In a nutshell: aperitivo is the single most fabulous concept ever invented.
Who knew pre-dinner drinks were such a fantastic idea? Who knew pre-dinner snacks were such a wonderful thing? The Italians, that’s who.
For anyone who adores eating and drinking (me me me) there is nothing more perfectly magical than going to order a drink in literally any bar in the whole city of Milan and being given a plate of snacks for FREE.
I knew the Italians were incredible, sophisticated and inspirational people anyway but visiting Milan and trying aperitivo proved to me that they are an even more forward-thinking and fantastic group of people than I first assumed.
When in Milan it is essential to live as the Milanese do (which is the best excuse ever to eat all the carbs and drink all the wine) therefore pre-dinner drinking is seen as an actual prerequisite rather than a drinking problem.
One of the most popular and fashionable bars to visit for aperitivo is Straf bar, which lies in the shadow of the Duomo.
All of the most sleek, sophisticated and attractive Italians hang out here, chatting in their fancy Italian way whilst drinking from extra large glasses of red.
The snack selection was also my favourite of anywhere we went. Olives GALORE. Plus all the usual meats, cheeses, breads and oh my gosh THE TAPENADE.
Definitely my number 1 place for aperitivo.
Navigli is different in that it is an area, not one specific bar.
It’s where all the ‘more cool in a laid-back, I don’t even try’ locals hang out. And they really do look so effortlessly cool as they sip their millennial cocktails and wear their gorgeous designer handbags.
You can literally go to any of the countless bars along the strip that runs alongside the canal in Navigli and find that it is special in a unique way to the one next door.
From sitting outside the 1920’s style Mag Cafe, sipping cute cocktails and eating from plates that were miraculously replenished every time you finished the last bite…
To a cosy ‘pub-style’ bar, drinking glasses of deep, sumptuous red wine and nibbling on snacks ranging from chicken nuggets to pate…
The possibilities in Navigli are endless.
Nhero was a bar that we accidentally found because we were too awkward and British to go into the bar we had intended to (Dry – which also sounds amazing) as no one else was in there… honestly my life is ruled by these British problems.
Nhero has fancy prosecco cocktails – that I find myself still reminiscing on every time I sip my boring glass of water this miserable January.
And again it had a big buffet style selection of food ranging from mini sandwiches to bitesize canapés.
Although we went for aperitivo every night that we had in Milan, I am nowhere near done with it.
There are hundreds of opportunities to try out and I’ve heard that 99% of them are fantastic so if you don’t want to plan ahead then you can stop in at almost any bar in Milan between about 6pm and 9pm and this is the kind of magical set up that you can expect.
The only rule to remember is that it’s polite not to take too much food from the buffet – although we saw a few groups of locals go in HARD. And 1 drink generally equals 1 plate of food.
So what I’m essentially trying to say is that if you’re visiting Milan any time soon – prepare to be the most well feed and watered you have ever been. EVER.