Turin's nighttime scene offers increasingly well-crafted cocktails served at bars and locales with great atmospheres. Here are 10 of the best.

Any traveler to Piedmont is very likely a wine lover – or, about to become one. They’ll probably visit UNESCO wine territory in the south of the region to taste that noble nebbiolo in Barolo or Barbaresco, or seek out the gems of Alto Piemonte, such as Gattinara.

But what if your palate feels like a break from wine? Or, as beautiful as the vineyard hills are, you begin to crave a city experience? The elegant capital of Piedmont, Turin, is the answer. While we all love an evening spritz here, on occasion I like to depart from the classic Italian aperitivo experience.

For more contemporary cocktails, this is where to head in Turin.

The 10 top cocktail bars in Turin

top cocktail bars in Turin - DDR

DDR – © Alecia Wood

DDR

On my last couple of visits here, there has been no cocktail menu to choose from, but that’s no matter – tell the bartender your preferred base spirit, and whether you’d like your drink sweet, sour, bitter, or otherwise, and they’ll tailor a cocktail to your tastes. From the same owners as La Drogheria (see below), you’ve reached this corner spot when you find the park benches out the front, and the giant wooden table-come-bar inside, where eclectic, colorful furnishings contrast with the pared-back concrete flooring and unfinished walls.

DDR
Via Berthollet, 9
www.ddrtorino.com

Isola

A recent newcomer to the San Salvario neighborhood, this light and charming spot is all peeling walls and turquoise velvet banquettes. The open kitchen serves up tacos and potato rösti with all sorts of toppings, which you can snack on while enjoying the handiwork of the in-house tattoo artist, working from the tinted glass cube in the corner (cue very hipster vibes). There’s no cocktail menu, so I’d recommend asking after their Ginger Vodka Sour adorned with a grey salt rim, to start.

Isola
Via Goito, 15
Isola facebook

Distilleria Quaglia

This city outpost opened not so long ago in 2015 as an extension of the distillery itself, which launched in 1890 and sits outside Turin, producing vermouth, grappa, and a range of liqueurs. All these turn up on their cocktail menu – like the Mari #1 made with bergamot liqueur, gin, sage syrup, and lemon juice, a recommended drink. Their menu offers the choice of all dishes in two different sizes – aperitivo or cena (dinner). Opting for a few of the substantially-sized, tapas-like aperitivo plates makes for satisfying bar snacks. Try the radicchio lasagnetta, and the frittura of artichokes served with a mint-laced tartare sauce.

Distilleria Quaglia
Via Giulia di Barolo, 54
www.distilleriaquaglia.it

Dash

The street-side entry belies the expanse of the space within, finished top to bottom in polished concrete with low-slung, velvet-clad lounge chairs throughout. There’s a wide range of beers on tap, plus a dedicated “gin tonic experience” section on the drinks list, featuring a ton of gins filed under “balanced,” “aromatic,” and “spiced” variations, with a selection of different tonic waters. Try the super smoky Tea For One shaken with gin, violet liqueur, rosemary bitters, and an infusion of Lapsang Souchong tea.

Dash
Largo Saluzzo, 34c
www.dashkitchen.it

Smile Tree

Between its vegan aperitivo and dramatic drinks delivery, this secluded bar has gained a standing as one of Turin’s most creative cocktail haunts. Here, they come served on their own board with intricate set-ups, often involving liquid nitrogen displays and lime garnishes set ablaze at the table. It’s situated on a quiet little piazza in Quadrilatero Romano, the city’s Roman quarter.

Smile Tree
Piazza della Consolata, 9
www.smiletree.it

The Pink Panther - Affini

The Pink Panther – © Alecia Wood

Affini

My personal favorite, this bar is housed in the former Vermouth Anselmo space, which had been dedicated to serving the hallmark Torinese vermouth brand founded in 1847.

There’s still a good deal of vermouth on the menu – some 26 of them on offer, used in the likes of the Nuvolari, made with Campari, Vermouth Rosso, chinotto liqueur, lemon juice, and sugar syrup. If you’re not a fan of vermouth, I’m partial to The Passenger – a spicy bourbon sour with raspberry liqueur and house-made ginger syrup, topped with nuggets of candied ginger.

Affini
Via Belfiore, 16C
Affini facebook

La Drogheria

The service here isn’t super attentive, but it’s by far the best cocktail venue in Piazza Vittorio Veneto, where it seems the entire city heads for aperitivo during the warmer months. Head for the outdoor seating, with a Lo Sceriffo (the sheriff) in hand – a mixture of gin, Earl Grey tea syrup, licorice bitters, saffron, and passion fruit pulp – after perusing the nightly buffet offering strewn across the long communal table inside.

La Drogheria
Piazza Vittorio Veneto 18/d
www.la-drogheria.it

Centràl Cocktail Bar

On Piazza Carlo Emanuele II, this lesser-known spot is, quite literally, very central, a stone’s throw from the city’s elegant Via Lagrange shopping district. It’s industrial but cozy inside, with timber beams overhead and a lounge seating area. Jamaican rum, spiced rum, mandarin juice, and sage are combined in one of the drinks from their latest menu, a mixture called the Jolly Roger.

Centràl Cocktail Bar
Via Luigi Des Ambrois, 5
Centràl facebook

Bar Cavour

Top cocktail bars in Turin - Gran Torino - © Bar Cavour

Gran Torino – © Bar Cavour

Are you in the mood to feel *fancy*? Between Turin’s most famous restaurant, Ristorante del Cambio, and its more casual café, Farmacia del Cambio, you’ll find the entrance to their sister cocktail bar (manned by a couple of security guards). Head upstairs to the moody, luxe space, decked out entirely in deep blue and black hues. The Gran Torino drink offers an ode to the city and its signature ingredients: bourbon, vermouth, sage, and liqueur of gianduiotto (a hazelnut-laced local type of chocolate), topped with one of the fudgy confections. It’s an exclusive spot with price tags to match – while cocktails across town usually sit around the €9 mark, here they range from €12 to €18 each.

Bar Cavour
Piazza Carignano, 2
www.barcavour.com

The Mad Dog Social Club

Head to the website to find the hint for the daily password needed for entering this clandestine basement bar. Arched ceilings and exposed brickwork enhance the moody, cavern feel of this would-be speakeasy, where vintage furniture, crystal shakers, and suspender- and cap-clad bartenders recall the Prohibition era. Their signature drinks reinterpret classic cocktails, like the Aspro Alpino – a sour shaken with pine and anise liqueurs, along with orange blossom water.

The Mad Dog
Via Maria Vittoria, 35A
www.themaddog.it

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