By Lori Fredrich Senior Writer & Dining Editor Published Mar 25, 2019 at 11:01 AM

Since January 2017, I’ve been hiking the Burger Trail, eating my way through the riches of our city's ever-growing burger scene. Along the way, I’ve tried over 90 burgers from bars, restaurants and drive-ins throughout the Milwaukee metro area and beyond.

In celebration of bar month, I thought I’d share a sampling of the fruits of my labor. Here, in reverse order, are the top 15 bar burgers (based on overall scores).

On the list you’ll find a variety of styles, from diner-style smash burgers to half-pounders and over-the-top beasts. But they all have one thing in common. They’re delicious.

15. Mainstream Bar & Grill

404 W. Main St., Waukesha, (262) 544-6222
Score: 40/50

Mainstream’s burger is big, bold and well worth the drive to Waukesha. Be sure to try the crisp housemade potato chips (and dip) while you’re there. Read the full review.

14. Swingin’ Door Exchange

219 E. Michigan St., (414) 276-8150
Score: 40/50

I’m giving this burger a nice big nod. I’d eat it again, and you probably should, too. If you need to feel slightly more virtuous in your decision, order the spicy vermouth carrots (also good) on the side instead of fries. Read the full review.

13. O’Lydia’s

338 S. 1st St., (414) 271-7546
Score: 40/50

The patty on the California burger was robust and meaty and the toppings reflect the freshness of West Coast cuisine. As bar burgers go, O'Lydia's serves up a solid. Read the full review.

12. Oak Barrel Public House

1033 N. Old World 3rd St., (414) 897-8320
Score: 40/50

If you like a good messy, cheesy burger, you can't go wrong with the Wisco Burger. Read the full review.

11. Matty’s Bar in New Berlin

14460 College Ave., New Berlin, (414) 427-3838
Score: 40/50

Although it had its flaws, Matty's Bleu Burger was only a few tweaks from being among the best I've had yet on the Burger Trail. Read the full review.

10. Jackson’s Blue Ribbon Pub

1203 N. 10th St., (414) 276-7271
Score: 40/50

If you're craving the flavors of spring, it's time for a Gorgie Burger. Read the full review

9. Jo Mama’s Bar & Grill

4600 County Line Q, Colgate, (262) 628-9211
Score: 41/50

Not a burger for the faint-hearted, nor the lactose intolerant, the Joe Mama burger is a celebration of excess at its finest. Read the full review.

8. Camino

434 S 2nd St., (414) 800-5641
Score: 41/50

The half-pound patty was perfectly cooked,  juicy and loosely packed… and the toppings well executed. If you haven’t been to Camino, consider this your invitation to try it out. Read the full review.

7. Jack’s American Pub

1323 E. Brady St., (414) 763-2830
Score: 42/50

The Black & Bleu burger at Jack's American Pub is a nicely balanced burger with toppings that play well together. Read the full review.

6. Oscar’s Winner’s Circle

3800 W. Burnham St., (414) 249-5701
Score: 42/50

If you like the burgers from Oscar's on Pierce, you'll likely find another happy place at Oscar's Winner's Circle. Read the full review.

5. Oscar’s on Pierce

1712 W. Pierce St., (414) 810-1820}Score: 43/50

If you haven't yet tried a burger from Oscar’s, you’d be remiss not to put it on your list. And if you have, well, you know what I’m talking about. While I can’t guarantee mariachi on your next visit, I can assure you there’s a great burger waiting for you. Read the full review.

4. Stubby’s Gastrogrub

2060 N. Humboldt Blvd., (414) 763-6324
Score: 44/50

Stubby's isn't a diner, but their Double Diner Smash Burgers are a Wisconsin classic in the making. Read the full review.

3. Cloud Red

4488 N. Oakland Ave., (414) 231-9660
Score: 43/50

Not only is it beautiful, this char-broiled burger sports a spunky take on the usual burger sauce. If you love a good half-pounder, you should definitely put the Ney’s Big Sky Burger at Cloud Red on your list to try. Read the full review.

2. Palomino

2491 S. Superior St., (414) 747-1007
Score: 44/50

The brisket burger at Palomino is a great example of a classic diner-style burger that's been elevated with the use of exceptionally high quality ingredients. It's a must try. Read the full review.

1. Good City Brewing

2108 N. Farwell Ave., (414) 539-4173
Score: 47/50

It’s good looking, perfectly cooked and the toppings are well appointed. In the end: Good City makes a really great burger. Read the full review.

Lori Fredrich Senior Writer & Dining Editor

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.