Outdoor drinking guide
Note: The contents of this guide were checked for accuracy when this article was updated on April 30, 2013 at 5:26 a.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.
1716 N. Arlington Place, (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.
901 W. Juneau, (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).
Brocach Irish Pub
1850 N. Water St., (414) 431-9009
Change the Kool and the Gang lyric to "Elevate Good Times" and you get the idea at this rooftop spot. The umbrella-topped tables make for a pleasant atmosphere and a unique view.
346 N. Broadway, (414) 501-2500
Third Ward rooftop bar with views of Downtown. Need we say more?
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.
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.
823 E. Hamilton St., (414) 223-1020
One of the newer classy destinations in the Brady Street area, The Hamilton gives guests a quiet, out-of-the-way place to sit back and sip their wine or champagne of choice. Relax late into the evening with a cheese, charcuterie or chocolate plate.
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.
2011 S. 1st St., (414) 482-4628
The Horny Goat's Horny Hideaway is a drinker's dream year-round. Not only are there beers aplenty, the BFT (Big "Fun" Tent) gives patio-goers indoor volleyball with heated sand, live music and tasty pub grub. Patio-side docking makes it boat-friendly, too.
411 E. Mason St., (414) 272-1937
Hotel Metro's rooftop patio, Zen on Seven, bills itself as the hippest in Milwaukee. And really, with its mix of the downtown vibe and, well, "zen" decor, it comes very close. Open to the public during the summer months on Fridays and Saturdays, Zen On Seven is decked out with a marble bar, indoor/outdoor fireplace and garden accents throughout. Check ahead, though – this posh spot can be reserved for private parties.
625 S. 5th St., (414) 271-8595
9155 W. Bluemound Road, (414) 771-9900
With a name like "The Fountain," you can bet these two 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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