The Best Craft Beer Bars in Milan

Italy’s craft beer movement was born in Northern Italy nearly two decades ago, and among the first breweries to emerge from the shadows of industrial beer dominance was Milan’s own Birrificio Lambrate. When it was founded in 1996, Milan seemed on the cutting edge of drinking culture, but, 20 years later, the city trails behind many others in Italy in its enthusiasm for craft beer. Chalk it up to the unstoppable popularity of Milan’s aperitivo scene and the recent rise of craft cocktail bars, but birra artigianale remains a distant third behind wine and cocktails as the city’s quality drink of choice. Still, the number of noteworthy craft beer bars has grown in increments over the past few years, enriching the small local scene. —Katie Parla

  • 1

    Baladin Milano

    Brewer Teo Musso bottled his first beers under the Baladin label in 1996, a year that is often evoked as marking the start of Italy’s craft beer movement. Since then, the small Piedmont-based brewery has expanded considerably, opening pubs in cities across Italy and exporting beers all over the world. The Milan branch, furnished to channel the Belle Époque, is spread over two floors on Via Solferino, one of the city’s principal nightlife thoroughfares. The pub offers dozens of Baladin beers on tap and in large-format bottles, as well as a gastropub-inspired menu of fried snacks, burgers and roasted meats.

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    KNOWN FOR

    • craft beer
    • bar food
    • day drinking
    • cheap date
    • singles scene
  • 2

    Bere Buona Birra

    Bere Buona Birra ("drink good beer") is a sparsely furnished shop in Milan’s Porta Romana district. Shelves made of fruit crates display bottles of beer, and there are a few tables made from barrels and repurposed wood. In spite of its Spartan appearance, BBB is a perfectly warm and friendly place to drink. In addition to a large bottle selection, there are four taps, and the dynamic selection covers a spectrum of Old World and New World styles. This is the perfect venue for budget-conscious drinkers: There is a low mark-up on beer, and you can bring your own food or order delivery at no extra charge.

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    KNOWN FOR

    • craft beer
    • cheap date
    • day drinking
  • 3

    Birrificio Lambrate

    Founded in 1996 in the heart of Milan’s Lambrate district, Birrificio Lambrate was Milan’s first brewpub and one of Italy’s first microbreweries. Though the nightly aperitivo buffet and local craft beer selection are clearly rooted in the venue’s northern Italian locale, the atmosphere is that of an aging British pub. The dark wood bar is warm and well worn, a testament to nearly two decades of service to Milan’s thirsty beer drinkers.

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    KNOWN FOR

    • craft beer
    • bar food
  • 4

    BQ Lossana

    Brewery BQ (short for birra artigianale di qualità, or "quality beer") is a mini craft beer chain with several venues offering beers to drink in or take away. At the Via Lossana branch, there are 20 taps and around 200 bottles from imported and domestic breweries, and a selection of bar snacks and sandwiches to pair with your beer of choice. BQ is attentive of dietary restrictions and offers gluten-free beer and vegan food.

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    KNOWN FOR

    • craft beer
    • bar food
    • outdoors / patio
    • cheap date
  • 5

    Hop

    When Hop was founded a decade ago, they poured exclusively Birrificio Lambrate beers from their ten taps. Although the beer offerings have expanded slightly, Hop only serves beers from Northern Italy. There is a selection of whiskey, rum, amari and grappa, but Hop doesn’t serve wine or cocktails. They host a nightly happy hour offering discounted beers and snacks daily from 6:30 - 8 p.m., and the food menu is vegetarian- and vegan-friendly.

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    KNOWN FOR

    • bar food
    • craft beer
    • outdoors / patio
    • cheap date
    • lots of whiskey
    • lots of rum
  • 6

    La Belle Alliance

    When it opened in 2002, La Belle Alliance poured mainly northern European beers, but thanks to a growing domestic industry, Italian craft beers now appear on rotation, as well. There are nearly 30 taps that offer a wide selection of imports with a mix of conventional and craft labels. La Belle Alliance broadcasts soccer games, which only lends to its endearingly British pub vibe.

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    KNOWN FOR

    • craft beer
  • 7

    LambicZoon

    As the name implies, LambicZoon, which opened in late 2013, celebrates wild fermented beers. Though all the usual Belgian suspects make an appearance on the tap list, there is also an interesting selection of Italian sour ales, as well as conventionally fermented imported and domestic beers. The food menu features fried starters, meat and cheese plates and what some call Milan’s best burger.

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    KNOWN FOR

    • craft beer
    • lots of whiskey
    • outdoors / patio
    • bar food

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