There are bars and local stories that tell the city. Milan lives through these places. And this is the case of Bar Basso, located in Viale Abruzzi, site eastern outskirts of the city, very close to Piazzale Loreto.
As the Camparino or the Gin Rosa, the Bar Basso is considered an institution, an icon.
Its history began when Mr. Giuseppe Basso opened the place in 1933 in Porta Vigentina and, after World War II, moved to its present location. He ran it until ’67, when they sold it to two Venetian barmen who had become famous by working the Hotel Posta in Cortina: Renato Hausamann and Mirko Stocchetto.
Their goal was clear; making popular cocktails in a city where even if they do not drink. The Bar Basso became very popular; ordinary people, actors, writers, industrialists, some of which used to reach it from Cortina by plane to spoil its cocktails, and even some Presidents of the Republic ( it’s very famous a photo of Pertini coming out of the bar in 1981) were regular customers. It was a meeting location for characters such as Frank Sinatra, Elizabeth Taylor and Ava Gardner, or literary greats like Hemingway. Even the famous Milanese mob “La Banda della Comasina” with its leader, the gangster Renato Vallanzasca, used to have a drink here. One day one of the two owners, so the legend goes, mistakenly mixed up the bubbles with Bitter Campari and red vermouth; the result was the birth of the famous Negroni Sbagliato.
Today the Bar Basso remains a very trendy place; in the first half of the Nineties famous designers such as Luigi Serafini, James Irvine and Jasper Morrison and other artists began to attend it, becoming one of the landmarks of Milan for the world of design and today, during the Salone del Mobile, it’s a the venue for events.
This is one of the secrets of longevity of Bar Basso, who has never gone out of fashion in the city, hugging the younger generation, on being able to renew and maintain its status. With its bright red sign and its almost nineteenth-century decor, the Bar Basso seems to be out of time and the fads, with its waiters in elegant suits, wandering between the tables and behind the bar.
The bar is also popular; there are tourists and university, especially those who attend the Polytechnic University of Design set at the closed Lambrate district. Bar Basso means to try the real “Negroni Sbagliato” that here is served in a dedicated glass, the Colossus, a large cup, with a slice of orange and a giant ice cube. But mostly Bar Basso’s cocktails are made with new recipes; they are worth wide to be tried. Today the place is run by Maurizio Stocchetto, bartender and owner, Mirko’s son, who has continued the tradition started by his father; the Bar Basso still has an exclusive atmosphere, which attracts professionals from the fashion or design environment and it remains a sort of network of creativity in Milan.
Bar Basso website: barbasso.com
Credits preview photo: www.vice.com.