Milan Nightlife Guide: The Best Places to Eat, Drink & Dance in Milan, Italy
The northern city of Milan is a popular city break destination and one of Italy’s cultural hubs. Home to the Teatro alla Scala opera house as well as a number of galleries and museums, it is popular with travelers around the world. When visiting Milan, you will be inundated with bars and restaurants, not to mention nightclubs for those who like to dance! There are numerous options to choose from, and in this article, we’ll pick out some of the best places to experience Milan’s nightlife. Whether you’re after some of the best Italian wine, a traditional pizza, or some seafood, we’ll help you choose the best spots for your evening in Milan.
The Arco delle Pace / Sempione Area (left image) and the Navigli District (right image) are both popular spots in Milan with great restaurants and bars.
For drinking: the best bars in Milan
For wine: N’Ombra de Vin
Address: Via S. Marco, 2, 20121 Milano MI, Italy
Located in a 16th century dining room in a former monastery, stepping inside N’Ombra de Vin feels like a step backwards into classical Italy. With pretty stone archways and dim lighting, the ambience is perfect for tasting some of the more than 2,500 varieties of wine on offer in this bar. If you’re after dining as well as wine, then why not pair your choice of vino with tapas, the staff are on hand to help with your pairings. In the evenings there is often live music too, making this a great all-round venue for dinner, drinks, and some more light-hearted fun.
For cocktails: Nottingham Forest
Address: Viale Piave, 1, 20129 Milano MI, Italy
No, not the English football team. Nottingham Forest is consistently ranked as one of the best bars in the world, known for its creative cocktails that blend Caribbean and African styles together in a fascinating range of fusion drinks. The brainchild of Dario Comini, cocktails here push the boundaries, and you are sure to sample something you have never tried before. Drinks aren’t just served in glasses either, you may find yourself drinking from a hollowed skull, or perhaps even a shoe. For a quirky night and some unforgettable cocktails, it’s the place to be.
Pro Tip: Check out our blog post on cocktails in Italy for some more tips and recommendations.
For beers: Bere Buona Birra
Address: Via Adige, 13, 20135 Milano MI, Italy
With a name that literally translates in English to ‘Drink Good Beer’, Bere Buona Birra is the place to start if you’re after a craft lager in Milan. It’s small and nondescript, with a few bar stools and some funky artwork, but it’s the constantly rotating selection of beers on tap that keep the locals and tourists alike coming back for more. As well as drinking in, it is possible to buy beer to go, perfect for taking back to the hotel. The bar’s owner, Filippo is more than happy to assist in helping buyers find the right beer for them.
For a relaxed morning coffee: Pasticceria Sissi
Address: P.za Risorgimento, 6, 20129 Milano MI, Italy
Although Naples is Italy’s coffee capital, Milan runs the city close. The modern espresso machine was developed here, and the city’s coffee culture has led to the rise of numerous innovative cafes around the city. But it’s the classic establishments that we prefer, which is where Pasticceria Sissi comes in. This miniscule bakery and neighbourhood café serves one of the best cappuccinos in Milan, accompanied by freshly baked pastries. Filled with locals enjoying their morning ‘caffè al banco’, it’s the perfect place for visitors to indulge in the local culture and try an amazing coffee too.
For a drink with a view: The Roof Milano
Address: Via Alberico Albricci, 2-4, 20122 Milano MI, Italy
Milan’s cathedral is probably it’s most famous landmark, and as such there are numerous establishments nearby, catering for visitors who need a drink whilst visiting. Many of these are tourist traps best avoided unless you want to pay over the odds for a poor-quality beverage. But The Roof is an exception. It’s pricey but worth it, boasting exquisite views over the city’s main landmarks from its rooftop terrace located a stone’s throw from the Duomo. Whether you’re after a light lunch or a sunset cocktail, it’s an unrivalled place in which to sample the Milan skyline.
Pro Tip: While in Milan, you must try an absolute staple of Milan Nightlife: Aperitivo. If you are unsure what this is, check out our blog post on Aperitivo in Italy.
For dancing and partying: the best nightclubs and live music venues in Milan
For late night raving: Fabrique Milano
Address: Via Gaudenzio Fantoli, 9, 20138 Milano MI, Italy
Since it opened its doors in 2014, Fabrique has played host to some of the biggest names in dance music, from Tale of Us and Ben Bohmer to Marco Carola and Charlotte de Witte. Contemporary pop acts also use the venue for shows, with past performances from The Vamps and Ava Max. But it’s as a late-night venue that Fabrique is best known. This former factory can house up to 3,000 ravers and is open until the early hours at the weekend. Tickets usually need to be bought in advance.
For Opera: Teatro alla Scala
Address: Via Filodrammatici, 2, 20121 Milano MI, Italy
It’s one of Milan’s most recognisable sights, and if you get the chance to enjoy a show at Teatro alla Scala, you must take it! Tickets aren’t cheap but it’s about the most cultural experience you can have in the city. This iconic opera house opened in 1778 and continues to host world-leading operas and other theatre forms. La Scala (as it’s also known) boasts lavish decor and ornate architecture that takes visitors back in time. Attending an opera or show at La Scala is nothing short of magical, as world-class performers grace the stage, captivating the audience with their unparalleled talent. The acoustics of the auditorium enhance the auditory spectacle, ensuring a truly immersive and unforgettable experience.
A view from the inside of Milans Teatro alla Scala
For jazz: Blue Note
Address: Via Pietro Borsieri, 37, 20159 Milano MI, Italy
Milan has a thriving jazz scene, and there’s nowhere better to experience live music than Blue Note, twinned with its New York equivalent. Located in the Isola district of the city, it is a classic jazz venue, offering early and late shows with the option of dinner during the early show. For a cultural evening of live music, it’s a great option, popular with locals and visitors alike. Pre-booking is strongly recommended as shows sell out.
