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 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.
... this is the page for you...
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 in 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.
... 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 pedestrian 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 on what you order.
Some places 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.
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 changes a lot according to the different periods 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 low season there are relatively few residents, so the clubs prefer to stay closed, while most of the bars remain always open, and some offer 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.
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 here.
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:
- The "Panino" TOP Bar is often a cheerful ambient, 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 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 rather large place, with a big terrace where you can have a drink in the open air. It's also the ideal 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 one of the most interesting meeting points of Corso Italia, also thanks to its absolutely central position. It's rather busy throughout the year, but especially in the high season.
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".
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", 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, 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. Finally, there are some names that we surely forgot to mention.
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.
Consider that these moments 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. Central location, view of the bell tower, 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.
- "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 freshest among the proposals, it is in fact the most recently opened bar. It's located near the bus station. Not as central as the others, but still really near.
- "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 very busy.
- 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 LP and Villa Sandi.
- "Enoteca Cortina" is an excellent alternative to the bars in the center if you want to drink a glass of quality wine, surrounded by a more adult clientele. This is almost an historical place in Cortina, always very busy, but on average quieter.
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 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 to 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 becuase 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.
or 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.
... 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.
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.
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 a dark dining room. Even if some 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 and have fun 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. Some mountain lodges organize the Apres 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 hut 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
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 11pm in the center of Cortina, under the bell tower, and it's generally very crowded.
- In the amazing location of the Cinque Torri is set up, every year in mid-July, a wonderful outdoor concert. Organized by the staff of the Scoiattoli mountain hut is an event that gathers hundreds of fans of music and entertainment. On their website, in the events section, you can find all the information.
- The high altitude summer ends with the Delicious Festival Dolomiti, a trail-running gastronomic competition, where the mountain huts 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.
Nightlife in Cortina
Almost all the bars listed above, especially during the peak season, are open 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.
- The Janbo is a club 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 of the place could be easily 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 level of the local is proportionate to the type of clientele, 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.
- The Bilbò
Club is a nightclub that opens only a few weeks, in high season. It preserves the charm of the classic Cortina, with a decor that recalls the golden years of the
discos. Surely it is a place designed and ideal 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 place is surely higher than the average, the prices are those of an exclusive place and it's always advisable to dress appropriately. We suggest visiting it if you want to breathe an atmosphere that, over the years, is almost getting lost.
- The 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 discos. 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 couple of purely practical tips. In touristy places like Cortina, outside of bars, sometimes 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 something else.
Cortina is a safe and quiet country, you don't have to be afraid neither at night nor during the day, but a few small brawls 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, everything's easier if we try to ignore the idiots, rather than indulge them.
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 the outdoor sports. Here you can read our article about the best hiking in the mountains of Cortina. Our town, 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 aperitif, which lasts until late in the evening. Another activity that is typical 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 by tourists, who look for warmth 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.
In winter, to have fun outdoors during the sunny hours, the best choice is to spend some time in the snow. You could take a bob and go on one of the many meadows, or go to eat in a mountain lodge, and then go down with the sled, or even practice a winter sport, such as downhill skiing, cross-country skiing or mountaineering.
Whether it is summer or winter, always remember that you are in the middle of the mountains, so the weather may not always be clear 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 consider 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 cocktails or a late night of dancing could be a good cure for bad weather melancholy.
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.
- 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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