Milwaukee Area Information

What to do in Milwaukee!

What would a trip to Milwaukee be without a tour of Miller Brewery? There is plenty to see, learn and of course sample during the FREE tour. Find out about our home brewed beer at and follow the links for tour information.

When the warm weather arrives and spring is in the air, you should check out the Milwaukee Brewers. Miller Park is one of the must see stadiums in the country and you will have a blast watching one of the National League’s most exciting teams. Of course, you will see the incredibly famous Brewers/Klements sausage races too! Check out all the happenings and schedules at:

  • Summerfest! The biggest music concert series in the WORLD takes place right here in Milwaukee. This year is no exception. There is something for everybody’s musical taste in this 11 day celebration.
  • It’s 11 days, 11 stages and over 900 acts!  The 2016 line up is published.  So far the line up includes Paul Mc Cartney, Jason Derulo, Luke Bryan, Sting, Peter Gabreil, Weezer, Panic at the Disco, Selena Gomez, DNCE, Alabama Shakes,  Blake Shelton, Def Leppard, REO Speedwagon, Tim McGraw, Willie Nelson, Ryan Adams, Passiona, Death Cab for Cutie, The Roots,  Gavin Degraw, Nelly, Rachel Platten, The Fray, Billy Idol, Elle King, Weird Al, Violent Femmes, Cheap Trick, Joe Jackson, Kris Kristofferson, Ben Folds, Chris Isaak, OAR, Kool and the Gang, Morris Day and tones and tons more…….  So check out this link for the latest updates: for schedules, tickets etc.

  • The Mitchell Park Conservatory (The Domes) has been part of the Milwaukee scene since the first conservatory was built in 1898. The original conservatory exhibited flowers in a “greenhouse” setting and served the public until 1955. Now experience a desert oasis, a tropical jungle and special floral gardens all in one afternoon . . . and an amazing lighting display in the evening!  524 South Layton Boulevard, Milwaukee, WI 53215 (414) 257-5604.  Please note:  The Domes are temporarily shut down for maintenance in 2016.  Click this video to see a preview of The Domes spectacular light show.
  • If you have the chance when visiting, see what it is like to enjoy an NBA game at a reasonable price with our own Milwaukee Bucks. Coach Jason Kidd and the team are in the middle of a rebuilding year, so come out see next year’s stars. Check out their schedule at: Fear the DEER!!!!
  • The Milwaukee Wave is one of the premier teams of the Major Indoor Soccer League. They are an annual contender for the League championship. Coach Giuliano Oliviero is doing a great job in his first year to maintain the amazing record of championships for the wave. Keep an eye on the Wave’s activities and schedule at:
  • College basketball is always exciting and Milwaukee has its share of great teams. Alumni come from all over the country to see a Marquette Golden Eagles game. As a Big East powerhouse, you know that The Golden Eagles will always put on a great show. Check out for the latest updates and schedules. And don’t forget about the UW Milwaukee Panthers. They were 20 game winners in recent years in the much improved Horizon League. Great college basketball at a great price! Check out the Panthers at  
  • Even though the professional football season lasts only a few months, it’s Green and Gold year round a few hours north of Milwaukee at the fabled home of the Green Bay Packers. Tour Lambeau Field, grab a bite to eat and enjoy the history of one of America’s most beloved pro sport franchises. Go to and make a day of it.
  • One of the most successful pro hockey franchises in the country is our own Milwaukee Admirals. They are regular contenders in the American Hockey League playoffs. The action is non-stop at the Bradley Center when the Admirals are in town. This is always a lot of fun and it won’t cost you an arm and a leg. Don’t forget Major Goolsby’s across the street before the game. The Admiral’s site is:
  • Milwaukee is known as the City of Festivals….and there are a lot of them. Starting in early June and continuing until fall, the city is full of music, food and fun. For updates and links to the really big citywide festivals including Polish Fest, German Fest, Irish Fest and Festa Italiana. Check this site out: Spend the entire day at any one of these amazing events and enjoy the food, music and people! Of course there are literally hundreds (if not thousands) of wonderful church festivals throughout the metro area whenever the weather is warm. But, you’ll have to find them on your own.
  • If music is your thing and you don’t like it real loud and the people even louder, see who is playing at Shank Hall (cozy with regional bands) and The Marcus Center for the Performing Arts. The atmosphere is always more laid back and the music is very cool. The Marcus also has great performances by the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra and their Broadway seasons have featured Les Miserables, Wicked, Hair, Jersey Boys and a lot more. See and for their latest updates.
  • One of the best sites to get the lowdown on EVERYTHING MILWAUKEE is The music guide is helpful with everything going on at the Pabst Theater, Bradley Center, Potawatomi Casino and even at the Up and Under.
  • When in Milwaukee, don’t miss the Harley-Davidson Museum where you will enjoy the history of the All American Motorcycle and find interesting sights and sounds everywhere. Take a break at the Motor Bar and Restaurant while you are there. Check out everything Harley at
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Milwaukee Nightlife Top 10 (by

