MKE Brewing Company (9th Street)
Last year, the title of Milwaukee best new bar went to a brewery instead of a traditional bar – one that's only open for a single weekend each month. And now, for 2019, the best new bar is a craft brewery that's existed for more than two decades. Best new bar category, you crazy.
Indeed, according to OnMilwaukee readers, Milwaukee Brewing Company's new multi-use 9th Street brewery is the best new bar in the city. And while that may sound peculiar – a 22-year-old brewery scoring a new bar victory – when you explore everything the new space has to offer and pour, it makes all too much sense.
Opened last September, the 9th Street MKE Brewing Co. location contains multitudes: a taproom, a beer hall and restaurant (Glass + Griddle), an event space, a store with brews to go. Basically, no matter how you want to guzzle down some tasty craft suds, this new craft brewery has whatever you need – and as an added bonus, it's located in the ever-growing arena district, meaning a pre-game or post-concert beer is not even a 10-minute walk away from Fiserv Forum. It's great libations in a great location; no wonder it won!
That being said, this win was no easy breeze. The second-place new bar, the Brady Street arcade haven Up-Down, finished less than 20 votes behind MKE Brewing Co.'s new locale, while Eagle Park Brewing Company, Boone & Crockett (another fresh take on a familiar favorite) and Vennture Brew Co. weren't far behind either. And while Lost Whale found itself just outside of the top five in the reader vote, the new bar in the old Boone & Crockett space scored the OnMilwaukee editors' pick for its funky name and even funkier craft cocktails.
Who knows what'll happen next year in the best new bar vote – after all, it is the only category that's guaranteed a new winner every year. But here's one certainly: It'll be deliciously unpredictable – just like the Milwaukee bar scene itself.
OnMilwaukee editors' pick: Lost Whale