Our tour of Europe’s cocktail bars continues with an easterly hop, up and over the Alps, to Milan, home to Italian fashion, two great soccer clubs and some jaw-droppingly good bars. Now you might think that bouncing around the world, sipping cocktails and reviewing top bars is a dream job and you’d be right. This week we found another three crackers and cannot recommend them highly enough.
We had heard about Rita before arriving in Milan so it was top of our list to visit and we were not disappointed. Situated in the fashionable Navigli district, Rita has an enviable reputation for amazing cocktails and a team of talented barkeepers, led by Edoardo Nono. The menu is always evolving as different flavour combinations are explored and if you fancy something off the menu, no problem, you can have that too. The ambiance is young and vibrant and there is a real energy to the bar that is as infectious as it is intoxicating. Rita is open every day, apart from Sunday, from 6pm until 1am and it is the perfect place to start, finish or spend the entire evening.
Rita, Via Angelo Fumagalli 1, Milan
Staying in the Navigli district, Pinch is relatively new but it is becoming famous fast and for all the right reasons. One might say that it is a little bit English (never a bad thing) with burgers and fish and chips featuring strongly on the menu but it is the cocktails that we came for and they were wonderful.
Pinch is a classic Italian bar, very traditional and very familiar, with a high, solid wood bar and a broad range of spirits and liqueurs. Bartender owner, Mattia Lissoni is a master at blending old and new flavours to produce something new and exciting. While we were there he was playing with bitters to produce something dry and edgy for the approaching heat of summer. Try the Martelletti or the Magna Mater to start but whatever you chose you will be smiling.
Pinch, Ripa di Porta Ticinese 63, Milano
Strolling over to the Brera neighbourhood we found the Marc Jacobs Café. This is a big classy bar with a large terrace stretching out into the beautiful Piazza del Carmine. Could there be a better place to enjoy an aperitivo as the milanese sun hangs low in the sky? As you might expect of Marc Jacobs, the interior decor could be straight from a fashion show party with large layered lighting, a marble topped bar and a real sense of space. This is a super cool bar, favoured by the young, hip and beautifully turned out. In fact, they were razor sharp chic.
The cocktail list is in keeping with everything else at the Marc Jacobs Café. It is broad enough to offer choice but not so large that it overwhelms. The cocktails are equally well defined, created with passion and no small amount of Italian flare. This is a bar that knows what it is about and it keeps every promise it makes.
Marc Jacobs Café, Piazza del Carmine 6, Milano