Outdoor drinking guide
Note: The contents of this guide were checked for accuracy when this article was updated on May 26, 2016 at 5:01 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.
Cocktailing is a year-round sport in Milwaukee, but the peak season generally coincides with our all-too-brief flirtation with warm weather.
We've enjoyed a pleasant spring, which has provided ample opportunity to visit some of the city's spots and check out a few new venues for al fresco drinking and fun.
These days, outdoor patios come a dime a dozen. That's not a bad thing, but it would be futile to try to list them all here in a comprehensive guide. Instead, we're picking a few of our favorites that will help you take the party to the patio this summer.
If you have a favorite spot that's not on our list, use the Talkback feature to share it.
2155 S. Kinnickinnic Ave.
Patio space at The Backyard is dog-friendly, has space for yard games, and offers grills for guests to use, just bring your own meat and utensils!
1716 N. Arlington Pl., (414) 755-0099
Want a bit of an upscale feeling, just off Brady Street? Order a wine and sit either street side or at the back patio at Balzac.
1114 N. Water St., (414) 847-1330
It's one of Downtown's larger outdoor drinking spaces, and it's full of Milwaukee history, too, as it used to be Brew City BBQ, one of the original drinking spots on Water Street.
1955 S. Hilbert St., (414) 481-9974
This place is great for so many reasons, perhaps No. 1 being that so few know where it is. That's because it's nestled behind Skipper Bud's on the north side of Bay View, and you have to drive through a few parking lots to find it. Once you do, you'll see a totally unique view of the city, with converging rivers and a backdrop that feels more Key West than Milwaukee. The bar is far from fancy – it's good for greasy bar food, Coronas and margaritas. In terms of vibe, it's filled with people who've docked their boats, as well as landlubbers who just came to adjust their latitude.
3907 S. Lake Dr., (414)744-3722
A beer garden with a lakefront view… need we say more? Bert's Bar has great Friday fish fry's, a jukebox, and welcomes live music performances.
901 W. Juneau Ave., (414) 847-1330
What's not to love about a beer garden on the site of the historic Pabst brewery? Get your PBR on tap, take in the old world charm and hang around for one of their regular weekend music acts. You can even take your picture with Captain Pabst himself (or a statue of him, anyway).
Boone & Crockett
2151 S. Kinnickinnic Ave., (414)763-4935
The inside of Boone & Crockett is definately a photo-worthy place to hang, but nothing beats having a drink outside on a warm Milwaukee day! So take your instagram photos inside, then hurry out to grab a spot on the patio.
346 N. Broadway, (414) 501-2500
Third Ward rooftop bar with views of Downtown. Need we say more? Okay. Cafe Benelux was also named Best Non-Irish Pub by OnMilwaukee in 2014.
2608 N. Downer Ave., (414) 963-6366
7677 W. State St., Wauwatosa (414) 475-6771
If you like Belgian beer, pommes frites and a cool vibe, you'll be happy in either of these venues. The Tosa location is especially ripe for people watching – and trainspotting – too.
Camp Bar Tosa
6600 W. North Ave., Wauwatosa, (414) 763-3793
As soon as it opened, Camp Bar became the coolest place for a cocktail in East Tosa. Now, there's a patio out back and a deck above, as well, making it the coolest place in East Tosa for an outdoor cocktail, tied perhaps with its neighbor, Red Dot.
Casablanca on Brady
728 E. Brady St., (414) 271-6000
Major renovations transformed one of the city's best Middle Eastern restaurants – and one of the Milwaukee's best buffets – into a destination hot-spot for the late-night crowd, too, thanks to a second floor deck that juts out over the sidewalk to offer views along Brady Street.
Great Lakes Distillery
616 W. Virginia St., (414) 431-8683
Great Lake's has a spacious, nicely landscaped patio with an action-packed view of the cars going round and round and round on the 6th Street roundabout.
Harp Irish Pub
113 E. Juneau Ave., (414) 289-0700
Perfect for outdoor drinks and tomfoolery from spring to fall, The Harp is located half a block off Water Street. Nothing beats sitting on the patio overlooking the water on a hot summer night.
Hooligan's Super Bar
2017 E. North Ave., (414) 273-5230
Hooligan's is right in the thick of things, and during the summer the outdoor patio is a fun place to dine and casually take in the view of the bustling East Side.
354 E. National Ave., (414) 272-5789
One of the "secret gems" in the Milwaukee patio scene. The owner has tremendous style and a very green thumb, and it shows in this bar's beautiful patio.
625 S. 5th St., (414) 271-8595
9155 W. Bluemound Rd., (414) 771-9900
2423 Kossow Rd., Waukesha, (262) 717 9400
With a name like "The Fountain," you can bet these three outdoor drinking spots have them in spades. The Tosa location even has one in its indoor dining area, but the patios are where it's at. Enjoy one of their signature margaritas (heck, grab a pitcher) and enjoy a taste of Mexico right here in Milwaukee.
734 S. 5th St., (414) 645-9888
Let's be honest; drinking on a rooftop is somehow inherently more fun than drinking on ground level. There's just no two ways around it. Add a few fire pits and colorful lights strung above your head and you've got one of the coolest outdoor spots in the city.
Leff's Lucky Town
7208 W. State St., Wauwatosa
What used to be a tiny gas station / parking lot is now a comfortable drinking / dining spot that has made Leff's even more popular with the Tosa crowd. Page 1 of 2 (view all on one page)
A great Milwaukee area patio is Three Cellars - 7133 S. 76th Street Franklin, WI 53132 With great beers on tap and wines by the glass, along with a seemingly infinite number of bottles that can be chilled and served, there is something there for everyone. I tend bar there, so stop and say hi! Also be sure to check out patios at The Irish Pub - 124 N. Water Street - Milwaukee, WI 53202 Attebury's - 3807 South Packard Ave., St. Francis, WI 53235 If it's raining there is always the enclosed patio at O' Lydia's 338 S 1st St Milwaukee, WI 53204
Port of Call has a huge patio on the river great for watching boaters and kayakers on the river!
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