Cortina d'Ampezzo is not only skiing and sports, it's also fun, cocktails in the afternoon and parties till late night. The nightlife, especially during the peak season, is one of the most VIP in Italy.
In this page we'll explain everything about the dynamics of the entertainment in Cortina. Whether you are looking for the most exclusive, expensive and trendy clubs, or you just want to drink a few beers or a glass of wine in a quiet place without spending too much, this is the page for you..
... Everything you need to know about having fun and partying in Cortina...
We can assure you that we are quite experienced on the subject. We have been going out partying in the various bars and discos in Cortina for several years now, sometimes well into the wee hours of the night. We may not be great experts on sports and luxury, but on this subject we have quite a lot to say.
The article turned out to be a bit long, so let's start by briefly summarizing the topics we are going to cover, so that you can jump directly to the part you're interested in, by clicking on it, in case you don't want to read it all.
- First we have written a brief introduction about the seasonality of Cortina in the different months of the year.
- The first bars we have listed are the less pretentious bars, mainly breweries and party bars with the more reasonable prices.
- The next chapter is about the more elegant bars, definitely more classy, but without exaggeration.
- After that we have quickly described the most exclusive clubs, where you can expect high prices and elegance.
- Next we have written about the best nightclubs, where you can party and dance all night long.
- We'll finish writing about the mountain lodges, where you can go to drink something during or after your activities in the mountains.
- In conclusion we'll see the typical beverages.
In this article we'll also try to describe the price ranges of the places that we are recommending, but consider that the final price depends mainly on what you order.
... We want to tell you about the clubs for each different price range...
Most of the places we'll talk about are easily reachable simply walking down Corso Italia, the pedestrian area in the center of Cortina.
If you' like to read our article on buildings and things to see in the center of Cortina, you can click below:
Some bars or clubs could be missing, but only for a trivial oversight, we have no sponsorship and all the advice that you will see on this website are written on a non-profit basis. If you feel you have any suggestion, correction, or you see any omission, don't hesitate to contact us.
Low and peak seasons
Let's see one last introductory topic that is very dear to us: the seasonality of Cortina d'Ampezzo. Many probably don't know that Cortina changes a lot according to the different periods of the year.
The kind of tourists, the crowdedness and the air you breathe during Christmas time is not even remotely similar to what you may find if, for example, you come in autumn.
... Cortina changes a lot according to the different months of the year...
Cortina is a rather small mountain town. Many houses are owned by vacationers, and remain closed for most of the year. In the low season there are relatively few residents, so the night clubs prefer to stay closed.
You should not worry though, most of the bars remain open for many months and some offer music till late hours, during all the year.
Anyway keep in mind that, during most of the months, the atmosphere is more that of a quiet mountain town, rather than that of a super crowded tourist spot.
If you want to learn more about this topic, we invite you to read the page we have written about the seasonality of Cortina during the different months of the year. You can click it below:
Drink something in an unpretentious bar
Going on vacation means first of all relaxing, then having fun. After a nice day outdoors, or if the weather is not the best, going to a "not too elegant" bar to sip a beer and chat a bit, without having to dress up, is always a great idea.
So, in this chapter, we want to focus on the bars that are a bit "more rustic" in Cortina, which are also the places that you can find open all year round.
... Water makes you sick, wine makes you sing...
Cortina is a mountain village, and we, as mountain people, like to say that "the water makes you sick, the wine makes you sing". If you want to drink something in a cheerful and informal place, with reasonable prices, frequented also by residents who want to have fun or relax, you should choose one of the following places:
- The "Panino" TOP Bar is a cheerful environment, where you can relax and feel at ease in any situation. A meeting point, open both day and night. During the daytime the environment is more relaxed, in the evening you are likely to find a younger and louder clientele, with music and happiness. We'll also talk about its nightlife soul in the second part of the article.
- The Molo pub is a pub that was almost exclusively frequented by local people until a few years ago, also because it's slightly out of the central area. Thanks to the passion of the owner, over the years it has become known for the high quality of food and cocktails, not to mention the selection of craft beers. Mainly aimed at a nightlife audience, it has an average more adult and quiet clientele.
- The brewery "Hacker Pschorr Haus" is the perfect place to grab a drink in an environment reminiscent of German breweries. Although the place inspires more to sit down, to consume something at a table, the bar counter is still a meeting point for many.
- The "osteria Asinella" is a cozy place that is centrally located, but slightly out of sight. Again, the clientele is more adult and the environment is on average quieter, it's definitely worth a visit if you are looking for a place to drink a lively drink, but not too much.
