As any of its citizens will tell you, happy hour in Milan is not to be missed. Sipping a cocktail or a glass of wine after a hard day’s work is one of the most eagerly anticipated moments in the day. From wine lovers to foodies, and from seafood aficionados to the trendy set, Happy hour in Milan is varied enough to satisfy just about everyone.
After a stroll at Castello Sforzesco or a wander around the shops, why not indulge in a happy hour spent at the Hotel Milano Scala, at 7, Via dell’Orso. The first carbon-neutral hotel in Milan, this establishment is a magnet for anyone who loves “green” cuisine. Make your way through the elegant foyer and take the lift up to the eighth floor, where you find yourself in an actual working garden. Enjoy the breathtaking view from the terrace over the Brera district, taking in the spires of the cathedral and the skyscrapers that make up Milan’s modern skyline. Taste locally sourced finger food and sip organic wine as you enjoy the urban sunset, while still basking in the colors and smells of the countryside.
As you walk around the characteristically cobbled streets of the Brera district, you realize it’s that time again: happy hour in Milan. Ask anyone and they’ll tell you exactly where to go. Make your way to 1, Via Cusani where you’ll find the historic Pescheria da Claudio. At first you may be a little nonplussed, as you seem to have arrived at a bona fide fishmonger’s, its counter overflowing with fresh catches and the smell of the sea wafting around the locale, but don’t be fooled. Pick out one of the dishes on offer—most are focused around raw fish—and they’ll add a glass of white wine to wash it down. Take a stool at one of the round tables near the counter and try the seafood carpaccio in an atmosphere which manages to be informal and sophisticated at the same time.
An afternoon’s shopping along Corso Buenos Aires is enough to make anyone tired and, of course, a little hungry too! Make a small detour into Via Tadino, and at No. 15 you find Pandenus, where you can enjoy one of the most flavorful happy hours in Milan, as long as you aren’t watching your carbs! The locale, which is modest in size, is a working bakery by day. The moment you walk through the door you feel right at home. Behind the counter you can see the array of breads, pizzas, and focaccias, your mouth watering at the smell. Sit yourself down and order a glass of wine or one of the cocktails, and while you tuck into the buffet, relax in the company of Milan’s hippest, who flock to the bar in droves and, especially on summer evenings, can be seen socializing outside the bar as they gather along its windows, glass in hand.
If you know your grapes, and happy hour means sipping a glass of top-quality wine, N’Ombra de Vin is just the place for you. Housed in an old mess hall at 2, Via San Marco, this is one of Milan’s most noteworthy wine bars. The atmosphere is convivial and traditional. On the lower floor, you see a row of columns running across the hall, revealing the arched ceiling. Take a look around and you realize that you are surrounded by all types of bottles, including the rarest labels. Explore, and the choice is all yours!
Whether you were born in Milan or arrived later in life, you are not a true Milanese until you have experienced happy hour in the city. Throw yourself into this custom, and enjoy the best of what the city has to offer.