City Life

10 Unique Bars And Restaurants In Milwaukee Wisconsin

Milwaukee is historically and affectionately known as Brew City. There’s beers, brats and an abundance of old world charm. Milwaukee is also home to some top rated bars and restaurants. Whether you’re a native looking to try something different or its your first time in the city, be sure to check out these bars and restaurants in Milwaukee.

Bryant’s Cocktail Lounge

Six year winner of’s Best Craft Cocktails, Bryant’s Cocktail Lounge proves that that class and decorum never go out of style. Located between the Walker’s Point and Bayview neighborhoods, Bryant’s is billed as the city and state’s first cocktail lounge. Classic decor and and an intimate atmosphere makes this the perfect spot for date night or to grab an aperitif & digestif. Bryant’s does not serve beer nor do they have a standard drink menu. Their mixologists are creative, mad scientists who will craft a cocktail sure to please your palate. If you’ve never been to Bryant’s before, it would serve you well to review their website for some handy do’s and don’ts as Cocktail Lounge Etiquette is enforced.

Foundation Bar

Looking to escape to the tropics but your budget has other plans? You can still grab some sun & fun at Foundation Bar. Billed as Riverwest’s laid back hidden gem and Milwaukee’s original tiki bar, Foundation is kitschy without being too divey. It’s been consistently ranked by locals and visitors as having one of the best bar atmospheres in the city. This urban beach tropical escape boasts a wide selection of cocktails, some of which come with novelty glasses patrons can take home. If you’ve never been, or the drink selection overwhelms you, try starting off with their Mai Tai. Looking for a place to rest your head after a few cocktails? No sweat! Check into the AirBnB located right above the bar!

42 Lounge

Billed as Milwaukee’s gaming nightclub specializing in all things geek, 42 Lounge is the perfect spot for those who want to take a break from adulthood to interact with like minded individuals. Geeks and regular humans will find something tasty to quench their thirst as well as a very large game selection, including everything from tabletop classics to video games. How can this nest of geekdom become even geekier? By joining forces with Board Game Barrister, LTD! Last month 42 Lounge & Board Game Barrister announced that they’re joining forces to bring locals The Oak & Shield Gaming Pub. The multi-level pub will feature small plates, local brews, private party space and of course games. Talk about a sweetheart of a partnership.

The SafeHouse

Is it two knocks and a left leg shake or three knocks and a pigeon coo? Welcome to The Safe House, Milwaukee’s spy themed speakeasy! Described as weird and fun, The SafeHouse is a place for all ages to enjoy! Looking for a different kind of birthday party or pre-wedding celebration? The Safe House will assist you in your covert mission of fun. The drink & food menu is plush with spy-themed cocktails (Sterling Archer) and eats (The Provocateur) sure to keep you alert for any overnight mission.

Their ladies room was voted as one of the top three winners of the inaugural International Toilet Tourism Awards and boasts a picture of a young and virile Burt Reynolds.

At Random

If you’re looking for a place as odd as its name, At Random definitely falls into that category. At Random is a dimly lit cocktail bar that doesn’t serve beer or wine, but boasts some of the most wonderful ice cream drinks and cocktails the city has ever seen. The lounge’s relaxed and cozy atmosphere has earned it the rep of the best place to have an affair. Infidelity aside, the ambiance is up to your grandparents and Mad Men standards, making it one of the best date spots in town. If you stop in with a few friends be sure to try the Love Punch. The establishment is cash only and parking is tight but the ambiance & service are well worth the trip.

Koz’s Mini Bowl

This old school Milwaukee gem is weird in all the right ways. Combining two Wisconsin traditions under on roof, dive bars and a bowling alley, Koz’s Mini Bowl is the perfect after work spot. This family owned establishment is a throwback to a simpler time. The drinks are cheap and strong while the bartenders & the regulars are friendly. The duck-pin bowling will make any amateur bowler feel like a champ. Reserving lanes is recommended and be sure to tip the human pinsetters! If mini bowling isn’t your thing, try your hand at darts or the pool table while listening to tunes on the jukebox. There’s no food menu but you’re sure to find a food truck located outside the bar.

Holler House Tavern

Bowling & beer for Wisconsinites is as natural as, well, beer & brats. Holler House is a historic southside tavern that is home to America’s oldest sanctioned bowling lanes. The lanes were crafted from real wood and, like Koz’s, has manual pinsetters. If you’re a bowling enthusiast, this should definitely be on your list of places to visit. Decorated with classic memorabilia and serving some of the finest Polish brews, this historical landmark is a welcome respite from the flash and pizzaz of overhyped establishments. The owners live onsite and are always happy to share bits of their family and Milwaukee history.

See Also

Lost Valley Cider Company

Cider lovers rejoice! Lost Valley Cider Company is the go to destination for cider enthusiasts. This taproom and bottle shop carries a large selection of gluten free & custom ciders. Pair your glass, flight or custom cider cocktail with some local gourmet popcorn, fresh baked bread or a local cheese plate. They do have a wine and beer list handy if cider is not your thing. Lost Valley holds public tasting classes, cider release parties and is pet friendly. So many option for restaurants in Milwaukee.

Drink Wisconsinbly

The bar name alone is enough to peak one’s curiosity and elicit a few giggles. Drink Wisconsinbly Pub & Grub is Wisconsin culture at its finest. Classic Milwaukee perfectly paired with modern charm. Where else are you going to find a bubbler (a water fountain to outsiders) that dispenses old fashioneds? This is a great place to enjoy Wisconsin sports while enjoying a classic fish fry. Great beer, yummy food and good times…just don’t ask for a Bud Light or an appletini.

Pabst MKE Brewery & Taproom

No list of bars and restaurants in Milwaukee would be complete without mentioning Pabst Brewery. This beloved brew has returned home and is as Milwaukee as Schlitz beer. No wine or cocktails here, just beer. The revamped brewery has an impressive tap list with familiar favorites & some new brews. The updated location is perfect for hosting private and community events. The facility is only open on the weekends so be sure to get there early to avoid lines.

What are some of your favorite bars and restaurants in Milwaukee? Let us know in the comments below!
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