Where to have fun in Cortina

On this page we are going to describe all the places to have fun in Cortina d'Ampezzo.

Quick index (Click to expand) Introduction Low and peak seasons Unpretentious bars A glass of wine VIP Aperitif Mountain lodges and Apres Ski Nightlife in Cortina Differences between summer and winter Typical drinks Conclusion

Introduction:

Cortina d'Ampezzo is not only skiing and sports, but also fun. The nightlife, especially during the Christmas holidays, is one of the most VIP in the whole Italy. In this page we'd like to explain a little better the dynamics of the entertainment in Cortina, both in summer and in winter.
Whether you are looking for the most exclusive, expensive and trendy clubs, or you just want to drink a few beers in a quiet place without spending too much, this is the page for you.

Spritz Aperol, the Venetian aperitif par excellence
Spritz Aperol, photo by pxhere.
A glass of Gin Tonic at Cortina d'Ampezzo
A glass of Gin Tonic.
PICTURE NOT YET TAKEN, UNDER CONSTRUCTION
Picture not yet shooted.

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'd be interested by clicking on it, in case you don't want to read it all.

After a brief introduction to talk about the seasonality of Cortina, we'll first list the less pretentious bars, mainly breweries and bars. The next chapter is about the more elegant bars, but without exaggerate. We'll then quickly see the most exclusive clubs, where you can expect high prices and elegance.
We'll then continue writing about the mountain lodges, where to stop during or after activities in the mountains, and we'll finish talking about the nightclubs.
In conclusion we'll see the differences between summer and winter and what are the typical beverages.

In this article we'll also try to describe the price ranges...

Most of the places we'll talk about are easy to reach simply walking down Corso Italia, the pedestrial area of Cortina. Here you can read our article on the most interesting buildings of the center of Cortina.

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 from what you order.

Some place could be missing, but only for a trivial oversight, we have no sponsorship and all the advice that you can see on this site 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.

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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 can find if, for example, you come in autumn. Cortina is a rather small mountain town. Many houses are owned by vacationers, and remain closed for most of the year. In low season there are relatively few residents, so the clubs prefer to stay closed, while most of the bars remains always opened, and some offers music till late hours. 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.

Attention: due to Covid19 restrictions many of the things on this page are actually a lot different. Please always act according to the current regulations.

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.
Many of the places we'll talk about also offer the possibility of eating something, but as for the best places to eat, we recommend you to read our article that you can find clicking here.

...the water makes you sick, the wine makes you sing...

Cortina is a mountain village, and we, as mountain people, often say that "the water makes you sick, the wine makes you sing". If you want to drink something in a cheerful and informal place, frequented also by residents who want to have fun and with reasonable prices, you should choose one of the following places:

If you want to experience the less tourist spirit of Cortina, we want to introduce you to two 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. Consider that it's almost guaranteed the presence of some workers who drink something dressed for work. We are talking about the Bar "La Scaletta"Small map icon and the X Bar (historically known as Genzian)Small map icon.

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 '56. Here you can almost always find a free table, even in the middle of August. It's the Bar "del Nano"Small map icon, 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.

There are many other bars and clubs in Cortina, all very welcoming, such as the Bar "Dolomiti"Small map icon, the Bar "Becalen"Small map icon, or the Bar "Arnika"Small map icon, the Bob BarPiccola icona mappa or the Bar "Pierosà"Piccola icona mappa, surrounded by greenery and definitely an excellent option if we want to consider the fun of children.

The reason why we haven't deepen these last names is because, even if they also are cozy environments, they are not directly associated to party and revelry. Finally, there are all those names that we surely forgot to mention.

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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 the 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 outfit, according to the season.
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. Consider that these moments are suggested only for those who love a little of 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.

You should always consider that Cortina, in peak season, is generally very busy, so if you want to drink something it will be difficult to find one of one of these places half empty. For those looking for a little more peace and quiet, we suggest to anticipate the time of the aperitif at 18:00 (even 17:00 in winter) and maybe have dinner a little earlier. In any case, don't worry, all the places proposed are relatively close each other, so in 10 minutes you'll be able to check almost all of them, to see where there might be less people. If you see a free table, however, do not hesitate: sit down immediately. Usually, if a table is booked, you'll notice, it's clearly written on it. In italy we use the word "Riservato" or "Prenotato" for a table that is not available, and it should be written on the table clearly visible.

