No one likes to be reminded that summer is fleeting. But today, I'm going to do just that.
After all, as we narrow in on the end of what always feels like Milwaukee’s shortest season, it seems like a good time to think about ways to take advantage of everything the beautiful summertide has to offer.
One of those things is definitely spending quality time on one of the area’s many patios. And whether it’s for brunch, lunch or dinner, each of these new outdoor oases offers something amazing to enjoy.
105 Buntrock Ave., Thiensville, (262) 292-8230
Beer gardens are a beautiful thing – and the new one at the cheel in Thiensville is no exception. This gorgeous outdoor space features gorgeous edible plant-scaping, a water feature that offers a zen-like ambiance and a branded fire feature created by Milwaukee Blacksmith that lights up even the darkest of nights. Plus there’s a menu featuring inventive sausages, shareable snacks, and plenty of craft brews and cocktails to whet your whistle.
4488 N. Oakland Ave., Shorewood, (414) 231-9660
There’s much to love about the new fenced-in patio behind one of Shorewood’s most chill bars. And it’s easy to chillax on this one, which features festoon lights, picnic tables, tasteful potted plants and a fire pit for cool nights. It’s also one of the only patios in town that lets you bring in your own food! So grab your picnic basket or some fried chicken from Nino’s Southern Sides, order up a nice craft brew and enjoy an evening of al fresco dining.
1022 S. 1st St., (414) 810-1022
What’s better than a margarita on a quaint, secluded patio? Maybe some poblano queso, nachos or guacamole? Or how about $5 mojitos all day long on Mondays, complete with mint grown in the restaurant’s garden? All of those things are possible at Cocina 1022, where the patio features include twinkling festoon lights, a colorful mural, shade from a majestic tree and plenty of greenery.
Craving something after 10 p.m.? During the month of August, the restaurant will offer late night specials from 10 p.m. to 3 a.m. including $2 tacos, $2.50 tamales, $4 house margaritas and $3 Jimador tequila shots, plus plenty of smooth cumbia, bachata and reggaetón to enjoy.
823 E. Hamilton St., (414) 585-0123
Beer lovers should hightail it over to this new-ish brewery where there’s an urban beer garden just outside the back door featuring semi-shaded tables and plenty of picnic benches for swilling down a brew or two. (There's plenty of parking, to boot.) Enjoy a full complement of Eagle Park beer, from IPA to stout along with a full menu of delicious things like tea marinated, hop smoked wings as well as barbecue and burgers from Chef Nathan Heck.
Engine Company No. 3
217 W. National Ave., (414) 226-5695
By now, you’ve been to this Walker’s Point staple where there’s always something interesting cooking for breakfast, lunch or brunch. But have you had the opportunity to soak up the atmosphere on its brand new patio? Located just west of the building, this space is nearly as beautiful as the patio at Engine Co.’s sister restaurant, La Merenda (which is also worth a visit).
Jose’s Blue Sombrero
7615 W. State St., (414) 453-2300
Ah, Tosa Village. You are sure getting snazzy. And we blame the fantastic new digs at Jose’s for at least a portion of that. Enjoy table-side guacamole and a refreshing margarita on the second floor patio, which overlooks all the action on the street below. Of course, the open air bar on the first floor is also dandy, particularly during happy hour when there’s a taco bar and $3 house margaritas on tap.
2535 S. Kinnickinnic Ave., (414) 446-3640
Kindred may well be one of Bay View’s best kept secrets. The dining room is gorgeous and the food is tasty. Plus, during the summer months, there’s no better place to while away the time with friends than on this quaint, well-appointed patio, complete with fire pits and beautiful seating that’s surrounded by lovely landscaping. Whether it’s after dinner drinks and shareable plates, or a long leisurely brunch, you’re sure to find your happy place at Kindred.
2151 S. Kinnickinnic Ave., (414) 249-3188
Ah, the lazy nights of summer when hanging with a cocktail is just about the best thing ever … And if you love cocktails, there are a variety of reasons to check out this casual-yet-opulent hang, which boasts a pretty sweet patio out back. As an added bonus, you can grab a delicious snack (or even dinner), thanks to the yakitori-style offerings from the Iron Grate food truck, which parks out back Wednesday through Sunday. (Check out our handy guide to their offerings here). Pro tip: Get there early and snag the lounge furniture on the deck!
501 E. Silver Spring Dr., (414) 204-8980
This friendly neighborhood bistro is a cozy spot to while away a winter evening. But in the summer, the new patio is where it’s at. Cleverly secluded by artful landscaping, it sports comfy shaded seating on soft a bed of recycled rubber mulch. Don’t miss the chance to indulge in brunch offerings, which run the gamut from corned beef hash to crepes filled with fresh berries and cream.
2504 E. Oklahoma Ave., (414) 763-7067
This hoppin’ new spot is already a neighborhood favorite with its sweet and savory hand pies and triple chocolate cookies (among other treats). And while you COULD enjoy a seat inside, you should really save that for the wintertime (when this spot will be the perfect place to enjoy a cup of steaming coffee and a bagel). Instead, seize the moment and enjoy an ice cream float or a cold craft brew on the patio. It’s the perfect place to cool down on a hot summer day.
Lori is an avid cook whose accrual of condiments and spices is rivaled only by her cookbook collection. Her passion for the culinary industry was birthed while balancing A&W root beer mugs as a teenage carhop, fed by insatiable curiosity and fueled by the people whose stories entwine with each and every dish. She’s had the privilege of chronicling these tales via numerous media, including OnMilwaukee and in her book “Milwaukee Food.” Her work has garnered journalism awards from entities including the Milwaukee Press Club.
When she’s not eating, photographing food, writing or recording the FoodCrush podcast, you’ll find Lori seeking out adventures with her husband Paul, traveling, cooking, reading, learning, snuggling with her cats and looking for ways to make a difference.