Milwaukee’s top ten spots for nite life as published by

Milwaukee jazz fans love Caroline’s for its laid back yet classy ambiance. Both regional and national acts…  Read more »

    • Type: Bar
    • Neighborhood: Brady Street District

Although popular for business lunches, The Knick also has a thriving after-work bar scene, complete with…  Read more »

Housed in the 1883 Turner Hall, this restaurant is always busy, partly due to its prime location across…  Read more »

# 4  Elsa’s on the Park

    • Type: Bar
    • Neighborhood: Downtown

This mini-chain, with additional locations in Soho, NYC and Scottsdale, AZ, is owned by the Kopp family of…  Read more »

Serving great cocktails since 1934, this downtown bar is an integral part of Milwaukee’s nightlife….  Read more »

Classy yet relaxed, the super hip Hi Hat attracts a trendy young professional crowd — one peek in the…  Read more »

This fun bar sells a good mix of handcrafted beers to regulars and travelers. Popular beers include the Old…  Read more »

# 8  Shank Hall

Named for the fictional Milwaukee club in the movie “This is Spinal Tap,” Shank Hall is something of a…  Read more »

#9  Mad Planet

Although there are occasionally modern rock/alternative bands on the calendar, Mad Planet is essentially a…  Read more »

# 10  Art Bar

No matter your sexuality or even your species, you’re welcome at this funky local landmark where patrons…  Read more »

Miscellaneous Fun Places

The Iron Horse Hotel in Milwaukee is the transformation of a 100-year-old warehouse into a luxury Milwaukee boutique hotel that delivers an authentic Milwaukee experience. As the industry’s first upscale hotel geared for business travelers and motorcycle enthusiasts alike, this Milwaukee hotel meets the distinct needs of both corporate and leisure guests with special services, unparalleled amenities and 100 loft-style guest rooms.  Stay or just visit.  It is one of the best places to see and be seen!
1.888.543.4766 Reservations

The Safe House – Est. 1966 – A true Milwaukee landmark and one of our most famous restaurant and bars. A spy themed place with more twists and turns then a New Jersey turnpike.

Milwaukee Public Market – This is just a really neat place to go. There are great restaurants plus an exceptional food market. One of the best places to see and be seen in Milwaukee’s Historic Third Ward. 

Potawatomi Bingo and Casino – Find out about our area’s premier casino at The Northern lights Theater features world renown entertainers like Tony Bennett, Etta James, Jay Leno, B.B. King and Chris Isaak to name a few. Great food is available at the Dream Dance Steak House. Eat your heart out Vegas.

Mader’s – Established in 1902. Milwaukee’s premier stop for authentic German food and drink. Visitors have included everybody from Ronald Reagan and JFK to John Wayne, ZZ Top, Frank Sinatra, Alicia Keys, Audrey Hepburn, Stevie Wonder and many more. A real must see.

If music is your thing and you don’t want a huge crowd, try any one of the following establishments. For great music in a fun atmosphere it’s the Milwaukee Ale House or the Cactus Club

For karaoke you can’t go wrong with the Up and Under Pub (414) 276-2677 or the Frank ‘N Stein (414) 264-4440. Fun places both! Call for schedule.

Great sports bars are everywhere, but downtown Milwaukee’s best known (or coolest) are:

Fanatics (

Karma (,

AJ Bombers (

Major Goolsby’s (414) 271-3414  Visit our Sports Bar and Restaurant on the web!

Zim’s ( ).

Did somebody say bowling??? You know that Milwaukee would have two of the very best neighborhood bowling alley/bars in America. Landmark Lanes is a true Milwaukee institution. The history is long with lot of twists and turns, you must go on their site and check it out. Fascinating history.

And if you have a set of wheels, try out the Bay View Bowl (414-483-0950). It’s a real neighborhood place, great food, great prices and it’s soooo Milwaukee.

