You know when your local cafes also share the same name as clothing designers, you're already in a bit of a bizarro nightlife world. Trendy is word across Milan and you'll find that there is really nowhere dirt cheap to drink if drink is all you want to do. Then again, the Milanese have a reputation for their aperitivo (similar to the American happy hour). If you're one to do your eating with a cocktail or beer during this time (usually 6-9pm), then you'll find establishments all over the city willing to provide free buffets and snacks with the purchase of a drink. There are a ton of competitive bars and restaurants, but places like b:free (Via Lecco), Bar Magenta (Via Giosuè Carducci), and Trattoria Toscana (Corso di Porta Ticinese) all have deserved reputations.
As far as various concentrations of bars and clubs are concerned, there are a few frequently bustling areas of the city. One to avoid is the club and lounge-heavy Corso Como, unless you're into paying steep covers to try and look cool with Milan's fashion elite. Less pretentious crowds can be found just north of downtown in Brera, the best fit in Milan for the Bohemian-chic crowd. There are a lot of cocktail and wine bars in Milan and it's no different here, although you'll find your occasional pub in the mix if you're trawling Via Brera or Via Mercato. Then again, a packed street party vibe ensues every weekend near the Columns of San Lorenzo; the bars and lounges in the surrounding streets contribute to a wild atmosphere from Thursday through Saturday.
Possibly the coolest area in the city from lunch-time to night's end is the Navigli district, which centers around two gorgeous canals, the more prominent of which is the Navigli Grande. With cafes, restaurants, bars, lounges, and more lining both sides of the water, you can imagine how incredible a sunset from a street-side table can be. There may be no better place in Milan for discussing that epic hike in the Dolomites without having to put your student loans into deferment.
Other areas of Milan that attract the nightlife crowd include the pedestrian area around the Arco della Pace and the nightclubs in Sempione Park and the lounges of the adjacent Piazza Sempione. Browse our activity pages and travel videos for more nightlife information; even better, communicate with other embark users who've been here to find out what's best in Milan's nightlife.