- The Janbo is a large bar, with also a big closed terrace, where you can have a drink or eat something. It's a good place for a quiet evening aperitif. When night falls, it becomes one of the main meeting points for younger people, but we'll talk more about it in the second part of the article, where we'll deepen the nightlife.
- The Bar Sport is another point of reference of the Ampezzo nightlife. It is a rather small place, but from the outside it offers the most interesting meeting point of Corso Italia, also thanks to its absolutely central position. It's rather busy throughout the year, but especially in the peak season.
If you want to experience the less tourist spirit of Cortina, we want to introduce you to three other bars that are very central, but frequented mainly by locals. These places should be considered by those who are looking for a bit of tranquility, even during the busiest periods.
- The first we want to talk about is the Bar "La Scaletta", a relaxed place in which to have a carefree drink. Consider that it's almost guaranteed the presence of some workers who drink something dressed for work.
- If you want to take a dip in the past, there is a very quiet and typical place, whose decor has remained completely unchanged since the Olympics of 1956. Here you can almost always find a free table, even in the middle of August. It's the Bar "del Nano", a very picturesque place located on the road leading to the Ice Stadium. During the Christmas vacations it's closed, as if to emphasize its "local" nature.
- The third is an open air bar open only in summer. The Bar of the Minigolf is one of the cheapest bars in Cortina, which is why it is often frequented by young workers who, after work, meet up to have a few beers with friends.
There are many other bars in Cortina, all very welcoming, such as the Bar Dolomiti, the Bar "Becalen", the Bar "Arnika" or, among those a little less central, the Bob Bar and the Bar Toto.
The reason why we haven't deepened these last names is because, even if they also are cozy environments, they are not directly associated with party and revelry.
Many of the places we have written about also offer the possibility of eating something but, if you are interested in the best places to eat, you should read our in-depth article that you can find below:
A glass of wine
In the previous chapter we focused on the most "rustic" bars, but in this part we'll talk about the wine bars that are a bit more elegant.
Of course, we are not talking about places where you need to use formal dress, even here you can go dressed as you wish. Let's say that, in the evening, you'll probably see most people wearing an elegant sweater or a classy shirt, but do not feel constrained.
Especially when the sun is shining in the sky, even the most stylish people often wear sporty outfits, according to the season.
... in this part we'll talk about the wine bars that are a bit more elegant...
In this type of environment there is certainly a good chance of finding a more adult clientele. The maximum affluence is concentrated on the hours before dinner, or shortly after. In italian the drink before dinner is really felt and is called Aperitivo.
Consider that these places are suggested only for those who love a little crowd and higher volume music. With the sun high in the sky, generally, these bars are much quieter and less crowded.
All of these places are reasonably priced, proportionate however to a high profile tourist location.
- La Suite is the first name that comes to my mind when I think of a social drink. A central location, an amazing view of the bell tower, a relaxed atmosphere, a good selection of wines and many other drinks. What more could you want? This is a very popular place during aperitif hours, so expect a fair amount of people. We'll also talk about it beneath, as an ideal nightclub, in the nightlife part of the article.
- "Baita Fraina" Wine Bar is surely a great alternative. The wine selection is definitely better, because wines are their main focus. The environment is sober and elegant, the location is very central.
- "Ciasa Lorenzi" is the bar of the hotel with the same name. It is a popular place with a nice terrace and a restaurant where it is possible to eat very well. It's not uncommon to find music and more partying than one might expect from a hotel bar. It's located near the bus station. Not as central as the others, but still really close to the center.
- "Villa Sandi" is the fourth proposal, but certainly not in importance. The environment is of the same type as the previous bars: renowned, but not sumptuous, in the evening it's, generally, very busy.
- Really close to Villa sandi there's also the LP 26 is located very close to "Villa Sandi". Over the years they are focusing more and more on the restaurant, but it remains a very popular meeting point for the evening aperitif.
- The "Faro di Cortina" is a cocktail bar that wants to be different from the bars around it, offering sophisticated drinks in a distinctive environment. It's not the classic "beer and spritz", but for cocktail lovers it's certainly an interesting place. You can find it on Largo Poste, slightly hidden under the porch in front of the "LP26" and "Villa Sandi".
- The "Enoteca Cortina" is an excellent alternative among the bars of the center, if you want to drink a glass of quality wine, surrounded by a more adult clientele. This is an historical place in Cortina, always very busy, but with a generally quieter atmosphere.
You should always consider that Cortina, in peak season, is generally very busy. If you want to drink something before dinner it will be difficult to find one of these places half empty. For those looking for more peace and quiet, we suggest to anticipate the time of the aperitif between the 5 PM and the 6:30 PM and maybe have dinner a little earlier than anybody else.
