Seven cocktails, four square meters and two places to sit. What is it exactly? The smallest bar in the world. We have it here in Milan. Its door shines bright next door to the Mag Cafè along the flagstone pavement of the Naviglio Grande canal. Perhaps you might have seen it because there’s always a long line outside on Fridays and Saturdays. What happens when you go inside? Well, obviously, you drink. But the story gets more interesting when we talk about how you drink. There are two ways to drink at Backdoor43: as a person with insider knowledge or as a common mortal.
If you feel like a common portal, just go there, and you can’t go wrong. You enter into a space the size of a phone booth, look for the list of cocktails hanging in front of you and order. The bartender is next to you, but you can’t see him. A small compartment will open and a set of hands (without a body) will give you your drink. And that’s it. You’ve got an excellent drink made from the best liquors and a nice to-go cup to take with you to drink wherever you’d like.
Then there’s the way to drink as an insider. If you’ve been inside, you will have seen – or you will see it when you go for the first time – a large red stop sign hanging on a door in front of you. The meaning is clear, but what if you’d like to get past that door? How can you see what is inside? This is the real experience that Backdoor43 offers. Inside is a room large enough for two that seems like something out of Victorian London: a wunderkammer full of relics and furnishings and all kinds of objects. Most importantly, there’s a bartender to serve you for a full two hours. You can find the number to reserve listed with all of the other rules on the wall of the bar. Once again, you can’t go wrong.
But what can you drink at Backdoor43? Blonde ale and seven cocktails. All familiar, nothing too complicated, no exotic ingredients that you have to pretend to know to look cool. For gin and tonic lovers – and there are a lot in this city – there’s an excellent Hendrick’s Tonic. For those feeling a bit more adventurous, looking for a drink with flavors from the good old days, there’s a Whiskey Sour made just as it was two centuries ago. And, they definitely knew how to make this drink back then. But the true favorite is the Il Mercante, because colder nights are on the way, so what’s better than a nice drink with flavors of coffee, cinnamon and citrus?
Thanks to Backdoor43, the Navigli canals have become a large open-air bar. You can take a seat anywhere (but they have also just put tables outside), but you may have to elbow your way through the crowds. If you take a stroll along the canals this weekend, stop in and check it out. You can’t go wrong.