I was in Via della Spiga around lunch time today and I couldn’t help stopping by Al Baretto’s (literally “at the little bar”). When I was a child – back in the ’70s – my mum had her PR agency right beside it and used to take me there for lunch every now and then. Al Baretto’s was the place to be and it still is. If there’s a place in Milan where it makes sense to go to see and to be seen (assuming that people may still be keen to see and to be seen that is, which seems to me to be quite anacronistic in these days), that is it.
Opened in December 1962, the Al Baretto’s has been hosting the top of the crop of the people in town. It moved from Via Sant’Andrea to its current location in Via Senato, within the Hotel Baglioni, but with its soft carpets, fine wood wall panels and its old English gentlemen’s club atmosphere, it has remained identical over the years. They serve excellent food and offer a very accurate selection of the finest wines. Their Martini Cocktail is by far the best in town.
But the real asset of Al Baretto’s are its people. Further to the competent and polite staff , Ermanno Taschera and Vincenzo Bagaria are those who really make the difference. I remember when I was a child, my mum always met somebody she knew and they usually started chatting, and though it was clearly not meant to be a pre-schooler-friendly environment, I didn’t feel embarrassed or uncomfortable in the least (and – take it from me – I tended to feel embarrassed and uncomfortable quite often) since Ermanno and Vicenzo always found a way to make me feel looked after and cared about. Notwithstanding their huge success, they have never stopped been caring and sweet. Over the years I celebrated there the most significant events in my life. Threw my graduation party, my bechelorette party … And had my first Martini after delivering my son.