Happy hour, or aperitivo, in Milan is an institution. After a hard day at work, people head out to bars in search of relaxing drinks with friends or colleagues. There are always little snacks served with drinks at happy hour, which can also serve as a light dinner.
There is no particular food that goes with aperitivo: any kind of finger food will do. But let’s talk about charcuterie boards – very popular at happy hour, and a good way to try different kinds of cured meat.
Sharing charcuterie boards with your friends, while you drink and chat, is the quintessential Milanese experience.
You can find Aperitivo almost anywhere in the city, but here is a selection of some bars that serve up delicious boards.
Taglieri e Bicchieri
Near Lanza and Corso Garibaldi, “Taglieri e Bicchieri” is one of the best happy hour spots in Brera.
Their menu is organized geographically, with boards devoted to the specialties of all areas of Italy (north, center, south and islands). They have an extensive selection of meat and cheese platters served with croutons, fresh bread, and jam. All sorts of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, as well as bottles and glasses of wine from well-known vineyards, are available here, and they’re priced to suit any budget.
They also serve vegan alternatives, and desserts to finish off the evening.
The restaurant has inside and outside seating, but the space is limited and reservations are recommended.
Il Vinaio di Furio
This is a typical Tuscan wine cellar, with two very popular locations (Porta Romana and Porta Venezia).
Here you can savor top-notch meats and cheeses, and traditional specialties paired with a wide variety of wines. The ambiance is laid-back and calm, and the service is efficient and kind.
They offer vegetarian options such as a delicious traditional Tuscan ribollita (a typical soup prepared with seasonal vegetables, bread, and sometimes beans).
The prices are reasonable; for example, a plate of selected cold cuts and cheeses for two people for €18, to which you can add extras such as raw sausage or Tuscan pickles.
While seating is available both inside and outside, reservations are advised because of the limited number of tables.
La Tartina is located in a very quiet little Brera alley, just a short distance from the Sforzesco castle.
Tartina’s boards are a completely different type, as the name would already suggest. Instead of loose cold cuts, they serve fresh soft bread tartines topped with all the delightful garnishes you can think of, such as rich and creamy cheese, prosciutto with truffles, smoked salmon, and fish tartare, all of which are presented in a display so you can pick your favorites.
Cocktails, spirits, and other beverages are available on the drink menu. During happy hour, each drink comes with 3 free tartines. But trust me, you will order more – they’re that irresistible.
Because there are just a few seats available and the space is snug, reservations are recommended.
Sapori Solari – La Salumeria
A short distance from the Bande Nere metro station this lively, convivial bistro is a top hit for aperitivo in the Solari area. They offer real, flavorful, and fresh products: boards of Italian cold cuts and cheeses that you can indulge in. The cured meats on their menu are unusual and sophisticated: mortadella with black truffle or pancetta cooked in Barolo, for example. Plus they have sea cold cuts such as tuna bresaola and trout with Moscato. The knowledgeable staff will be able to suggest something from the wide range of beer and wine to pair the board with if you’re unsure about what to choose.
Associazione Salumi e Vini Naturali
Corso Garibaldi, 41 (Brera)
Returning to the Brera district, let’s visit this winery with a cellar that boasts 700 different labels, adding to the growing number of natural wine bars in Milan. As an added bonus for foodies, it also offers gourmet options! Its interior design is warm and friendly, straddling the lines between rustic and functional. The backyard is perfect for a romantic happy hour if the weather is right.
Ample plates of freshly sliced cured meats and cheeses are served with handmade bread (made by the super popular Longoni bakery we talked about here).
La Salumeria del Design
Via Cecilio Stazio, 18 (NoLo)
This cozy NoLo venue boasts a hip, retro aesthetic and is filled with old-fashioned antiques. It serves cold meats, cheeses, and jam on a tray along with glasses of wine or other drinks at very inexpensive prices, without sacrificing quality.
Taralli, friselle, and superb pucce are just a few of the Salento-inspired dishes on the menu. The ambiance is comfortable and familiar; you can play table games supplied by the bar, which also has a gathering area. Because of the decor, the mood, and the friendly staff, Salumeria del Design makes you feel at home. It is really one of a kind.
The glass is empty, the board is clean. What’s for dinner now?
Well, pizza is always a good idea, especially at these 5 places. 🍕
You already had pizza three times this week? Relatable. How about some all you can eat sushi? 🍣
Featured Photo by Alexandra Dementyeva