Where to go out in Milan
Pre-dinner drinks – along with a generous buffet – are a rite of passage in Milan. Anyone who is serious about getting to know local culture should head for one of the many happy hours dotted around the city and join the nightlife-loving natives as they battle over appetising bar spreads. Almost as important is the backdrop – Milan’s best bars feature gorgeous gardens or double as chic florists or bakeries.
Most happy hours run from around 6pm-9pm, and include platters of prosciutto, mozzarella, pasta salads and occasionally even sushi and oysters. But beware: with cocktail prices usually between €8 and €15, the feeling that you’re getting a free dinner can be illusory, especially if you indulge in more than one drink.
In Porta Venezia, the verdant garden of HClub at the Hotel Sheraton Diana Majestic has been a stalwart of the fashion crowd’s summer drinking scene for a number of years now, and deservedly so. Featuring magnolias, cyclamens and adult trees, the garden is re-planted seasonally and is a great place in which to sample the salvers of vegetarian sushi and queen olives.
Close by, Mint Garden Café dishes out mini pizzas, dried fruit and bruschetta, served at the table inside a florists amid cactii, orchids and bunches of cut flowers.
In the same district, Pandenus serves up generous slabs of home-baked foccacia straight from the oven. Pandenus has other branches in the Brera and Parco Sempione zones.
Though best known as a café and restaurant, Fioraio Bianchi, in another florist’s, provides what is surely one of the loveliest aperitif settings on the Milan bar scene. Admire huge arrangements of iris or lilies against the artfully scraped-down walls while you graze on appetisers like tabbouleh or pasta, which provide a hint of what’s on the menu that night.
Bar and nightlife details
HClub/Diana Garden Viale Piave 42. +39 02 2058 2004.
Mint Garden Café Via Felice Casati 12. +39 02 8341 7806.
Pandenus Via Tadino 12. +39 02 2952 8018.
Fioraio Bianchi Via Montebello 7. +39 02 6379 3414.