If you want to understand why Milan is Italy’s fashion and design capital, you only need venture out to the city’s bar scene, where venues are Instagram-perfect as standard. But even more striking than the aesthetic is the warm buzz of chatter and honest welcome. Because in Milan, looking – and feeling – good is pretty much an art form. Here’s where to sip in style when summer lands.

Brought to you with Aperol Spritz

Spirit de Milan

Spirit de Milan
Bring your appetite to this chic industrial bar

Treat yourself to an authentic Milanese evening out in the arresting setting of a former industrial glassworks, in the lesser-known Bovisa district. Bring your appetite as Spirit de Milan does a splendid line in traditional meaty Lombardy nibbles to share with friends old and new on long communal tables. Later in the evening, the cavernous space becomes a lively dance floor, courtesy of upbeat live bands and popping swing combos.

Enjoy the Aperol Spritz ritual with locals over delicious Lombardy nibbles

57-59 Via Bovisasca

Camparino in Galleria

When it comes to elegant settings for an unforgettable Milanese-style aperitivo, there’s really no looking beyond Camparino in Galleria. The venue, which sits 27th in The World's 50 Best Bars shortlist, has been serving ravishing cicchetti under the glass-domed roof of Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II for more than 100 years. Needles to say, its aperitivo game remains just as tempting today. Pull up a stool beside the after-work crowd and culture vultures en route to the opera and converse over whipped cod atop crunchy wafers followed by marinated courgettes and Buffalo Stracciatella cream with sardines and candied lemon. 

Piazza del Duomo, 21, 20121

Terrazza Aperol

Terrazza Aperol
Milan's cool credentials are on full show at this chic designer bar

Everything that is majestic about the Italian way of life is plain to see here, from the sinuous and chic bespoke designer bar to the terrace views over the piazza and the ornate edifice of Il Duomo cathedral. Naturally, the bar dedicated to Aperol Spritz is the perfect setting for ‘aperitivo’. Expect light bites such as Amberjack carpaccio and creamed cod with polenta on sharing plates, accompanied by a couple of glasses of joyous orange effervescence. Cheers!

Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II

Bar Magenta

Bar Magenta
Soak up the ornate interiors of this fabled venue with a toasted panini and a note-perfect Aperol Spritz

This quintessential Milanese hangout has been doling out irresistible evening bites over drinks since 1907, and it’s not hard to see the enduring appeal. Bar Magenta’s storied Art Deco interior is always humming with chit chat – join the cheerful crowds who spill out onto the street to make the most of the friendly vibe and summer climate between bites of toasted paninis and Aperol Spritz. Over a century of good times, and Bar Magenta is still in a purple patch.

Enjoy the Aperol Spritz ritual in this lively 115-year-old Milanese mainstay

13 Via Giosuè Carducci

A’riccione Terrazza 12

A’riccione Terrazza 12
Your hunt for Milan's suavest rooftop bar is over / Credit: 123RF

This swanky rooftop bar in the city centre is a magnet for locals and in-the-know tourists alike, who come together to see in the balmy summer evenings from the tenth floor of the fashionable Brian & Barry department store. Order from a knockout menu of premium morsels – from grilled octopus and New England lobster roll to Cecina De Leòn charcuterie – to enjoy with something cool and fizzy. It’s the perfect accompaniment to the dreamy views of the Milanese skyline, stretching all the way over to the golden statue of the Madonnina.

28 Via Durini

Chinese Box

Chinese Box
Asian-inspired sharing plates are a delightful addition to your summer's aperitivo ritual

In a city famous for style, this contemporary cocktail hangout in the lively Moscova area stands out for its impeccable design credentials – from the chic minimalist low tables to the golden bathroom mirrors and plush wallpapers. Start your evening at the show-stopping seven-metre bar for some light bites, which include seared salmon tataki and warm, salty focaccia, before parking yourself outside on Corso Garibaldi. If you’re lucky you might learn a bit about this historic neighbourhood from one of the chatty locals over an octopus ball or two.

Enjoy the Aperol Spritz ritual with some mouth-watering Asian fusion light bites

104 Corso Garibaldi

Enjoy Aperol responsibly.