One of the nations finest Zoos is open year round and it’s located right here in Milwaukee County! The Milwaukee County Zoo is home to over 2,200 various animals and features year round activities for the entire family. Our Zoo is more then just a zoo; it’s a destination for education, fun and food. Don’t miss the Adventure Dinosaur Exhibit which is new for this summer.

The Milwaukee Public Museum is one of the largest of its type in the country. With over 6,000,000 specimens the three and a half floors house many of the most fascinating displays you will ever see anywhere. The facilities also include a Planetarium as well as an amazing Humphrey IMAX Theater with a six story screen! See the Dead Sea Scrolls, walk with live butterflies, meet your ancestors (just kidding) and more. Get the latest on exhibits and activities at .

If music of every type and comedy headliners are of any interest to you, see the calendar of events for the Pabst Theater at There you will find a never ending line up of talent to suit everybody’s tastes. Two other venues at The Pabst include The Milwaukee Theatre and Turner Hall. A fascinating history of Turner Hall can be found at

Amazing acts!!!

Landmark Area Churches

Milwaukee has a rich religious history and the churches to prove it. The following churches are Milwaukee landmarks and some of the most beautiful in the country.

The history of these churches is amazing. The sites will tell you a little about each of them. Truly remarkable and fascinating reading! Visually, they display beautiful architecture and art work. A must see when visiting Milwaukee.

Comedy Clubs

Sometime you just need a little laugh. There are a number of places where you can get your funny bone tickled. Milwaukee’s comedy clubs host some of America’s funniest and best known comedians. Our most popular comedy clubs are:

Jokerz Comedy Club
11400 W. Silver Spring Dr., Milwaukee 414-463-5653
Comedy Cafe
615 E. Brady St., Milwaukee 414-271-5653
Comedy Sportz
420 S. First St., Milwaukee 414-272-8888
Giggles Comedy Pub
W164 N11297 Mequon Road, Germantown 262-437-5653

Popular Downtown Neighborhoods

Brady Street is a neighborhood street within Milwaukee’s East Side neighborhood. It is bounded by the Milwaukee River on the west, Lake Michigan on the east, Kane Place on the north, and Ogden Avenue on the south. Brady Street itself runs west from Prospect Avenue (overlooking the Lake) to Van Buren Street (near the Holton Viaduct Marsupial Bridge). At Van Buren, Brady Street turns into Water Street and angles south into downtown Milwaukee. This is Milwaukee’s version of Greenwich Village NY. You will find trendy shops, eateries and interesting people everywhere. Another place to see and be seen!

Water Street is more than your average street. Not only does it bisect the downtown area, following the path of the Milwaukee River, but it is also a central avenue of entertainment and nightlife in the city. Nestled in between the river, Farwell, the East Side, Brady Street, and North Avenue, Water Street is the perfect place to start your activities.

Starting at the south end of Water Street and between the cross streets of Erie and Clybourn, you will find the edge of Milwaukee’s Historic Third Ward. The Third Ward is considered the Arts and Fashion District of Milwaukee. In this area you will find sidewalk cafes, unique shopping places, theaters, galleries and the Milwaukee Public Market. A sunny day enjoying the Third Ward is a day well spent!

Milwaukee Radio Stations

When you rent a car, do you search and search for a station that you like? This just might make that task a little easier.  Please note that many of these change frequently.