In any case, don't worry, all the places proposed are relatively close to each other, so in 10 minutes you'll be able to check almost all of them, to see where there might be more or less people, depending on what you are looking for.
For those who are looking for a more exclusive place, where to have a "VIP" aperitif, all the places listed before are a little bit too accessible and crowded.
The real exclusivity in Cortina are the hotel bars, mainly those in the center. If you want an absolutely prestigious aperitif, probably the best place is the bar of the Hotel "de la Poste". Alternatively, it is also possible to head to the bar at the Hotel Cortina, whose terrace overlooks the bell tower. Another prestigious terrace on the Corso is that of the Hotel Ancora, where you can enjoy an enviable panorama. Right now it is under renovation, but when it reopens it will surely be wonderful.
... The real exclusivity in Cortina are the hotel bars...
There are many other hotels in the Ampezzo valley that offer the possibility to drink something, even without being a guest. These are generally cozy and relaxing places, but they are not directly associated with having fun in Cortina, so they'll not be discussed in this page. For completeness of information, however, we want to mention the most exclusive place to hang out in Cortina: the Cristallo Lounge Bar, inside the iconic Cristallo Hotel, where luxury reaches levels of excellence. Actually this hotel is closed for renovation.
In addition to trendy clubs and bars, Cortina is also famous for the villas owned by wealthy entrepreneurs, celebrities or heirs. In these prestigious mansions the most prominent personalities of the national and international scene attend private parties, inaccessible to ordinary people.
Nightlife in Cortina
Almost all the bars listed above, especially during the peak season, are open till late. In some bars the atmosphere remains more relaxed even as darkness falls, in others the ambience becomes more party-like, with music being turned up and people starting to dance. Let's look at them in detail.
- Janbo is a bar with two souls. During the day it's a quiet place to eat or drink something, at night it offers music and a large dance floor. After midnight the entrance could be difficult, because the maximum capacity is often reached. When the place is full it's possible to find a queue before entering, so if you want to go dancing, try to arrive not too late, to avoid this annoyance. The price of the club is reasonable, prices are aligned with those of a nightclub, but not exaggeratedly high. The music tries to satisfy both young people and adults, alternating modern pieces with great dancefloor classics. Sometimes are organized theme nights, such as the 80s.
- La Suite is another bar that changes its soul as night falls. There is often music late into the night and people dancing and having a good time. It is not very big and gets full easily, so it can be very lively even if the season is not at its peak. Recently the staff changed, and we don't have a clear view of what it will become, but if you like to party we recommend you to go to take a look, to see what's happening.
- There is a third bar that may hold some surprises, it is the Panino TOP Bar. This is not a bar that organizes events or calls DJs, but sometimes the nights could evolve into really lively and fun parties. The volume of music could go up a lot, although it is impossible to know in advance what kind of music will be chosen for the night. It's absolutely random, you may find revelry, but it could also be a quiet night, anyway you might go and check what kind of evening is.
So far we have talked about bars, but there are also real clubs and discos in Cortina. They are generally open only when the season is very high, and the prices are not exactly popular.
- Bilbò Club is a nightclub that opens only a few weeks, in peak season. It preserves the charm of the classic Cortina, with a decor that recalls the golden years of the discos. It is the ideal place for a more adult clientele, but it can also be appreciated by young people. At the entrance there's usually a person who selects the entrance, so if you are a little too "high" you may not be able to get in. You'll probably be asked to pay the entrance fee. The level of the club is surely higher than the average, the prices are those of an exclusive place and it's always advisable to dress decorously. We suggest visiting it if you want to breathe an atmosphere that, over the years, is almost getting lost.
- Hierbas Cortina is really close to Bilbò, in fact it is the door on the left. It is a fairly popular nightclub. Also there you'll be checked at the entrance and you will be probably charged with a fee. I see it open more often than Bilbo and it is frequented by people who are, on average, younger. The environment is modern and it closes late at night, so it could be a good alternative, if you are looking for a less sophisticated place to dance.
- Vip Club is an historic nightclub of Cortina d'Ampezzo, which also appeared in the 1983 italian comedy movie Christmas Vacation. It's open only in peak season. The style is rustic, with lots of wood and soft lights. The place is generally really crowded, so much that, sometimes, it could be quite complicated even to get in. Surely it's a club suitable for those looking for a crowded place, with music and fun as in the golden years of piano bars. The reason for which this club is so loved is being able to "travel back in time", at least for one night, when people were more carefree. The level of the local, as you can guess from the name, is very high, both in prices and in the clientele that frequents it. We suggest you visit it even only to breathe an atmosphere that is almost forgotten. It may be required to pay the entrance and you may be not allowed without appropriate clothing.
