition. Valeria and her team study, collect, catalog, analyze, and experiment with wild plants for food and drink. The wild food concept is an environmentally friendly way of sourcing food and also the cocktails proposed at Wooding Bar.

Although I didn't meet Valeria, I was happy to see Erica Rossi behind the bar at Wooding. She started me off with drink #1 featuring mezcal, wild blackberry kombucha (a naturally carbonated, fermented tea), fermented ground roots and ground elder. The herbaceous cocktail was well-balanced and pleasant on the palate.

I urge the first timer to start with a safer choice, the Wooding reinterpretation of the Old Fashioned. Other than the bourbon whiskey, this Old Fashioned veers far from tradition with (3) koso juzo (a delicious fermentation of 50 herbs that ordinarily would be toxic in nature!) and homemade bark bitters. It's even topped with a fermented cherry. 

In speaking to my other friends in the industry, it seems the average drinker isn't quite ready for the creative menu at Wooding. I personally, being a fan of new tastes and ideas, had a great experience at Wooding and would encourage all adventurous cocktail enthusiasts to check it out.  

wooding.jpeg
 Koso Juso and the bar counter at Wooding

Koso Juso and the bar counter at Wooding



6. Barba, €10 cocktail

For a refreshingly new drinking experience, check out Barba, located at Via San Gregorio 40. This iconic street, already famous for the amazing Gelato Giusto and Osteria del Treno, is now home to one of the best cocktail bars in Milano. I like the minimalist design of Barba, which is much different from the average cocktail bar. Other than the bar area, there are several tables at Barba, where you can chill with your friends over a great drink and tapas style food.

For aperitivo, Barba offers great finger food to go along with your drink. If you want something more substantial, Barba also makes great pulled pork sandwich and tartare dishes thanks to chef owner Lele Cingolini