88.1 FM – WMWK – Family Radiowebsite

Genre: Christian family, gospel

88.9 FM – WYMS – Radio Milwaukee – website

Genre: independent, local

89.7 FM – WUWM – Milwaukee Public Radiowebsite

Genre: local National Public Radio affiliate

90.7 FM – WHAD – Ideas Network –  website

local Wisconsin Public Radio affiliate

91.7 FM – WMSE – Frontier Radiowebsite

Genre: local independent

93.3 FM – WJZI – Soft Rock, Less Talkwebsite

Genre: soft rock

94.5  FM – Countrywebsite

Genre: Adult Hits

95.1 FM – WIIL – Will Rockwebsite

Genre: rock and metal

95.7 FM – WRIT – My Music, My Stationwebsite

Genre: ’50s, ’60s and ’70s

96.5 FM – WKLH – Classic Hitswebsite

Genre: classic rock

97.3 FM – WQBW – The Brewwebsite

Genre: classic rock, rock and ’80s

98.3 FM – WJMR – Jammin’ 93website

Genre: urban contemporary, R&B

99.1 FM – WMYX – The Mixwebsite

Genre: top 40, rock

100.7 FM – WKKV – V100 Jamswebsite

Genre: hip-hop, R&B

100.1 FM – WTKM – Relevant Radio – website

Genre: Catholic radio

102.1 FM – WLUM – Rock 102.1website

Genre: alternative rock

102.9 FM – WHQG – The Hogwebsite

Genre: rock, classic rock

103.7 FM – WXSS – Kiss FMwebsite

Genre: Top 40, pop

104.7 FM – WDDW – La GranDwebsite

Genre: Latino

104.9 FM – WTKM – Kiss FMwebsite

Genre: classic country….mostly

105.3 FM – WFZH – Today’s Christian Musicwebsite

Genre: Christian

106.1 FM – WMIL – Continuous Country Favoriteswebsite

Genre: contemporary country

106.9 Energy – website

Genre: Trending – hot.

107.7 FM – WVCY – VCY Americawebsite

Genre: Christian talk and music

WTMJ 620 AM 620 WTMJ Wisconsin’s news, sports and talk leader News/Talk, Radio Website
WNOV 860 AM 860 AM – The Source Urban Contemporary, Radio Website
WOKY 920 AM The Memory Station Nostalgia, Radio Website
WLIP 1050 AM Kenosha’s Radio Station Nostalgia, Radio Website
WISN 1130 AM News Talk 1130 WISN – News Every Hour Every Day News/Talk, Radio Website
WEMP 1250 AM Religious, Radio
WMCS 1290 AM Celebrating the Legacy of Dr Martin Luther King Jr News/Talk, Radio Website
WJYI 1340 AM JOY 1340 – Today’s Christian Music Christian Contemporary, Radio Website
WRJN 1400 AM WRJN News Talk for Racine & Kenosha Wisconsin News/Talk, Radio Website
WBJX 1460 AM Spanish, Radio
WBKV 1470 AM Classic Country AM 1470 WBKV Country, Radio Website
WPJX 1500 AM Ethnic, Radio
WAUK 1510 AM Sports, Radio
WTKM 1540 AM Polka Music, News, Classic Country and Local Talk Variety, Radio Website
WZRK 1550 AM Bridging the Gap Between Faith and Everyday Life Religious, Radio Website
WGLB 1560 AM Milwaukee’s Gospel Music Source Gospel Music, Radio Website
WKSH 1640 AM Radio Disney. Your Music. Your Way Children’s, Radio Website

Fine Dining!

Of course being that it is Milwaukee, there are sooooo many great places to eat, that we could not list all of them. However, we will take the risk of missing some excellent places to dine just to give you a few tips in addition to those mentioned as unique or special in some way. Here we go anyway…

There are five classy, upscale restaurants owned by the Bartollata family. Details can be found at . You cannot go wrong with any one of them.

The Coquette Café has recently been voted the best French Restaurant in Milwaukee. If you find you are a fan of French cuisine, check out their site at Talk around town is that it is amazing.

The Lake Park Bistro is another traditional Milwaukee French restaurant with their own die hard fans. The Bistro is part of the Bartolotta group mentioned above.

Popular upscale fare can be found at the Milwaukee ChopHouse Restaurant where steaks, seafood and style are their tagline. And they are right!

The Capital Grille is one of Downtown’s most popular restaurants. Great food and service are their trademark. It is one of those places to see and be seen.

Of course, you cannot go wrong with Zarletti. It’s considered by many to be the finest Italian food in Milwaukee. Check out their site at it will make you hungry…really!

And one of the newer and most popular places to dine is Kil@wat Restaurant. It has become a must see and experience place in Milwaukee. Their site is: . You only hear raves about the place.

If meat is why you like to eat in the Midwest, you will have your fill at Carnevor. It is just exactly what the name implies. T-Rex eats here:

I’ll give you two more gems to consider and then you’ll have to shop for them on your own. A wonderful place to spend an evening enjoying great food and a lively ambiance is Coast – A Zilli Restaurant. Their site is . The place even is surrounded by great views.

And finally, another tip of the hat to wonderful Milwaukee tradition. Opened in 1904, Karl Ratzsch’s Restaurant is considered one of the top German Restaurants in the Midwest get some details at

Milwaukee Area’s Best Fine Dining by UrbanSpoon

The top 50 are listed…..I know that’s a ton!  This listing is a cross of value, food, service and overall experience.

The most recently reviewed and blogged about restaurants in Milwaukee

This is the really good stuff!!