Before concluding this section about Cortina's nightlife, we would like to give you a purely practical tip. In touristy places like Cortina, outside of bars, sometimes it is possible to run into a few hotheads who might get on your nerves. It often happens because of their lack of ability to handle alcohol or other stimulants.
Cortina is a safe and quiet town, you don't have to be afraid neither at night nor during the day, but a few small brawls could happen. We recommend you to ignore certain guys and not to waste time arguing with them, so as to avoid ruining your day just because you've given attention to someone who is showing off, or who says something stupid. After all, everything's easier if we try to ignore the idiots, rather than indulge them.
Mountain lodges and Après Ski
For those who have never been to Cortina, alpine huts could be imagined as uncomfortable and spartan shelters, where the manager serves polenta and sausages in a dark dining room. Even if a few places would almost fit this description, most of the alpine lodges in Cortina are actually both luxury restaurants at high altitude and places of party and fun, with trendy menus and solarium terrace. Mountain lodges are the ideal place to relax or drink something surrounded by nature.
... Most of the alpine lodges are actually luxury restaurants and places of party and fun...
In summer you can reach them walking, and then stay under the sun until late hours, thanks to the long days. Some mountain lodges can also be reached by jeep service, if you don't want to walk, you can ask if it's available.
In winter they can be chosen as a destination while you are skiing, on the ski slopes or while you are mountain skiing. In some cases there is a ski-Doo service. Some mountain lodges organize the Après Ski, an afternoon party set up right on the ski slopes, with music, DJs and parties. For a different evening, you might consider a dinner at the mountain lodge, then sledding down to the valley.
Just remember to not exaggerate with the drinks, because you have to get back to the valley. We, as mountain people, know one thing, it's not scientifically proven, but the experience teaches us that it works: descending rapidly in altitude, after having had a few drinks, is challenging. Lowering in altitude, makes drunkenness rise.
- The Chalet Tofane, is currently the place that, most of all, embodies the spirit of the party "in a mountain lodge". The large terrace hosts many young people, both locals and tourists. Surely one of the reasons why the Chalet Tofane has become the point of reference in this type of events, is the fact that it's located quite close to the center, so it's easy to reach it by car, on foot or by ski. It also has a huge parking lot available. In winter it overlooks the ski slopes of Socrepes, in summer it's surrounded by greenery. You can eat well, drink well, in short, it has all the credentials to be the first on the list.
- The "Scoiattoli" mountain lodge, at the "Cinque Torri", is another great choice. When the chairlift is open, it's easily accessible even walking very little, if you have a means of transport to reach the parking of the chairlift. In winter it's also possible to reach it on skis, in summer with a reasonably short hike. The restaurant offers good quality food, the bar is well stocked and the environment is wonderful. A classy mountain lodge where you can also have fun. It has a large terrace and it even has a heated "wooden tub". It's a tub made of fir wood in which you can dive in with five other people. Of course, it's always recommended to call first to ask about availability and eventually book.
- The Averau mountain lodge is located in the same area, but at a higher altitude. It's another wonderfully furnished restaurant, where you can eat really well and enjoy yourself or relax on its large terrace, from which you can see a wonderful view.
- The Mietres mountain lodge is located on the North-East side of the Ampezzo valley, and is another example of beautiful mountain furniture. The "Rifugio Mietres" also has a large terrace, and is relatively close to the center. It can be reached, depending on the season, with the jeep or snowmobile, available on request. You can also reach it with a relatively short excursion, or with ski mountaineering. In all cases the climb is not very demanding. There is also a large tub made of larch wood and an outdoor sauna. Also in this case it is strongly recommended to ask in advance the availability of the facilities, and reserve it. In winter it's also an ideal place to organize a descent with the sledge.
- "Malga Federa" is a smaller structure than the previous ones, but no less fascinating. In summer you can reach it on foot or with the jeep, in winter on foot, with the mountaineering skis or with the snowmobile. Also here, in winter, the descent by sledge is a good option.
In Cortina, during summertime, there are some events that attract sportsmen and fans from all over the world. Considering the large number of visitors, these events have become occasions to meet, which are now part of the heart of the Ampezzo summer:
- At the end of June is held "La Sportiva" Lavaredo Ultra Trail, during which the Palmieri mountain hut at Croda da Lago organizes an outdoor "pollastrata" (an outdoor chicken barbecue) for the passage of the running race. A meeting point for athletes, fans or simply for those who want to have fun.. We also suggest you attend the start of the longest race. It usually takes place around 11 PM in the center of Cortina, under the bell tower, and it's generally very crowded.
