Cocktailing and beer drinking are year-round sports in Milwaukee, but the peak season generally coincides with our beautiful but all-too-brief flirtations with warm weather.
Patios are bound to be hopping as being outside during the pandemic is much safer than indoors. We're picking a few of our favorites that will help you take the party to the outdoors.
Hours and plans for bars and restaurants right now are an ever-changing thing, so the best thing to do is check their social media for updated weekly hours before heading there. Keep in mind things may not feel normal – because they aren't.
Please have fun responsibly, safely and wear a mask to protect yourself and others. Here is where to get some great ones locally made.
311 N. Plankinton Ave., (414) 276-4400
Found in the recently renovated Pritzlaff Complex, this cozy and classy patio is an ideal escape from the city hustle and bustle, featuring classic cocktails, a relaxed atmosphere and a tasty menu of smart small plates, sandwiches, pizzas and more.
2501 S. Delaware Ave., (414) 481-8030
Don't miss the chance to take in the throw-back ambiance at the Ice Cream Social, At Random's well-appointed mid-century modern patio serving up refreshing seasonal cocktails, floats and ice cream drinks. Read more about it.
2155 S. Kinnickinnic Ave., (414) 751-4087
Patio space at The Backyard is dog-friendly and offers space for yard games and social distancing. It even got a bit of a facelift during the quarantine!
1955 S. Hilbert St., (414) 481-9974
**CLOSED FOR THE SEASON**
This place is great for so many reasons, with perhaps number one being that so few know where it is. That's because it's nestled behind Skipper Bud's on the north side of Bay View, and you have to drive through a few parking lots to find it. Once you do, though, you'll see a totally unique view of the city, with converging rivers and a backdrop that feels more Key West than Milwaukee. The bar is far from fancy, but it's good for greasy bar food, Coronas and margaritas. In terms of vibe, it's filled with people who've docked their boats, as well as landlubbers who just came to adjust their latitude.
Bass Bay Brewhouse
S79W15851 Aud Mar Dr, Muskego, (414) 377-9449
If your ideal hangout is a patio with a lake view, look no further than Bass Bay Brewhouse. Just a short drive from Milwaukee, this destination patio offers both a beautiful view of Bass Bay plus a menu of tasty craft cocktails, wines and whiskeys as well as an extensive list of Wisconsin craft brews. Had a couple of rounds, but not ready to head home? Stick around and enjoy a dish or two off of their well-executed comfort food-filled menu.
700 W. Lexington Blvd., (414) 236-7000
The remodeled Bierhaus is sure to have a spot perfectly suited for your drinking desires. Let's not forget Heidelberg Park biergarten just outside the historical building, which serves as a lovely spot to sip one of the numerous taps available behind the bar.
3907 S. Lake Dr., (414) 744-3722
A beer garden with a lakefront view – need we say more? Bert’s Bar has a great Friday fish fry, a jukebox and welcomes live music performances.
901 W. Juneau Ave., (414) 847-1330
What's not to love about a beer garden on the site of the historic Pabst brewery? Get your PBR on tap, take in the old world charm and hang around for one of the regular weekend music acts. You can even take your picture with Captain Pabst himself (or a statue of him, anyway).
2970 N. Brookfield Rd., Brookfield, (262) 309-5820
Biloba Brewing is an oasis of quality craft beer in the western suburbs. Late in summer 2017, it installed a new patio out in front of the brewery, located in the intimate setting of the old Brookfield village.
Blue Bat Kitchen & Tequilaria
249 N. Water St., (414) 431-1133
This Riverwalk patio in the heart of the Historic Third Ward is sure to delight with its waterfront views. But its menu is also perfect for noshing alongside a cool, citrusy beverage. Plus, did we mention tequila?
346 N. Broadway, (414) 501-2500
A Third Ward rooftop bar with views of Downtown. Need we say more? Probably not, but their great collection of Belgian brews is an added bonus. There is also sidewalk seating.