And what list would be complete without some ratings and recommendations for Sushi? This list is by no means complete. There are some terrific places to get sushi in the burbs like Japanica, Restaurant Hama, Kyoto and Wasabi Sushi Lounge you really need to check out.


But we are just speaking about the downtown area. Listed in no specific order are:

Umami Moto, 414-875-3049.

Izumi’s Japanese Restaurant, 414-271-5278.

Benihana’s Japenese Steakhouse, 414-270-0890.

Sake Tumi, 414- 224-7253.

Nanakusa Japanese Restaurant, 414- 223-3200.

You cannot go wrong with any of these!

Finally!  the top rated bars and personalities in Milwaukee!

Favorite bartender: P.J. Johnson (Wolski’s)
Runner up: Katie Rose (Burnhearts)
Editors’ pick: Paul Kennedy (Tonic)
Bartenders’ pick: Paul Kennedy (Tonic)
Paul Johnson – who goes by “PJ” – has spent almost two decades behind the bar at Wolski’s Tavern. Quick witted, fast with the pour and super easy to talk to, Johnson is the embodiment of the bartender who’s made Milwaukee famous.

Best Bar for a Bachelor Party / Boys’ Night Out: Silk
Runner up: Trinity Three Irish Pubs
Editors’ pick: Jo-Cat’s Pub
Bartenders’ pick: Silk
Apparently, readers equate boys’ nights out with strip clubs, because Silk had almost double the number of votes of the runner-up, Trinity Three Irish Pubs. If you’re into that sort of thing, Silk is one of the biggest gentlemen’s clubs in the area with a roster of more than 200 women on staff.

Most Eclectic Drink Menu: Bryant’s
Runner up: At Random
Editors’ pick: Bar 360
Bartenders’ pick: Bryant’s
The menu at Bryant’s is so eclectic, it doesn’t even exist. That’s right, the extremely knowledgable cocktail servers and bartenders simply ask you what flavor you’d like, then they draw from decades of accrued knowledge and recipes to make you a tall, blended and delicious beverage. Of course, there are still classics on the menu like The Brain Buster. Bryant’s is one of a kind.

Best Downtown Bar: Old German Beer Hall
Runner up: Mo’s Irish Pub
Editors’ pick: Karma
Bartenders’ pick: Old German Beer Hall
Readers and our bartenders panel agreed that Old German Beer Hall is Milwaukee’s best Downtown bar (outside the Water Street and Cathedral Square/Milwaukee Street zones, which had their own categories). Makes perfect sense, too. After all, what says Milwaukee more than an old German beer hall? Especially one on Old World 3rd Street, where old Milwaukee lives on.

Best Marquette Bar: Sobelman’s
Runner up: Caffrey’s
Editors’ pick: The Harp and Shamrock
Bartenders’ pick: The Harp and Shamrock
Marquette tipplers long loved Angelo’s on 16th and Wells. When Sobelman’s moved in an replaced pizza with burgers, it proved a recipe for success, leading the Marquette area landmark to name Sobelman’s best Marquette bar.

Best Bar On/Near Brady: Wolski’s
Runner up: Nomad World Pub
Editors’ pick: Jamo’s
Bartenders’ pick: Joe-Cat’s Pub
It might be the fresh, free popcorn, it might be the comfortable atmosphere, it might be the hospitable barkeeps or it might be the famous bumbper stickers, but in any case, Wolski’s nabbed the top spot as the best bar on or near Brady Street.

Best Bar District: Bay View
Runner up: Brady Street
Editors’ pick: Walker’s Point
Bartenders’ pick: Walker’s Point
Bay View continues to be favorite for readers, with a variety of options within walking distance of one another up and down Kinnickinnic as well as on Delaware, Howell and Logan.

Best Bar in Bay View: Sugar Maple
Runner up: Burnhearts
Editors’ pick: Tonic Tavern
Bartenders’ pick: Blackbird
It was a razor-thin margin, but Sugar Maple defended its title as Bay View’s best watering hole for 2013. The Lincoln Avenue bar was also voted Best Beer List this year. Sugar Maple is famous for offering over 60 craft beers on draft and an event calendar full of regular live music, DJ’s and comedy nights.

Best View: Blu
Runner Up: Barnacle Buds
Editors’ Pick: Blu
Bartenders’ Pick: Friday’s Front Row Sports Grill
Blu’s view of Downtown Milwaukee – and the lake, depending on where you’re seated – continues to be the readers’ favorite. The perspective of the city from the 23rd floor of the opulent Pfister Hotel is truly like none other.

