"Bar Month" at OnMilwaukee is brought to you by Miller Brewing Company, calling Milwaukee home since 1855. For the entire month of March, we're serving up fun articles on bars, clubs and beverages – including guides, the latest trends, bar reviews, the results of our Best of Bars poll and more. Grab a designated driver and dive in!
Of all the categories in our annual best of bars poll, the best bar for a first date would seemingly be the most open to personal interpretation or experience. After all, when you're with the right person, can't any bar – whether a swanky lounge or a delightful dive – qualify as the perfect bar for a first date?
Apparently no – at least according to our readers over the last six years, who, despite the very subjective question, were strict in their pick: the cute and cozy Brady Street wine bar Balzac.
But this year, however, the voters mixed things up, switching out the familiar face at the top of the podium with ... well, another pretty familiar face in these best of bars polls: Bryant's Cocktail Lounge!
Scoring already its second win in just the nine categories announced so far (the other victory coming for best craft cocktails), the South Side staple – known for its buzzy ice cream concoctions and delightfully dim, retro atmosphere – knocked off Balzac and its six-year streak as Milwaukee's first date favorite. In fact, Balzac fell all the way to third place, with The Outsider and its scenic Third Ward patio grabbing the silver medal. The former champ shouldn't feel too bad, though. Less than 50 votes separated the top four finalists – rounded out by Camp Bar – in this hotly competitive category, with Bay View beer list bonanza Sugar Maple filling out the rest of the winner's circle.
Meanwhile, the OnMilwaukee editors went with the cozy confines of Bay View's micro-hotel and the restaurant and bar down below, Kindred.
But reminder: As awesome as all these winners and their fellow competitors are, when it comes to the category of best first date bar, it's not where you are but who you're with.
OnMilwaukee's editors' pick: Kindred