2 February 2017 - Milan


Photo by Alessandra Ondeggia
Photo by Alessandra Ondeggia
Photo by Alessandra Ondeggia
Photo by Alessandra Ondeggia

Of all the new bars opened in Milan in 2016, this is one of our favourites. Not least because it goes against the hipster tide and dares to be elegant.

Damascegliere, cocktail bar with food, was forged under the brick vaults of a former warehouse at Corso Garibaldi 34, where Brera meets Garibaldi.

If the interiors have a vintage aura, it’s refined, mid-century and opulent rather than any variant of shabby. Rigorous and minimal, the concept turns on two long counters with seating. Black and white, concrete grey and burnished brass sum up the colours, with potted palms and jungle motifs to finish. Impressive lighting isn’t the only notable detail.

There’s a semi-open kitchen, and more glass in the arched entrance opens onto the pedestrian area outside in fine weather.

The job was done by local studio SBG Architetti in the person of Daniela Perazzi.

Mattia Pastori is owner and world-class bartender, which explains the quality of the fare. Formerly of the Mandarin Bar (at the Mandarin Oriental Milan) and the Bamboo Bar (Armani Hotel Milano), he veered out of the five-star-hotel orbit to bring mixological excellence to street level.

Watch him perform his Milanese alchemies, melding tradition and fearless creativity, and dare to find fault in the tasting.

The small kitchen yields delectable amuse-bouches, delicious paninetti and mouthwatering meal-size dishes too. The menu has an Italian flavour without being too dogged about it, is informed by seasonal produce, and suggests cocktail pairings.

Images courtesy of SBG Architetti.