Via Corsico, 12, Navigli
In Navigli, Ugo is known for its aperitivo hour and gin-based cocktails, sipped while overlooking the ships sailing along the nearby canal from the outdoor seating. Inside, the speakeasy-style vibe is enhanced with quirky features like faux taxidermy, vintage oil paintings, and floral wallpaper.
Via Angelo Fumagalli, 1, Navigli
Fresh, all natural-ingredients are what Rita is known for, and it’s a safe bet you probably haven’t had anything like the cocktails served at this Navigli bar. Take the Willy Wonka, for instance, which uses house-made fruit jam (made with whatever’s in season), ginger, honey, lime juice, and a drop of bergamot oil. The bartender then tops it off with a peel of orange and dark chocolate shavings—the effect is a decadent, not-too-sweet cocktail that doubles as dessert.
Carlo e Camilla in Segheria
Via Giuseppe Meda, 24, Navigli
An old brick-and-cement sawmill with soaring ceilings makes a pretty cool industrial setting for this restaurant in the hip Porta Romana neighborhood. The handmade pastas and plates of risotto are great, but the cocktails are the real stars here. Helmed by Filippo Sisti (a big deal in the cocktail world), the wild creations incorporate rarely seen drink ingredients like green cardamom and apricot marmalade. Pieces from the owners’ own art collection (by the likes of Ron Arad and Ross Lovegrove) and huge crystal chandeliers add to the dramatic atmosphere.
Alzaia Naviglio Grande, 8, Navigli
It’s rare to find a waterside hotel in Milan, which is what makes Maison Borella so special. The hotel is located directly along the canals of the Navigli in a gorgeously renovated eighteenth-century building. Unlike in many of the city’s grand dames, the rooms are cozier and feel almost like apartments rather than hotel quarters, thanks to wood-beamed ceilings, wood double doors, and little balconies with pots of flowers (many of which overlook the canal). And each one is decorated differently, so even after multiple stays, it’s always a pleasant surprise to see what we get.