2608 N. Downer Ave., (414) 963-6366
7677 W. State St., Wauwatosa (414) 475-6771
If you like Belgian beer, pommes frites and a cool vibe, you'll be happy to while away an afternoon at either of these venues. The Tosa location is especially ripe for people watching (and trainspotting, too).
434 S 2nd St., (414) 800-5641
The word "camino" translates out to path – and you should follow this Camino into its fenced-in beer garden. It's the perfect place to soak in some sun while soaking up Camino's wide selection of tasty American craft brews.
Camp Bar Tosa
6600 W. North Ave., Wauwatosa, (414) 763-3793
As soon as it opened, Camp Bar became the coolest place for a cocktail in East Tosa. Now, there's a patio out back and a deck above, as well, making it the coolest place in East Tosa for an outdoor cocktail.
Casablanca on Brady or Brookfield
728 E. Brady St., (414) 271-6000
17800 W. Blue Mound Rd., (262) 261-6000
Major renovations transformed one of the city's best Middle Eastern restaurants – and one of the Milwaukee's best buffets – into a destination. It's a hot spot for the late-night crowd too, thanks to a second floor deck that juts out over the sidewalk to offer views along Brady Street. On the west side? Check out their Brookfield location - similar vibes and same great goodies.
City Lights Brewing
2210 W. Mt. Vernon Ave., (414) 436-1011
Located in the heart of the Menomonee Valley, City Lights has a rockin' patio that's perfect for a pint on a warm summer's day or night.
2238 N. Farwell Ave., (414) 763-9081
The restaurants deservedly get most of the attention at this East Side food hall, but don't overlook the Pharmacy Bar, which offers extended patio seating for distancing and, of course, delicious brews and cocktails for drinking.
1307 E. Brady St., (414)-539-6826
Sometimes a nice little sidewalk patio is all you need to make the day better. Use this opportunity to enjoy some Italian food and a wide-ranging cocktail list.
Eagle Park Brewing Company
823 E. Hamilton St., (414) 585-0123
S64 W15640 Commerce Center Pkwy. Muskego
This East Side brewery has a sunny patio located just to the west of the taproom and adjacent to the brewery's substantial fenced-in parking lot, which serves as a site for pig roasts, concerts and beer release parties. A second location is now open in Muskego – and well worth the trip!
5300 S. 76th St., (414) 423-1365
The patio space out front of Southridge Mall features an outdoor bar and fire-pit along with a dining area. Brews and sun await you.
1875 N. Humboldt Ave., (414) 226-5882
Hello Milwaukee! Everybody's going to "everyman's cocktail bar" – and everyone knows it. And that includes its cozy patio, featuring plentiful seating and a few bar games to keep the energy and fun going even away from the pinball machines and arcade games inside.
Fuel Café 5th Street (currently not open, but stay tuned)
630 S. 5th St., (414)-847-9580
Fuel Café on 5th Street is the popular coffee shop, eatery and hangout's second location, offering another place for bikers (and other chill folks) to relax, enjoy a cocktail or grab a cup of coffee or beer.
Glass + Griddle / Milwaukee Brewing Co.
1130 N. 9th St., (414) 988-1551
You're going to want to get a piece of this amazing patio and beer garden, which seats a crowd just outside the restaurant and brewery.
Good City Brewing
2108 N. Farwell Ave., (414) 539-4173
Fiserv Forum, 333 W. Juneau Ave., (414) 539-4173
Thanks to Good City's rooftop patio, it's a great place to grab one of the city's best craft beers and breathe in the lake air. Meanwhile, the Deer District location boasts tables outside on the plaza as well as a large upper balcony patio.
Great Lakes Distillery
616 W. Virginia St., (414) 431-8683
Great Lakes has a spacious, nicely landscaped patio with an action-packed view of the cars going round and round and round on the 6th Street roundabout.