Best Pub (Not Irish): Nomad World Pub
Runner Up: Three Lions
Editors’ Pick: The Standard
Bartenders’ Pick: McGillycuddy’s
Nomad World Pub is an East Side favorite and the readers’ choice for a casual, comfortable bar to grab a drink and / or watch a game. In the summer months, outdoor seating on the bustling Brady Street make it the ideal spot to see and be seen, day or night.

Best Wine List: Balzac
Runner up: Bacchus
Editors’ pick: Dream Dance Steak
Bartenders’ pick: The Capital Grille
Belly up to Balzac, oenophiles, because it’s got the best wine list in town, according to readers. Just off Brady Street, Balzac is a wine lover’s dream and one of the best places for an intimate night out. The runner up and the editors’ and bartenders’ picks likely have considerably larger wine lists than the winner, but it’s not exactly a fair comparison, since those bars are located in fine dining restaurants.

Best Bar for a Bachelorette Party/Girl’s Night Out: Lucille’s Rockin’ Pianos
Runner up: Victor’s
Editors’ pick: La Perla
Bartenders’ pick: Victor’s
Two dueling grand pianos and a variety of drink specials – as well as the ability to get the girl’s involved on stage – makes this the reader’s top choice for a night out.

Best Theme Bar: Safe House
Runner up: Old German Beer Hall
Editors’ pick: Camp Bar
Bartenders’ pick: Lucky Joe’s Tiki Bar
The Safe House is cleaning up this year, having previously nabbed the crown for Best Bar to Take Your Kids and Best Gimmick. The Safe House’s espionage-themed space has been drawing Milwaukeeans and out-of-towners to International Exports, Ltd. since 1966.

Best Chain Bar: Bar Louie
Runner up: SPiN Milwaukee
Editors’ pick: Bar Louie
Bartenders’ pick: SPiN
A good chain bar shouldn’t seem like a chain bar at all. Bar Louie has two Milwaukee locations, one on Water Street and one at Bayshore Town Center, plus dozens more nationwide, but customers love that its sleek, trendy atmosphere and friendly waitstaff always make them feel like it’s their neighborhood watering hole.

Best Bar in a Restaurant: Milwaukee Ale House
Runner up: Rumpus Room
Editors’ pick: Bel Air Cantina
Bartenders’ pick: Odd Duck
With live music, a large, open bar and dining area, and two great patios – plus beer that is brewed on-site – it seems almost obvious that Milwaukee Ale House would nab this title.

Best Patio/Outdoor Seating: Barnacle Buds
Runner up: Horny Hideaway
Editors’ pick: Estabrook Park Beer Garden
Bartenders’ pick: Barnacle Buds
Guests can boat up or walk up while enjoying live music and oysters in a large outdoor area located just off the Kinnickinnic River in Bay View.

Best Gay Bar: La Cage
Runner up: Hamburger Mary’s
Editors’ pick: This Is It
Bartenders’ pick: This Is It
La Cage is Milwaukee’s oldest LGBT dance club, with two dance floors, four bars, mega video screens, drag shows, theme nights and new and retro dance songs cranking all night long. Gay, straight or undefined, this club is a fun place to drink, socialize and burn off steam.

Best Martinis: Hi-Hat Lounge
Runner up: Elsa’s
Editors’ pick: Hi-Hat Lounge
Bartenders’ pick: Elsa’s
It looks like according to readers, writers and bartenders, there are two top spots for martini’s in Milwaukee. The winner of the readers’ poll for best martini is Hi-Hat Lounge, a choice that’s editorial staff seconded. Second among readers was Elsa’s on Cathedral Square, which is the go-to martini place for our bartender panel. Looks like you’ve got a little taste test ahead of you, Milwaukee.

Best Lounge: Bryant’s
Runner up: Hi-Hat Lounge
Editors’ pick: Jamo’s
Bartenders’ pick: Bryant’s
Our readers agreed with our bartenders and crowned Bryant’s, 1579 S. 9th St., the king of the lounges for 2013. Also named the winner of Best Craft Cocktails, Bryant’s boasts an impressive selection of over 400 drinks.

Best Margaritas: La Fuente
Runner up: Bel Air Cantina
Editors’ pick: COA
Bartenders’ pick: Cempazuchi
For the umpteenth year, La Fuente wins as the home of the city’s best margaritas. Available in a variety of flavors and either blended or on the rocks, they arguably taste even better on a warm, sunny day on the La Fuente patio.

