The 5 Best Bars for Aperitivo in Brera

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A Milanese institution that has been exported all over the world, the aperitivo is the tradition that that defines

the city’s nightlife and brings people together after the offices close their doors, in the twilight hours.

Known as the city of finance, of fashion and design, Milan is the cosmopolitan powerhouse of industry that turns non-stop, drawing people from all over the world, but also from all over the Italian peninsula in the pursuit of work and the realisation of their dreams. Aperitivo is when the city takes a breath, a chance to not think about work, about spreadsheets and bottom lines. A drink with friends accompanied by finer food, and the cares of the 9 to 6 working day are quickly forgotten.

Although the aperitivo has its roots in Ancient Rome, the modern iteration can be pegged to the 19th century when the art of making vermouth became more refined. Turin can lay equal claim to the modern aperitivo but as we enter the twentieth century and the Futurists of Milan gathered to refine their vision for a new tomorrow. The salons and cafes of the city developed a tradition of aperitif, with food to allow Milanese intellectuals to talk and argue into the night.

While there are many, many places to indulge in aperitivo in Milan we have selected five for you to try – before sitting down for a nice dinner at Stendhal!

Bar Jamaica, Brera

We might be biased, but Brera is the home of aperitivo in Milan and if you come to the area well, you can’t not go to Bar Jamaica, where the aperitivo ritual dates back to 1911. A storied history awaits in this bar that has hosted an astonishing roster of names, from Alfred Hitchcock to bohemians and artists like Germano Lombardi, Nanni Balestrini and Luciano Bianciardi. Jamaica tempts the city’s modern creatives to aperitivo with the bar’s famous tramezzini (Venetian small triangular sandwiches) and the promise of a celebrity appearance or two.

N’Ombra de Vin

Two generations ago, Giacomo Cora turned 16th century Augustinian refectory into a wine shop. The bar still has the old, vaulted ceilings, arches and columns that make it so characteristic. Some excellent wines and a fine aperitivo offering make N’Ombra de Vin an essential Brera aperitivo experience.

Bar Brera

Go back to Brera’s rough-and-tumble roots with a table outside the very bohemian Bar Brera. Sit back on a summer night with drink in hand and slyly watch the passers-by, passing comment. It’s one of the best activities to do in Milan.

Vecchia Brera

Unmistakable Bera, this institution marries quaint tradition with a cool edge. A bar, crêperie, café and bistro this place invites you to sink into its red, upholstered booths with Art Deco lighting for an intimate aperitivo, especially when it’s cold outside and the fog is as thick as soup.

Caffè Fernanda

A relatively new addition to Brera’s aperitivo scene but conveniently located inside the Pinacoteca di Brera art gallery, elegantly furnished and with friendly staff is it the perfect place to unwind and discuss art after a visit to the galley to marvel at the great masterpieces.

Prenota un tavolo da Stendhal