The Mag Cafè family is expanding, Still. A fifth has been added to the four venues of the Farmily group – Iter, 1930, Backdoor 43 and Mag itself. September 13th inaugurated the Mag Cafè La Pusterla, the place most similar in idea to the first cocktail bar of the empire started by Flavio Angiolillo. It is located in via Edmondo De Amicis, where until March there was the historic Caffè della Pusterla, in the center of Milan, in the Colonne area. It is open every day from 7.30 in the morning until 2.00 at night, with a gastronomic offer signed by Iter's chef, Vincenzo Migniuolo, which includes brioches, scrambled eggs, bruschetta, platters, traditional Italian and non-Italian dishes, some of which in sandwich version, and sandwiches. to know more we interviewed the bar manager of the venue Francesco Bonazzi and the barman and entrepreneur Flavio Angiolillo.
Hi Flavio, can you tell us where you come from and what path did you take to become the entrepreneur you are today?
I was born in Rome in 1984 and raised in France. I started working in the catering world at 16, in the mixing world at 22 and at 25 I became an entrepreneur. I decided to return to Italy, at the age of 22, because I wanted to learn the language. I've done some crazy things in my life. I tried, even when I had no money. I also made mistakes, which allowed me to grow, learn and become the person I am today.
The first place of the Farmily group that you opened was the Mag Cafè, 10 years ago now. This was followed by the openings of Iter, 1930 and Backdoor 43. Do you manage the entrepreneurial part alone or in partnership with other entrepreneurs?
I manage it with other employees who have become my partners over the years. I started alone and the group grew more and more, up to the current seven people including myself: Francesco Bonazzi, Carlo Dall'Asta, Benjamin Cavagna, Marco Russo, Loris Melis and Lorenzo Raimondi.
What successes are you most proud of?
I'm very proud of all the venues we have. If I have to mention one in particular, I really like Backdoor 43, the smallest venue in the world. No one would have ever bet on it and, of all, it is the most profitable venue in terms of costs and revenues.
Covid-19 has significantly affected the world of mixing. Are the premises of the Farmily group also struggling compared to the pre-pandemic period?
We also felt the impact of Covid-19, in particular in two venues. Two others are doing well while the one that is rewarding us the most is Iter, the first fusion cocktail bar, on the Naviglio Grande.
In such a difficult period you have made a very courageous choice. Opening a new place, Mag La Pusterla, taking over the historic bar in via Edmondo de Amicis, Il Caffè della Pusterla in the Colonne area, which closed in March. Why this choice? Did you have to reduce the number of seats to respect the distancing rules?
We made this choice because we needed to have a large room - the floor area is 300 m2 - to be able to accommodate more customers. In this way, we managed to keep all the employees we had at Mag, moving some of them to the new location. In Mag La Pusterla we have reduced the seats of the old café from 120 to the new 80, including the 20 outside.
When did you open and what kind of offer can you find at Mag La Pusterla?
We opened on September 13th. At Mag La Pusterla you can find the same offer as Mag, but with a wider choice of wine, with 23 Italian, French, Spanish, German, Slovenian and Australian labels, 7 of which by the glass, two choices of draft beer plus one seasonal, and spirits, in particular scotch whiskey, gin and botanical. We also have non-alcoholic cocktails and, for the first time in our premises, cocktails on tap, because some great classics are in great demand and in this way we can ensure that the result is more standardized from one cocktail to another.
What is the strong point of the venue?
The decor. There is beautiful period furniture from the 1940s and a beautiful marble counter.
The bar manager of the new Mag La Pusterla venue is Francesco Bonazzi, from Turin, Rivoli to be precise, who approached the world of mixing during his law studies. After some experiences, culminating in one of the best cocktail bars in Turin, he landed in Milan.
Hi Francesco, when did you meet Flavio and what was the path that led you to become a member of the group?
I met Flavio in 2015. I started in the dining room at Mag Cafè, then moved to the counter, where I became Bar Manager, and in mid-2016 a member of the Farmily group. With Mag it was love at first sight, already as a customer, and once I joined, I never left. Since I worked there I have always tried to carry forward the concept and style of the place.
Can you tell us how the idea of opening a sister venue to Mag was born?
The idea was to replicate the identity of the Mag in another area and with a different context. In this way no employee was left at home and we also managed to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the first cocktail bar, with a place that reflects its identity.
What responsibility do you feel in leading a new opening in a historic Milanese venue?
I certainly feel a lot of pride in carrying the Mag's name high. I am also aware that I have a much larger room than the one in the venue on the Naviglio Grande. Here we have 300 square meters available, which allow us to do another type of service. We had never been able to guarantee this level in previous years, due to space.
Can you tell us how the Mag La Pusterla cocktail menu was designed? How many are there and how are they divided?
There are twenty-five cocktails in total. There are 14 of the cocktails created over these ten years, 4 Best Of, Farmer's Punch, Japan, Asia Mule and Farmily Daiquiri, 4 choices on tap, Negroni del Marinaio, Americano ai fiore, L'indecido and a drink of the month, and 3 soft drinks.
What are the most requested cocktails?
The most requested cocktails are the Japan (2015), the Flor de Jamaica (2015) and the Negroni del Marinaio (2016).
If you had to say a distinctive aspect of the place and a reason to enter?
The counter was cut in half, in order to set up a social table behind the counter. In this way, our customers who sit here can see the work that goes into making a drink and reduce the distance from us. One reason to enter is certainly the climate inside. Here you can have fun and feel really good.