550 N. Harbor Dr., (414) 395-4900
One of the city's top seafood restaurants boasts a fine view of Lake Michigan, literally right outside the windows. But it also has an outdoor patio with a range of seating offering views of the lake, of Milwaukee Art Museum and of the changing Downtown skyline.
The Harp Irish Pub
113 E. Juneau Ave., (414) 289-0700
Perfect for outdoor drinks and tomfoolery from spring to fall, The Harp is located half a block off Water Street. Nothing beats sitting on the patio overlooking the water on a hot summer night.
Hooligan's Super Bar
2017 E. North Ave., (414) 273-5230
Hooligan's is right in the thick of things, and during the summer, the outdoor patio is a fun place to dine and casually take in the view of the bustling East Side.
600 S. 6th St., (414) 488-9146
Among the city's collection of well-appointed patios is the gem at Hotel Madrid. In fact, there's no better place for dinner, brunch or happy hour than their beautifully landscaped, secluded yard. So grab a sangria. We'll meet you there.
Indeed Brewing Company
530 S. 2nd St., (414) 216-9007
Freshly opened in Milwaukee in 2019, this Minneapolis import just built a lovely little outdoor parklet out front of its Walker's Point taproom – perfect for soaking in the gorgeous Midwest weather and soaking in some delicious craft brews, including its hit pistachio cream ale.
354 E. National Ave., (414) 272-5789
One of the "secret gems" in the Milwaukee patio scene. The owner has tremendous style and a very green thumb, and it shows in this bar's beautiful patio.
9155 W. Bluemound Rd., (414) 771-9900
With a name like "The Fountain," you can bet this outdoor drinking spot has them in spades. There's even one in its indoor dining area, but the patio is where it's at. Enjoy one of the signature margaritas (heck, grab a pitcher) as well as a taste of Mexico right here in Milwaukee.
Leff's Lucky Town
7208 W. State St., Wauwatosa
What used to be a tiny gas station and parking lot is now a comfortable drinking and dining spot that has made Leff's even more popular with the Tosa crowd.
Lost Whale (currently open for sidewalk carryout for now - and PufferFish is coming!)
2152 S. Kinnickinnic Ave., (414) 249-3188
Grab some curbside cocktails for now – and get excited for the upcoming PufferFish tiki bar pop-up! In the meantime, try a negroni spritz or classic old fashioned while you're there.
Milwaukee Ale House
233 N. Water St., (414) 226-2337
The Ale House, with its picturesque location on the Milwaukee River, gives diners and drinkers a spectacular backdrop to conduct the pursuit of merriment. (The craft beer selection doesn't hurt, either). It's a great place to soak up the sun or watch it set.
Milwaukee Sail Loft
649 E. Erie St., (414) 223-0100
Our own Bobby Tanzilo has raved about the patio behind Sail Loft, where the Milwaukee River meets the waters of Lake Michigan in the shadow of the Hoan Bridge. With – or despite – the plaints of the seagulls, this deck (which welcomes boaters) offers urban views but the serenity of the seaside.
2301 S. Logan Ave., (414) 366-8525
Nestled in a Bay View residential area, the Mothership patio is perfect for chilling and feeling the friendly neighborhood BV love.
Motor Bar & Restaurant
401 W. Canal St., (414) 287-2778
Enjoy a moment in the sun, plus beer, wine or cocktails on one of two of Motor's well-appointed riverfront patios.
Nomad World Pub
1401 E. Brady St., (414) 224-8111
Why do we all love The Nomad? Maybe because we can sit outside on their patio during the summer and watch the hustle and bustle of Brady Street while we sip a microbrew. Maybe it's their dangerously delicious Bloody Marys. Or their happy hour specials. Or the shade and ample seating in the back. Or the Burger Shack? Whatever. We like it.
338 S. 1st St., (414)271-7546
The enclosed patio bar at O’Lydia’s is great for a rainy day or night – but there is also an expansive outside seating area for when the weather is right. Don't miss the reuben rolls: They will go great with your drink.
