We just dropped a limited-edition collab with Bar Basso for Milan Design Week, click here for the full collection.
If you’ve been to Milan’s Salone del Mobile, you’ll be familiar with Bar Basso. As the evening grows darker, designers and attendees spill out from the classic bar and pack the sidewalk, all under the glow of Bar Basso’s neon red sign.
Old school cocktail bars are having a moment — why go to a dive bar when you can sip a luxurious martini and feel like the main character — so if Bar Basso wasn’t already iconic, now would certainly be its moment.
As our Director of ECommerce, Herbert Hoffman explains, “We have been visiting Milan for fashion week for years and Bar Basso has always been at the center of it all.”
Founded in 1947, the bar rose to prominence in the 50s as one of the first bars to introduce cocktail culture to a thirsty-for-excess post-war crowd. Since then, its decor has largely remained the same, with dark wood, pink walls, marble floors, and chandeliers that are asking to be posed in front of.
In the ‘70s, the bar began to become embedded in Milan’s growing design and fashion scene, with the designer Joe Colombo and Maurizio Gucci frequently hanging out there. Then, in the ‘90s, designers Jasper Morrison, Marc Newson, Stefano Giovannoni, and James Irvine made Bar Basso their go-to-spot. At the 1999 Salone del Mobile, Irvine decided to host a party for 100 people at the bar. Word of mouth takes over and over 1,000 people end up partying there including Ron Arad, Simon and Yasmin Le Bon, Ross Lovegrove.
Fast forward to today, and the bar is still at the heart of the Milanese creative scene. Alessandro Michele and his team at Gucci are regulars, while Virgil Abloh always stopped by when he was in Milan. And since Irvine’s 1999 event, Bar Basso has been the unofficial afterparty of Salone del Mobile, the foremost event during Milan Design Week.
It's a very warm and crazy atmosphere during Salone.” Maurizio Stocchetto, Bar Basso’s current owner tells us. “The bar is usually really packed so it becomes very democratic. You have all designers and architects with their assistants and maybe the assistants get served first — because we don’t know who is who. It’s part of the fun, all the typical hierarchy is confused and everyone has to leave their ego at the door.”
A lack of ego makes sense considering Bar Basso’s signature drink came from a slip-up. In the ‘70s, Maurizio’s father and then-owner of the bar, Mirko Stocchetto, was making a classic negroni when mistook a bottle of sparkling wine for a bottle of gin. The result was a lighter (and some say more delicious) version of the negroni. Quickly, the drink which was christened the negroni sbagliato or “mistake” in Italian, became a customer favorite that has since found fame online.
Of course, when we got the opportunity to make a collection with Bar Basso, the sbagliato (and its signature glass) had to be front-and-center. “Bar Basso’s iconic Sbagliato is known around the world and by telling their story and making a collection we want to honour their long history and great attitude as hosts,” Highsnobiety’s Herbert Hoffman explains.
If anyone can be made for a job, Maurizio is made to be a bar owner. When speaking to him, it’s clear that he thrives off the energy of his customers. He tells us that one of the funnier parts of the job is “finding out you just spoke to someone who was actually very famous but you didn’t realize it.”
“The bar is a very special place because it's not home, it's not work,” Stocchetto continues. “It’s a place where you decide to go when you just want to hang out.”
That’s the beauty of Bar Basso, whether you’re Alessandro Michele, or someone off the street, you’ll both get treated the same — and get some of the best cocktails in Milan.