For dining: The best restaurants and places to eat in Milan
For Risotto alla Milanese: Trattoria Masuelli San Marco
Address: Viale Umbria, 80, 20135 Milano MI, Italy
Milan’s signature dish can be found in restaurants across the city. What sets this regional specialty apart from other risotto is the addition of saffron. Apparently, it was created in the mid-1800s when a group of glassmakers, using saffron in their work to colour the stained windows of the city’s Duomo, added some to their risotto as a prank. A delicious prank indeed!
One of the best places to try this traditional Milanese dish is at the simple and rustic Trattoria Masuelli San Marco. This humble restaurant lets the food do the talking, with minimal décor and humble white tablecloths. It’s an authentically Italian place to eat and is likely to be filled with locals alongside the tourists who have come to sample a saffron risotto of their own.
For pizza: Gino Sorbillo Lievito Madre
Address: Various locations in Milan
Another classic Italian dish, you won’t be short of pizzerias in Milan. There are numerous hidden gems, best found by keeping away from the tourist areas but for the absolute best, we have to recommend Gino Sorbillo Lievito Madre, which has, quite rightfully, made a name for itself. The first one in the city is right next to the Duomo, and yes, it’s busy, however several others have since opened all over Milan. The prices are reasonable, and the queues are worth it for the prize. Choose from a simple menu of a dozen or so pizzas, all made using the freshest local ingredients at this family run establishment. The pizzas are large, so consider sharing, or work up an appetite before you dine!
Sorbillo Pizza in the Garibaldi / Porta Nuova area of Milan
For seafood: Trattoria del Pescatore
Address: Via Atto Vannucci, 5, 20135 Milano MI, Italy
Although it’s actually one of Italy’s few major cities that isn’t located by the coast, Milan has a large number of seafood restaurants, with the fresh daily catch transported from coastal areas. One of the best is Trattoria del Pescatore, which specializes in Mediterranean dishes from the island of Sardinia. Regional specialties including Sardinian bread are served and their lobster is well known across Milan. Reservations are required, and for those who would also like to enjoy a drink or two, the owner of Trattoria del Pescatore has recently expanded into the nearby Pescatore Lobster Bar, specializing in raw seafood accompanied by well-matched spirits.
For gelato: Artico Gelateria
Address: Multiple locations
During summer in Milan, it isn’t hard to find gelato. There are an indescribable number of gelato parlours and dessert restaurants across the city, so you’re never far from a sweet treat. However, if we were to pick one, we would have to choose Artico Gelateria. An award-winning gelateria, they have now grown to serve four locations in Milan – Duomo, Citta Studi, Isola and Brera. As well as offering conventional flavours such as chocolate, vanilla, lemon and pistachio, expect to find more experimental offerings too, such as avocado. And if you’re expecting to pay over the odds for Milan’s best gelato, you will be pleasantly surprised, as prices are very reasonable.
If you want more suggestions for what to eat in Italy, please check out our blog post on the best dishes here.
What are the best areas to experience Milan Nightlife?
So now you know the best places in Milan for pizza, cocktails, opera and coffee. But what if you just want to head out and explore the city, where should you begin? These are some of Milan’s most thriving areas, perfect for visiting on a night out.
Milan’s Navigli district is nestled in the southwestern part of the city and is well known for its interconnected canal network dating back to the Middle Ages. In the modern world, it is a magnetic hub for nightlife in Milan. The architecture that comes with this network of canals is made up of charming bridges and historic buildings, which creates a vibrant atmosphere for exploring. The narrow streets are teeming with an array of trendy bars and diverse restaurants offering exquisite Italian and international cuisine. The Navigli district is particularly known for its lively atmosphere, with locals and visitors alike converging along the canal banks. As the sun sets, the area transforms into a kaleidoscope of colours, and the wide number of options when it comes to dining and evening entertainment ensure a fun evening is enjoyed by all.
Here are some shots of the Navigli District, a popular Milan nightlife area known for its selection of bars, restaurants, and nightclubs.
For those seeking a more sophisticated and artsy atmosphere, Milan’s Brera district, situated to the northeast of the city centre, stands out as an ideal choice. This historic neighbourhood is best known for the large number of galleries and historic buildings, including the 15th century Santa Maria del Carmine church. But Brera also boasts a great nightlife scene. The cobblestone streets are lined with a variety of chic wine bars, gourmet restaurants, and stylish cafes. The district’s proximity to the renowned Pinacoteca di Brera art gallery adds a cultural touch to the evening. The combination of artistic flair, intimate venues, and delectable cuisine creates a different atmosphere, but an enjoyable one.
As one of Milan’s main business districts and a more modern part of the city, rapidly developing Porta Nuova has grown quickly, with sleek skyscrapers, high-end boutiques, and a plethora of chic dining options now dominating the area. Locals and tourists alike have filled this space, and the area now hums with activity throughout the week. Porta Nuova offers a diverse selection of gourmet restaurants, trendy rooftop bars, and fashionable lounges, making it an ideal destination for those seeking a stylish night out. A word of warning, prices tend to be higher in this part of the city.
Street art in the Porta Nuova district of Milan. This area has had a resurgence in the last couple of years and is now full of cocktail bars and restaurants.
Our Milan Nightlife Guide Conclusion
Although sometimes bypassed in favour of Rome, Venice, Naples or Florence, Milan continues to attract visitors for its cultural attractions, reliable weather, and excellent location in central Italy. Whether visiting for a couple of days or longer, you are sure to be enthralled by the diverse range of restaurants, bars, clubs and cafes that Milan has to offer, and now you know the best places to try during your visit to the city!