VIP Aperitif:

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 PosteSmall map icon, alternatively you can also try the bar of the Hotel CortinaSmall map icon, whose terrace overlooks the bell tower. Another prestigious terrace on the center is the one of the Hotel AncoraSmall map icon

There are many other hotels in the Ampezzo valley that offers the possibility to drink something, even without being a guest. These are generally cozy and relaxing places, but they are not directly associated to 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 BarSmall map icon, inside the iconic Cristallo Hotel, where luxury reaches levels of excellence.

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.

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Mountain lodges and Apres Ski:

For those who have never been to Cortina, alpine huts could be imagined as uncomfortable and spartan shelters, where a gruff manager serves polenta and sausages in dark dining room.
Even if some places would almost fit this description, most of 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 and have fun surrounded by nature.

In summer you can reach them walking, and then stay under the sun until late hours, thanks to of 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, in the ski slopes or while you are doing mountaineering ski. Some mountain lodges organize the Apres Ski, an afternoon party set up right on the ski slopes, with music, DJs and party. For a different evening, you might consider a dinner at the mountain lodge, then sledding down to the valley.

Just remember to not exxagerate 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.

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:

One photo of the concert in the five towers
Rock concert in "Cinque Torri".
Roasted chicken on the barbecue
Roasted chicken on the barbecue.
Another photo of the cinque torri live music
Live music at a mountain lodge.
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Nightlife in Cortina:

Almost all the bars listed above, especially during the peak season, are opened till late. However, the real nightlife in Cortina, meaning the clubs where you can dance until late, are mainly three. Let's understand in detail the type of clientele and the price range of these three clubs.

Before concluding this section about Cortina's nightlife, we would like to give you a couple of purely practical tips.

...everithing's easier if we try to ignore the idiots...

In touristy places like Cortina, outside of bars, rarely it's 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 maybe because they are "accelerated" by substances.
Cortina is a safe and quiet country, you don't have to be afraid neither at night nor during the day, but few small brawl could happen. We advise you to ignore certain guys and not to waste time arguing with them, so as to avoid ruining your evening just because you've given rope to someone who is showing off, or who says a few bad words to you or your country. After all, everithing's easier if we try to ignore the idiots, rather than indulge them.

An evening at Panino Top Bar in Cortina, photo downloaded from facebook
An evening at Panino Top Bar.
Boys dancing on the bilbo track of Cortina d'Ampezzo, photo downloaded from facebook
The dancefloor of the Bilbo Club.
Interior of the local Janbo without people, photo downloaded from facebook
The interiors of Jambo bar.

Differences between summer and winter:

The main differences between summer and winter is that the summer season in Cortina is rather short. The peak of tourists is concentrated mainly in the month of August. In summer the most popular activities are hiking, walking in the mountains and outdoor sports. Cortina, however, offers many alternatives, especially for lovers of a more mundane life, such as cultural events and meetings with book authors or famous people (an issue for foreigners is that the events are mainly in italian).
The warm and long days tend to favor aperitifs, which last until late in the evening. Another activity that is ypical of the summer and is really appreciated by guests and residents are the country festivals: they are traditional events where you can eat, drink and have fun in an informal atmosphere. Here you can read our article about this topic.

The winter season is much longer, in fact it lasts from Christmas to Easter. In the months of January and March the presences are concentrated mainly in the weekends. On the contrary of the summer, the winter is cold and the days are short, places like restaurants and mountain lodges are taken of assault from tourists, that look for warm and a little of refreshment from the not always ideal temperatures. In this period we strongly recommend booking well in advance, especially if you want to eat in one of the most popular restaurants. We have written an article on the best restaurants for every need, you can read it here.

Whether it is summer or winter, always remember that you are in the middle of the mountains, so the weather may not always be clement and may also change quickly. In case of rain, snow, wind or bitter cold some of your programs may skip. Before demoralizing you could read our page on what to do in case of bad weather. You can also considder that you are on vacation, so you could take the bad weather as an opportunity to make a little break to the rule: a long day with cocktail or a late night of dancing could be a good cure for bad weather melancholy.

Typical drinks:

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.

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....

A glass of wine, strictly Venetian like Cortina
Red wine, strictly local.
Grappas, the perfect way to have fun in the mountain lodges
Mountain grappa
A glass of Gin Tonic in Cortina d'Ampezzo
A glass of Gin Tonic.

Conclusion:

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. For those who want to learn more about it, we invite you to read this page on where to eat well, with the right amount of money, in Cortina d'Ampezzo.

Hoping you liked the page on where to have fun in Cortina Ampezzo, before saying goodbye, we would suggest you to read all the articles we wrote about Cortina d'Ampezzo by clicking here.

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