Our recommendations on the best LGBT-friendly places to party and have fun in Milan
This year the spotlight shines on the Milanese gay/LGBT nightlife. Starting from aperitivo and seeing where the night goes with our advice on where to spend great gay-friendly evenings in Milan. Whether you're a group of friends or with your loved one, no matter what your sexual orientation may be, read below for our guide to the best gay-friendly spots in Milan.
LGBT is an acronym standing for Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender. It's the best way to define and embrace all categories. In theory a Q should also be added to represent "Queer", the term used to describe those who are questioning their sexual orientation, but let's not make things too complicated!
After New York, in May 2020 Milan will host the 37th edition of the international convention organised by the International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association. All the action will take place at the Sforzesco Castle as it will open its grand gates to the LGBT world. "Milan Loves You", the slogan coined by tourist operators Sonders and Beach, has been adopted by the Municipality of Milan and by the ENIT, the Italian Government Tourist Board. Millions of people are to be expected here and it's an event that the city certainly fought hard not to miss out on! Milan was up against Paris and Brussels just to name a few! Influencers from all over the world are expected to come to the city, including journalists, press and tourists in general. It's a huge event which has thousands of people already planning their visit to the city. We at HostelsClub personally cannot wait for 2020, so we write this article ahead of time to give you all a sneak peak into all the fun that's to come! Milan's cosmopolitan and welcoming atmosphere makes it a perfect location for the LGBT community.
Milan has always been very up and coming and 'ahead of the times' compared to the rest of Italy, characterised by an avant-garde and fast-paced spirit that is undeniably felt across the city. It's a city whose culture and style of life is envied by many, which is why many famous faces and international names either live there permanently or visit often. Some even consider the city 'the engine of Italy' due to its reputation as the capital of fashion, design and business, which is now extending even further taking on the role of LGBT capital, confirming it's international and diverse atmosphere where the freedom of expression is guaranteed.
Sforzesco Castle, credits: @_mrfaria_
Porta Venezia is the most famous LGBT-friendly zone in Milan, and it has even been officially recognised and referred to as Porta Venezia Rainbow District. Via Lecco specifically is home to the majority of places where members of the gay community regularly meet. One after another, people are flooding here to experience the most famous gay street in Italy for themselves. The Porta Venezia metro station still houses the installation made by Netflix in 2018 for Gay Pride, even though there were attempts to take it down and replace it with a new Nike advertising campaign. The citizens themselves protested to this and the attempt failed. The metropolitan secretary, Silvia Roggiani commented: "The installation, which dates back to June 2018, has a very strong identity and symbolic character in a neighbourhood that represents the rights and openness, at an international level, of the LGBT community. This decision reinforces and relaunches the citizen identity for equality and Milan was once again confirmed a national meeting point for the cultural and social vanguard.
Below we will present a list of Milanese clubs that have established themselves as LGBT meeting points in recent years.
First up we'll start with an honourary mention to Lelephant, as in reality this great nightclub closed down in 2017 after 18 years of outstanding service! We wish the managers luck on their next ventures, as they were among the first in the city to focus decisively on the LGBT community.
The Leccomilano club is not a firmly established gay-friendly place just yet, seeing as it's only been open a few years. However, it soon became known as a meeting point for the community. We may even go as far as to say that Leccomilano serve the best cocktails in the city, but that's up to you to decide. One thing's for sure, the aperitivo will leave you you more than satisfied, as their is always a wide selection on offer, including vegetarian and vegan options. Leccomilano has made a considerable contribution to the rainbow street reputation of Via Lecco.
On the corner between Via Lecco and Via Castaldi you'll find a very well-established gay-friendly spot in the city, the Mono. Great cocktails, generous aperitifs and lots of fun. Decorated with wallpaper, vintage furniture and lamps, the size of this place is not huge, but you'll never not find a DJ set with electronic music. The Mono should also be given a lot of credit for having contributed to the making of Via Lecco a gay meeting point.
Candies is a very special place, again found in Via Lecco. If you happen to visit during the day you'll find a normal bar serving breakfast for commuters on their way to work. In the evening everything changes, and the place undergoes a drastic transformation! Bright lights, loud music and barmen serving cocktails all night long.
The bright, neon "feminist" writing you'll find at the entrance immediately sums up the atmosphere of this place. A feminine and feminist bar, in every sense of the word! Welcoming, informal and gay-friendly, offering yet another side to the LGBT district in Milan. POP is a new place, located in Via Tadino. Highly recommended at all hours of the day.
Blanco is located in Via Morgagni, and it's considered the most glamorous out of all those mentioned so far. The interior has been designed to perfection, complete with light displays and panels with floral patterns on the walls. If you love the world of fashion, then this one is for you, as it truly has become the meeting place for the creative community on an international scale. After dinner, it comes alive with vibrant entertainment, but it is also an ideal location for both breakfast and lunch.
Only just opening its doors, it's already had a huge impact on the neighbourhood. It takes its name from the up and coming zone where it's located, which is experiencing a lot of attention recently due to the many spaces dedicated to Design Week, which occurs during the spring. Located in Via Varanini, the aperitivo offered here has come to be voted the best in the entire city. On Sundays it serves an excellent brunch, and during the week there are even boardgame evenings organised on certain nights.
Streets of Milan during Gay Pride, credits: @themick79i
- Memà cafe
Memà is an elegant Sicilian bar / restaurant newly opened, and the owner is the same as that of Leccomilano, so success is guaranteed! It's one of the trendiest places in the whole Porta Venezia zone, and on average its clientele is slightly older than that of other places mentioned above. Located in Largo Beltrami, next to Via Lecco.
Milleluci on the other hand is a very informal bar / restaurant, perfect for fun, and low-key dinners. The restaurant is very small, and after dinner the atmosphere becomes very lively. The disco ball represents the spirit of the place, as everyone starts to sing along to old hits from the 60s-70s-80s.
- Grains & Braci
Finally, we talk about a pizzeria where the LGBT community is welcomed with open arms. In reality, this place goes far beyond the concept of giving a 'warm welcome', as it really does open its arms to everyone (and everything)! Pets are welcome, as are children, families, gay and straight!
- Ostello Bello
Ostello Bello is not just any average hostel in Milan, but a special place that will truly surprise you! This is mainly thanks to the incredible attitude of the staff, made up of guys who have travelled all over the world, visiting over 200 hostels. You may wonder about the name, why Ostello Bello? The answer is simple: it really is "Bello" (Beautiful)! It's great to be able to visit Milan and stay somewhere that provides a central location, excellent services and a relaxed atmosphere... all at really low-cost prices! If you want to know more about this hostel read our article >>> Ostello Bello: the most famous hostel in Milan
On Thursday evenings Ostello Bello organises the Drama - Cabaret Queer which celebrates fluidity, diversity and freedom in general through shows, performances and music.
- Milano Hostel
Milano Hostel is a hostel boasting many advantages... located in a quiet area, but also very well-connected and easy to reach the main points of interest in Milan. Newly opened and recently renovated, it's managed by young and friendly staff who are always ready to help backpackers, offering many tips and suggestions on what to do and see in the city!
If you enjoyed reading this, we also have many more articles dedicated to the city of Milan:
>>> If you're looking for a more in-depth guide to the nightlife of Milan, read our article on how to survive - and enjoy - Milan's nightlife
>>> If instead you're looking for some advice on low-cost restaurants and bars in the city, read our article on suggestions for cheap eats in Milan
Now we have provided you with our guide to the best gay-friendly places in Milan, do you really want to wait for 2020 to visit the most dynamic city in Italy? Book your visit to Milan now!