Usually I try to make my city guides on here rather comprehensive, spending a lot of time ahead of a trip researching where the best local spots are and once there seeing and eating as much possible for the time I am there. However sometimes that just isn’t possible, especially if you are faced with a last-minute work trip with more time spent at the office than out sightseeing. This was the case when I spent a night in Milan a couple of weeks ago to teach our team over there all about social media.
Once I touched down In Milan, a little bleary eyed after a 6am flight, I faced a pretty jam packed schedule so, I am ashamed to say, did not make it to any of major sights despite it being my first time there BUT I did I did make it to one place that I was so desperate to go to that I literally ubered it straight from work there.
So what is this place that I was prepared to cross half of Milan for, even after being up for what felt like 24 hours already, you may wonder?! Well I am a bit of a film nerd and a massive fan Wes Anderson’s work and his ability to draw you into his unique and colourful world. Each of his films feature such detailed sets, with every aspect of the interior considered, that they become as much part of the film as the living characters.
It was only a matter of time really that this minute eye for detail was utilised for a real life space and where better to do it than on the grounds of the Prada Foundation at Bar Luce, slightly away from the city centre. Here he was given the opportunity to recreate the atmosphere of a typical Milanese café, of course also with that magical touch that has made Anderson’s aesthetic so instantly recognisable.
Ahead of my visit however I was very much trying to manage my expectations. Yes, this was a café designed by a director I admired and it looked the part when I saw it on various social media platforms but experience had taught me that posts can be deceiving and that many hyped spots (Dandelyan being one of those) weren’t as charming or nice to spend an evening at in real life.
I shouldn’t have worried as the minute I stepped through the doors I was instantly wowed and transported into a different world. The seats, formica furniture, floor, veneered wood wall panels and the range of colours employed were reminiscent of the kitsch cafes of the 1950s and 1960s and everything was as beautifully symmetrical as in his films. Waiters are dressed to the nines with their black bow ties and even the cakes look too perfect to eat, it all feeling as if you have just stepped into one of his films and are waiting to meet one of his eccentric characters.
Perhaps I was always going to love Bar Luce as a fan of Anderson’s work but I would find it hard to believe for anyone to not get a little lost in his world here. Even better drinks and food prices are VERY reasonable and the 5 euro glass of prosecco I ordered even came with an array of beautifully presented Italian snacks. I went by myself and to be honest did not really need any company, so engrossed in taking in every little detail of the place (even the pin ball machines are based on his movies), almost like a child in a toy store with the addition of a chilled glass of Italian bubbles. I may have not seen much Milan but this place was one for my personal bucket list and one worth the hype.