Old World Third Street bar guide
Note: The contents of this guide were checked for accuracy when this article was updated on Nov. 10, 2009 at 3:13 p.m. We continually update the thousands of articles on OnMilwaukee.com, but it's possible some details, specials and offers may have changed. As always, we recommend you call first if you have specific questions for the businesses mentioned in the guide.
For years, Water Street was the preeminent destination for Downtown drinking.
Lately, though, the venerable "legacy" establishments on the east side of the river have gotten increased competition from venues along Milwaukee Street, the Third Ward and the always-popular East Side.
In recent years, though, Old World 3rd Street has become a contender. For years, the street's few establishments were mainly used by nearby workers or Bradley Center patrons, but an influx of new bars and restaurants over the last few years has vaulted the historic street into prime-time status.
At one time, this section of N. 3rd St. was considered the "Downtown" of Milwaukee's large German population. It's been said that shopkeepers used to hang signs in the window saying "English spoken here" in order to not discourage non-Germans from bringing business.
Legendary and iconic Milwaukee busnisses like Usinger's, Schlitz and Schuster's Dept. Store were staples on the street. Many of the original buildings still stand today, some among the oldest in Milwaukee, and now house some of its more popular nightspots.
Here's a quick look at the bars of Old World 3rd St.:
1019 N. Old World 3rd St.
The "veteran" of the Old World 3rd St. family, Buck Bradley's and it's longest bar east of the Mississippi is a proven joint. Classy without being pompous and full of itself, Buck's has great food, friendly and quick bartenders and decent prices. The music, during the early evening, is usually a little softer and classic but switches over to loud and danceable as the hour gets later. Featuring some really, really good burgers and one of the best fish fries in town, Buck Bradley's also is a solid choice for some no-hassle Downtown dining before making the switch to a liquid diet.
1044 N. Old World 3rd St.
Loud, young and packed; Buckhead Saloon - or, "Buckhead's," if you prefer the Milwaukee-slang term - is a typical college party bar. Lots of room, but always packed, Buckhead usually features a mix of DJ-mixed dance music and collegiate cover bands on the weekends.
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Brat House Thursday karaoke=glorious. 3-4-1 domestic taps (small mugs, but hey, it's a good deal) with Keegan, an awesome karaoke dj, at the mic. The atmosphere is as described above--chill, enough seating, friendly staff, good prices.
Great article! I agree with the past comments about OW3rd offering a great varity of places to go out. I think the comments about the OGBH have some merit, but the crowd and atmosphere changes by the day of the week, time of day, and current season. If you want a more traditional German expierence, go during the day or Mon-Wed evening, Thurs-Sat will be more of a college crowd. Also gotta agree about th Brat House, always a chill atmoshere with great prices.
3rd st Fan | Nov. 11, 2009 at 12:02 p.m. (report)
Great article. 3rd st has become the place to be in Milwaukee and it is by far the most diverse street for types of bar and clubs. You can go to a bunch of different places with different types of people, music, and setting without having to move your car. From a wine bar to a historic German bar to a high end Vegas style club to a dueling piano bar to a college party bar...pretty diverse. The street is definitely not for everyone, but it is for the majority. For pricing its the same for a beer or cocktail pretty much everywhere on the street than any other place downtown. Usually the people that complain don't take advantage of the crazy drink specials downtown or are the ones who don't understand why the beers aren't the same price as they get at the grocery store....or the ones who go out once in a blue moon and expect their local drinking hole hook up price....or just don't have money... 7 years ago it was just Cafe and Banana Joes and Buck Bradleys, now it is a destination....Milwaukee is growing people even in a recession..
Did each bar write their own review? Reasonable prices? Hardly. BTW - this town needs an Essen Haus. Great food, great drinks, great atmosphere.
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