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Italian brands' new favourite fetish is opening a cocktail bar

Another way to communicate with the community

Italian brands' new favourite fetish is opening a cocktail bar Another way to communicate with the community

In recent years, specialty bars, as well as wine bars, have been rediscovered by major cities. Meeting places for creative communities have thus had their revenge, becoming not only cultural spaces but important places for the construction of the identity of individual cities. The managers are often young people who do not always have a background in catering - see Bar Nico and Bicchierino Bar in Milan, founded by former professionals in the fields of fashion and photography - for this reason, the aesthetics of the place often reflect a well-established artistic identity. Between Milan and Rome, more and more cocktail bars, natural wine bars, and coffee bakeries boast a following similar to that of a fashion brand, perhaps precisely because, apart from the refined menu, their foundations can rely on the minds of creatives capable of thinking outside the box. Perfect examples of the union of art and food are Section80Bar and Bar Sota, places that have opened in the past year and, despite differing in terms of offerings and identity, were both born from companies far from the world of catering.

Section80Bar was born from an idea by Marco Orlando, founder of Section80, a production house in Milan mainly specialized in commercial videos. The identity of the place was curated by the famous graphic design studio La Tigre, while the architectural project was signed by Studio Wok. The goal of Section80Bar is to provide a meeting place for the city's creative community, «where you can read a book, listen to music, participate in themed screenings and of course have a cocktail and eat something,» explained Orlando himself to MilanoToday. Inside the venue, there is an area where listening parties and screenings are organized, a small bookshop – created in collaboration with the team of the project Edicola 518 from Perugia – and a record store, curated together with the Berlin store and label Sound Metaphors. If the idea of a video production house launching such a reality seems out of the ordinary, the phenomenon fits into a broader trend, in which the concept of a bar – and everything that comes with it – expands and becomes an opportunity for individual brands to further position themselves on the market, subtly communicating their personality. Having a physical place to foster sociability allows companies to welcome and expand their community.

The path that led to the birth of Section80Bar is in some ways similar to the one taken less than a year ago, in Rome, by the clothing and design store Sota, which indeed chose to launch its respective bar. The venue develops an offer that changes throughout the day – transitioning from a bakery to offering smash burgers, among many things, as well as a selection of wines, cocktails, beers, and refined non-alcoholic drinks. Occasionally, Bar Sota transforms into a dining club, organizing dinner events hosting prominent chefs. The project's launch has been greatly appreciated by the city, indicated by industry magazines as one of the best food and wine establishments opened in Italy in 2023. In this case, the founders' goal was to create a space «where we can showcase our favorite things, connected to design, fashion, art, and combine our passion for good food and drink,» specified co-founder Filippo Calabresi. The brand's name derives precisely from the acronym "State Of The Art". «The project – explains Calabresi in an interview – started in February 2022 with the opening of the first store, the Sota Store», dedicated to «vintage pieces, sneakers, clothing, but also watches and ceramics». Subsequently, the bar was created to meet the need to «host artists and designers visiting the store as if at home,» while «creating a place that offers a welcoming and inclusive experience for all customers.»