"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!
After knocking off the four-time champion, Milwaukee Ale House, in last year's Best of Bars poll, the Cactus Club's reign as king of the Cream City live music locales was short-lived. In a tight race – with the top four vote-getters separated by less than 50 votes – The Jazz Estate claimed victory, giving this category three different winners in three years.
After spending several years up for sale, the iconic Jazz Estate has found a sweet new harmony with new owner John Dye. The Bryant's Cocktail Lounge owner bought the small but soulful East Side sonic palace in 2015, and the establishment hasn't looked back since, still maintaining a legacy as one of the country's finest jazz locales – and now claiming the title of the best live music bar in Milwaukee.
Cactus Club certainly put up a good fight for first place, coming up less than 20 votes short of the top spot, while the formerly dominant Third Ward combination of suds and songs at Milwaukee Ale House finished with the bronze. Red Rock Saloon came in close behind in fourth place, while Kochanski's on the southwest side wrapped up the top five with the power of polka.
Meanwhile, the OnMilwaukee editors followed their ears over to Walker's Point for their pick, Gibraltar.
OnMilwaukee editors' pick: Gibraltar