This most characterful of cocktail bars in Milan always elicits a fond response from the locals, having historically introduced American cocktails to this wine-drinking city back in 1967.
Its speciality is the lethal Milanese negroni, served in 1.2 litre glasses that are the size of flower vases – thankfully diluted with a brick-sized block of ice. Bar Basso famously invented the negroni sbagliato (or ‘mistaken negroni’) when a harassed barman mixed a negroni with prosecco instead of gin – while it doesn’t quite knock you sideways like a negroni, it still packs a punch.
The L-shaped bar has two separate styles: an authentic 1950s cocktail lounge on one side, all in dark wood and with bijou tea salon tables, and on the other, the Sound of Music lounge, with an original and pre-ironic 1970s alpine chalet interior, frilly net curtains and twee flower-pots.
Bar Basso is legendary among designers and architects who flock here during La Fiera to hail its negroni glasses – these unwitting icons are now available to buy, complete with a brick-sized ice mould.