Best Live Music In A Bar: Milwaukee Ale House
Runner up: Cactus Club
Editors’ pick: Club Garibaldi
Bartenders’ pick: The Jazz Estate
The Ale House offers live music every Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights in a spacious setting where visitors can enjoy the sounds over house-brewed selections.

Best Bar To Take Your Kids: Safe House
Runner up: Estabrook Park Beer Garden
Editors’ pick: Koz’s Mini Bowl
Bartenders’ pick: None!
The Safe House is more of a restaurant than a bar during the day, making it an acceptable spot to bring children. Older kids will probably appreciate the spy theme the most, which includes a secret bookcase entrance, a surprising phone booth, a moving wall and more.

Best Hotel Bar: County Clare
Runner up: Blu
Editors’ pick: County Clare
Bartenders’ pick: Blu
There isn’t a more “cozy” pub to wander down to if you’re staying the night in Milwaukee, as it’s the perfect match for the boutique hotel upstairs. Pull up to the bar where the Irish food and music will warm you up just as much as the wood burning stove.

Best Free Snacks: Comet Cafe
Runner up: AJ Bombers
Editors’ pick: AJ Bombers
Bartenders’ pick: AJ Bombers
And you thought the November election was polarizing. Comet Cafe sailed to victory by offering free bacon on Sundays, and this is Milwaukee – give us bacon, and we love you forever. But just like last year, 2011 champion AJ Bombers came in a close second and swept the editors’ and bartenders pick races too, proving that their flying P-nut bombers are as beloved as ever.

Best Atmosphere: The Hotel Foster
Runner up: Foundation Tiki Bar
Editors’ pick: Lucky Joe’s Tiki Room
Bartenders’ pick: Blu
Located off North Avenue on the East Side, The Hotel Foster gives patrons the feel of imbibing in a lobby nearly a century ago when doing so was deemed illegal. Balcony seating, hardwood and chandeliers give off a unique vibe.

Best Bar to Take Your Parents: County Clare
Runner up: Safe House
Editors’ pick: The Pfister Lobby Bar
Bartenders’ pick: Elsa’s
This is a very subjective question that depends, of course, on what your parents are like, but many Milwaukeeans think the welcoming vibe, the blazing fireplace and the cold Guinness at County Clare are perfect for an evening out with the folks. The staff thinks the tinkle of the ivories, the attentive staff, the comfy chairs and the bowls of snacks at The Pfister Lobby Bar would also make a fine – if quite different – impression.

Best Bar for a First Date: Balzac
Runner up: At Random
Editors’ pick: County Clare
Bartenders’ pick: Nessun Dorma
On a first date, it’s all about the first impression. And what’s more impressive than Balzac’s expansive international wine list and low-key rustic elegance? Plus, how smooth will you sound ordering something called “Champalou Vouvray?”

Best Bar Games and Trivia: Three Lions Pub
Runner up: Landmark Lanes
Editors’ pick: Brocach
Bartenders’ pick: Champion’s Pub
Shorewood’s Three Lions Pub has been an Anglophile’s paradise since opening two years ago. Regulars love the cozy (should we spell it ‘cosy’?) atmosphere, friendly staff – and that amazing giant projection screen. In addition, the authentic British pub maintains a robust schedule of Karaoke (Wednesday nights) and Quizmaster (Thursday nights) to keep everyone entertained, plus a Fooseball table and dart board.

Best Happy Hour: Duke’s
Runner up: The Nomad World Pub
Editors’ pick: The Nomad World Pub
Bartenders’ pick: The Nomad World Pub
Long a favorite of readers at, Duke’s on Water continues to provide guests with $1 rail cocktails and domestic beers from open until 9 p.m.

Best Beer List: Sugar Maple
Runner up: World Of Beer
Editors’ pick: Sugar Maple
Bartenders’ pick: Palm Tavern
With 60 American beers on tap, it’s no surprise readers and the editors picked the family-owned Sugar Maple as having the best beer list in the city. Central Waters, Hinterland, Fox Barrel and Furthermore are just a few of the brews available.

Best Irish Bar: County Clare
Runner up: Paddy’s Pub
Editors’ pick: Paddy’s Pub
Bartenders’ pick: Paddy’s Pub

Year after year after year, our readers love the quaint, comfortable County Clare and pick it as their favorite Irish bar. Spacious and warm with a fireplace nook, County Clare is also a small inn. It serves some great authentic food, including Irish root soup, shepherd’s pie and a mean corned beef and cabbage. County Clare rarely feels cramped (except, of course, on St. Patrick’s Day).