- Every year, in mid-July, in the amazing location of the Cinque Torri, the staff of the Scoiattoli mountain lodge organize a wonderful and free outdoor concert. It is an event that gathers hundreds of fans of music and it's something you don't want to miss. You can find all the information you need on the website of the "Rifugio Scoiattoli", in the "events" section.
- The high altitude summer ends with the Delicious Festival Dolomiti, a trail-running and gastronomic competition, where the mountain lodges involved prepare some "pit stops" with traditional Ampezzo dishes and snacks. It's a double race: a longer and more technical one, for real sportsmen, and a second one, for amateurs who are looking for less fatigue and more refreshment. If you want to participate officially, you have to register.
After all this talk about fun and hangout, one question might come up: what do people typically drink in Cortina d'Ampezzo? The answer to this question comes from Cortina's geographical position.To the north we can find Austria and Germany, homelands of the Lager Beer and Weissbier that, in the mountains, are both very appreciated.
To the south there are the territories of Prosecco, a white sparkling wine, and all the other exceptional vineyards of Veneto. I honestly think that in our region there are some of the best wines ever, in fact they are worldwide appreciated. The neighboring Friuli Venezia Giulia and Trentino Alto Adige also produce very respectable wines too.
... the Aperol spritz is the aperitif par excellence in Veneto...
Now let's see which are the drinks that, more than any other, are typical of our territory.
- Now famous all over the world, the most popular aperitifs are the Prosecco and the "Spritz aperol". Aperol spritz is the aperitif par excellence in Veneto: it's a drink that initially was very popular among university students in Padua, later, it was exported to Venice, Treviso, Jesolo and Cortina. Today it's spread all over Italy and the world. What distinguishes our territories is that the spritz is considered, and charged, as a glass of wine of average quality. Once you are outside of the Veneto region, however, it's considered a cocktail, so generally it's much more expensive.
- If you are in Cortina in winter and you prefer to drink something hot to keep you warm, you should try the "vin brulè" (mulled wine). It's a glass of boiled red wine, flavored and sweetened. It is served warm and, I assure you, it will warm both your heart and your bones. If you need to raise the temperature of your body, with one or two glasses of mulled wine, you will be reborn.
- Another typical glass of the Veneto mountains is called "Vov". It is a rather light liquor, a very caloric and sweet egg cream, similar to "zabaglione", which is perfect to face the cold temperatures of the mountains. It normally comes in a coffee cup or a tiny glass. Sometimes it's served warm, with a "hat" of whipped cream. In this case it's called "Bombardino". A curiosity for you: the "Vov" originated in Padua, Italy, from a pastry chef who didn't know what to do with the egg yolks. He used to make meringues, so he used only the white of the eggs and invented this drink. In fact, the name comes from "vovi", which literally means eggs in the dialect of that part of Italy.
- Another constant presence is the "grappa". It is the typical conclusion of dinners in Cortina. It can be sweet, with the taste of different fruits, or bitter, with the taste of roots or mountain herbs, or even really dry, as white grappa. The grappa that most represents Cortina is the cumin grappa, which every real Cortina resident calls "Ciariè". If you are brave and you like extremely bitter tastes, you could try a Gentian grappa (Genziana). It's a real challenge, but it's also the most interesting and less "commercial" grappa.
- Typical mountain dishes are often based on meats and strong flavors, for this reason we suggest you go for red wines, strictly local. If you'll eat some Austrian origin food, that can be found in the breweries, the perfect drink is a good mug of beer. We want to go out on a very personal stand here, but we believe that red wines from Veneto are among the best in the world. If you are not afraid of challenging wines, Ripasso and Amarone are wines you should definitely investigate.
- In night clubs, as in all tourist resorts, international cocktails monopolize the market. Today the most requested glass in Cortina is the Gin Tonic. Ask the bartender how you like it, and he'll certainly be able to find the right combination of tonic and botanicals.
Always remember to drink responsibly: if you've had a little too much fun, call a Taxi. The country is small, the curves are tight, the roads are narrow, and the patrols know where to lurk....
As you may have guessed, there are some places where to have fun in Cortina, but you shouldn't expect the nightlife of the metropolis or of the "fun factories" found by the sea. If you are not so young, or you simply don't want to be in the middle of the confusion, remember that it's possible to spend a fun evening also at the restaurant. A dinner with one or more friends at a table, maybe drinking a good bottle of wine, is perhaps one of the most pleasant activities that exist.
We hope you liked this page on where to party in Cortina d'Ampezzo. Before saying goodbye, we would suggest you read all the articles we wrote about Cortina d'Ampezzo by clicking here.
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