Milan

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Antonio Piazza has a longstanding love for Houston. He's proven it, too, by buying one of the city's oldest buildings, situated right next to Market Square and adjacent to the oldest commercial space in downtown (which houses La Carafe) and turning it into Milan. Piazza also wanted to bring a different type of club to the Bayou City. He wondered if the sort of nightspot he'd frequented in cities like Miami - where an unrelenting flow of well-dressed but casual party goers stand behind velvet ropes of posh nightclubs every night of the week - would work here. He made that happen, but not to a fault. Milan is upscale but not exclusive. It has the relaxed atmosphere of a lounge, but it's open like a dance club. The building's original stained concrete floors have been left intact, and flat leather stools and couches are pushed against whitewashed walls. The room is lit by spare, scattered points of warm light. Even the dance floor, hidden in the back, takes a side stage to the front lounge area. For now, Milan will retain that minimal aesthetic, but Piazza eventually plans to expand upward and create an open-air patio on the roof with an unobstructed view of downtown. And why not? He does own the building. LANCE SCOTT WALKER--HOUSTON CHRONICLE