310 E. Chicago St., (414) 291-3980
Enjoy a breathtaking view of the city from The Outsider's ninth-floor rooftop patio, complete with cool seating and cozy modern fire pits.
Paddy's Pub (not currently open, but stay tuned)
2339 N. Murray Ave., (414) 223-3496
This is undoubtedly one of the city's finest outdoor drinking experiences. The beautiful – not to mention large – patio is adorned with natural foliage, small white lights and ornate stonework. The music is lively and authentically Irish, and the snacks are, of course, free and plentiful.
Rock Bottom Brewery
740 N. Plankinton Ave., (414) 276-3030
With good bar food and an awesome setting on the Milwaukee River, Rock Bottom is a great Downtown place to turn happy hour into dinner into an evening of fun.
606 S. 5th S., (414) 635-0882
Snifter's cozy patio seating in the rear of the building will feel like you are in another world. Enjoy a cold one and chill out – or get moving to the music!
Sprecher Brewery beer garden aka "Outdoor Oasis"
2200 W. Bender Rd, (414) 964-7837
Enjoy a cold Sprecher while taking in this oasis. In addition to serving beer and soda the oasis will also offer hot dogs, brats, hamburgers, ice cream and other snacks. The park also has indoor restrooms – including a family bathroom – a large accessible playground, access to the Oak Leaf Trail and free parking.
Stubby's Gastrogrub & Beer Bar
2060 N. Humboldt Blvd., (414) 763-6324
Comfort food and more than 50 beers on tap combine with a great riverside patio to create an inviting vibe that's walkable from the bar zones on North Avenue and Brady Street.
Third Space Brewing
1505 W. St. Paul Ave., (414) 909-2337
One of the top craft brewers in town has a happening beer garden at its seemingly ever-growing Menomonee Valley brewery. The tap room and patio truly are a Happy Place.
Trinity Three Irish Pubs
125 E. Juneau Ave., (414) 278-7033
When things get crowded inside, it's nice to have a patio to escape to and get some fresh air. But Trinity's is so nice that it's worth a stop all on its own. With stone accents and scores of nooks and crannies for you and your friends to sit and relax, Trinity's patio is practically a separate bar.
1200 W. Canal St., (414) 384-2722
Picnic tables, umbrellas, cold drinks and a handful of crab legs sounds like fun, doesn’t it? Twisted Fisherman’s outdoor seating area is big enough to enjoy a seafood with friends, yet cozy enough to share drinks with a special someone.
The Vanguard (not currently open for sit down, but stay tuned)
2659 S. Kinickinnic Ave., (414) 539-3593
The patio in back of Milwaukee's "go to" sausage joint is a winning proposition. It comes complete with shade, string lights, picnic tables and tables for smaller groups of two to four.
1818 N. Hubbard St., (414) 763-0003
You would hope a restaurant called View MKE would have quite the view for outdoor dining and drinking – and you would be right, as the Brewers Hill spot offers a pretty tremendous view of the city to drink in while you're drinking your beverage of choice.
Von Trier (currently carry-out only)
2235 N. Farwell Ave., (414) 272-1775
The small, triangular beer garden at Von Trier is cozy and enclosed, making you feel like part of an exclusive beer-swilling club on a warm summer evening.
The Wicked Hop
345 N. Broadway St., (414) 223-0345
In the warm months, there's plenty of outdoor seating under the huge metal awning and plenty of people-watching. Yet since it's on Broadway, it's off the path of Water Street enough to still feel calm and relaxing after a long day at the office.
500 W. Florida St., (414) 831-4615
More than one guest has soaked up the atmosphere outside the Iron Horse Hotel and exclaimed "I feel like I'm in another city!" With nearly 5,000 square feet of space featuring upholstered sectionals and a comfortable upscale vibe, this is a place to sip tasty, creative (and fancy) cocktails and watch the beautiful people.