Best Brew Pub / Microbrewery: Lakefront Brewery Palm Garden
Runner up: Milwaukee Ale House
Editors’ pick: Milwaukee Ale House
Bartenders’ pick: Lakefront Brewery Palm Garden
Once again, Lakefront won our reader’s choice, and it’s easy to see why. The beer doesn’t get much fresher than the Lakefront Brewery Palm Garden. Open to the public for tours and Friday fish frys, and available for weddings and private events, it’s a Milwaukee favorite. We love “Captain Rusty’s Fish Fry,” every Friday from 4-9 p.m. And where else are you gonna find a gluten-free beer made on site by “Larry, Curly and Moe?”

Best Strip Club: Silk
Runner up: On The Border
Editors’ pick: Solid Gold
Bartenders’ pick: Silk

Silk, which claims to be the only upscale Las Vegas-style gentleman’s club in the city, is certainly appealing to those who enjoy a night out for sexy entertainment because it absolutely ran away with this category. There are more than 200 girls on staff at Silk but it’s a popular destination for dudes as well as bachelorettes.

Best Bloody Marys: Sobelman’s
Runner up: Wicked Hop
Editors’ pick: Wicked Hop
Bartenders’ pick: The Noble

If you like your Bloody Mary to double as a meal, this one’s for you. Sobelman’s version of this popular brunch-time drink includes shrimp, cherry tomato, lemon wedge, Polish sausage, cheese stick, asparagus, scallion stalk, pickle, pickled mushroom, celery, onion and – wait for it – a bacon cheeseburger. All of this and a chaser of Sprecher makes it understandably the city’s favorite.

Favorite Bar in Metro Milwaukee: Wolski’s
Runner up: Burnhearts & Hotel Foster (tie)
Editors’ pick: Wolski’s
Bartenders’ pick: Burnhearts
Have you closed Wolski’s? That little bumper sticker is enough to draw in patrons from around the country – let alone Milwaukee – and in doing so you’ll get free popcorn, play free darts and enjoy many local brews. Wolski’s has been a Milwaukee staple for over a century.

Best Craft Cocktails: Bryant’s
Runner up: Great Lakes Distillery Tasting Room
Editors’ pick: Distil
Bartenders’ pick: Distil
Though the expert bartenders and editorial staff are hot on Downtown’s Distil, you, dear readers, once again expressed your ongoing love affair with Bryant’s. And that makes perfect sense as this South Side lounge has been cooking up some of the city’s best cocktails – like The Brainbuster – for decades.

Best Bar for Outdoor Sports: Horny Goat Hideaway
Runner up: Bradford Beach Bar
Editors’ pick: Horny Goat Hideaway
Bartenders’ pick: Horny Goat Hideaway
It’s unanimous. readers, editors and bartenders’ panel all agree that Horny Goat Hideaway on the edge of Bay View is the best venue for outdoor sports in town. With an expansive volleyball complex, a cornhole pit and a fabulous patio, it’s a great spot to enjoy a drink al fresco.

Best New Bar (opened in last year): Estabrook Park Beer Garden
Runner up: Boone & Crockett
Editors’ pick: Boone & Crockett
Bartenders’ pick: Lucky Joe’s Tiki Room
Outside summer drinking? Check. The right to bring your own mugs? Check. Live music and Hofbräu? Check and check. What’s not to like about this new Milwaukee drinking experience, open from noon to 9 p.m., a joint venture between Milwaukee County Parks and Hans Weissgerber III? Nothing, really. Summer can’t get here quickly enough.

Best Gimmick: The Safe House (password for entry)
Runner up: Wolski’s (“I closed Wolski’s” bumper sticker)
Editors’ Pick: Bryant’s (Brainbuster and bumper sticker)
Bartenders’ pick: Wolski’s (“I closed Wolski’s” bumper sticker)
Since 1966 The Safe House has had the distinction of being, simultaneously, one of Milwaukee’s most tourist-y curiosities as well as one of its most beloved destination for locals. And that’s why not just anyone can get in. You’ve got to know the password, and what’s more, you have to say it exactly right. Surprisingly, it’s been a pretty well-kept secret for 47 years – some folks still don’t know it. And don’t ask Molly Snyder, who used to work there. She says she’s taking it to her grave.

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