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. Plus, with the outdoors serving as a far safer space than inside during the pandemic, patios are bound to be hopping as soon as the infamous Wisconsin winter thaws away.
Important to note: It's still early in the season, so some patios listed here may not be in full operation. Since hours at many bars and restaurants are still in flux, be sure to verify them before heading out. Also, please take note of COVID protocols that are in place at individual establishments and respectfully follow them.
Be safe, be considerate – and cheers to enjoying a good drink with some rare good Wisconsin weather. And don't forget to tip!
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!
1716 N. Arlington Pl., (414) 755-0099
Want a bit of an upscale feeling, just off Brady Street? Order a wine and a cheese plate to enjoy at either their streetside seating or quaint back patio.
1955 S. Hilbert St., (414) 481-9974
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.
The Beer Garden
1133 N. Old World 3rd St., (414) 908-0401
It's a shame this Deer District hangout isn't called the Deer Garden (come on; there's still time!) but that's the only minor flaw in this otherwise outstanding space, featuring copious seating; a bar serving up tasty beers, seltzers and more; a clear roof in case the forecast turns; and a giant screen perfect for watching the biggest games.
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.
909 E. Locust St., (414) 763-4141
Who's a good brewery?! Yes, it's Black Husky, a Riverwest craft brewery that concocts some tasty local suds complete with a small patio space perfect for chilling out with friends, both two legged and four. Come on, you had to know a place named after dogs would be pupper-friendly.
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?
Boone & Crockett
818 S. Water St., (414) 212-8115
The warm and woodsy interior of this Milwaukee favorite may get all the attention, but the patio is awfully outstanding at Boone & Crockett as well, featuring a separate outside bar, waterfront views and food trucks providing delicious soaker pads. It's a lot to drink in – and that's before we get to the terrific drinks!
6343 N. Green Bay Ave., (414) 797-0710
What's better than an outdoor patio during the lovely Wisconsin spring and summer? TWO patios during the lovely Wisconsin spring and summer – which you'll find at this popular Glendale hangout, where you can watch the big game and savor some big beer gulps while enjoying a beautiful day.
2496 S. Wentworth Ave., (414) 897-0663
Bay View's Cactus Club expanded its outdoor seating options and now has sidewalk tables, backyard picnic tables, booths and fire pits. Frida’s Cocina taco truck is on site Thursdays-Saturdays and will eventually add Tuesday and Wednesday service when the weather warms.
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.
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.
4488 N. Oakland Ave., (414) 231-9660
This Shorewood spot's cozy patio space will have you seeing ... well, the opposite of red, with plenty of comfortable seating, two firepits and a privacy wall to make it an ideal escape.
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.
Draft & Vessel
4417 N. Oakland Ave., (414) 533-5599
Beer fans unite at this hop-happy Shorewood locale – complete with a cute little parklet perfect for enjoying your new favorite beverage on a brew-tiful Wisconsin day.
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!
Elwood's Liquor & Tap
1111 N. Water St., (414) 810-1436
No need to feel the blues at this "Blues Brothers"-named Water Street hangout – especially if you're soaking up some suds while soaking in some summer vibes on Elwood's nice little alcove, providing a little peaceful escape from the usually bustling Water Street traffic.
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. The newer Explorium location in the Pritzlaff also has both a sheltered patio space (in the Tunnel) as well as a more traditional sun-drenched space.
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 (temporarily closed 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 in front of the building, as well as on the rooftop.
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 (temporarily closed due to fire)
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. Be sure to call ahead on chilly early spring days and late fall days to make sure the outdoor seating is open!
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.
Kegel's Beer Garden
5901 W. National Ave., (414) 257-9999
A collaboration between this iconic West Allis restaurant staple and new favorite Public Table, this comfortable beer garden – filled with tables and firepits – is the perfect place to take in some company, some Milwaukee history and some tasty eats.
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.
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.
2152 S. Kinnickinnic Ave., (414) 249-3188
Escape the world in the middle of Bay View with the outdoor PufferFish tiki bar pop-up. Plan ahead because reservations are highly recommended (with sunny drinks and even sunnier vibes, seats go fast!).
1041 N. Old World 3rd St., (414) 271-3377
The inside of this Milwaukee institution may get all the attention – and deservedly so considering the historic legacy all over its walls – but don't overlook the outside beer garden area, filled with comfortable tables and some patio games that bring a little chill, natural beer garden atmosphere to the bustling, building-filled Downtown energy.
14460 W. College Ave., (414) 427-3838
This New Berlin hotspot is always bumping no matter the forecast – but definitely be sure to spin by when the weather's nice with its current tented patio set-up complete with tasty brews, delicious food and plenty of entertainment live and on screen.
1135 N. Water St., (414) 278-8888
This Water Street favorite offers two floors of fun inside – but the real star is the fenced-in outdoor beer garden space in the back, featuring loads of tables, seating space and a whole bonus bar complete with several TVs keeping you up to date on the big game in between big swigs. It's a little haven by the busy Water Street drag.
The MECCA Sports Bar and Grill
1134 Vel R. Phillips Ave., (414) 908-0401
It may be named after the old Downtown arena, but it's a whole new game at The MECCA. The plentiful screens inside – including the monolith centerpiece – may catch your attention, but don't forget about the patio space on both floors of this high-energy sports bar, featuring plenty of screens and a great view of Fiserv Forum right next door.
Milwaukee Ale House (temporarily closed but stay tuned)
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.
134 E. Juneau Ave., (414) 488-2023
Recently moved into the former Rogues Gallery space just off the Water Street drag, the new Mojo MKE makes new visitors welcome with its nifty patio, featuring its own outside bar along with plenty of seating and space.
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. These amazing outdoor spaces are truly hidden gems (psst! don't tell).
11505 W. National Ave., (414) 543-2255
This Stallis gameday favorite features patios for both humans and dogs, with a heated patio and plenty of tables and TVs for the two-legged visitors as well as an open green "pawtio" space for the beloved four-legged ones.
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.
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.
337 W. Main St., (262) 522-6868
People's Park has three tremendous floors of fun and food, but the top floor is the top spot thanks to its nice, cozy and often quirky outdoor rooftop set-up, perfect for catching up with people or simply people watching on the street below.
5835 W. National Ave., (414) 488-2948
Teaming up with local Stallis landmark Kegel's Inn, Public Table complements its stellar indoor restaurant space with a cozy beer garden patio, featuring firepits and plenty of tables (fittingly, considering "table" is right there in the name).
Red Lion Pub on Tannery Row
1850 N. Water St.
Take in rooftop vibes at the patio at Red Lion Pub. Games, food and more await you on this perch above Water Street. And if it's a little too chilly up there, check out the heated patio off to Red Lion's side.
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. Note: The outdoor patio seating is currently closed but stay tuned for its return come warmer climes!
Santino's Little Italy
352 E. Stewart St., (414) 897-7367
The pizza may be the star at this Bay View restaurant, but it's even better when it comes with a side of a sunny patio. Santino's definitely serves that up with its outdoor seating space – complete with some lawn games to help work off the several scrumptuous slices you've just gobbled down.
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.
Station No. 6
6800 W. Becher St.
This Stallis hangout may be called Station No. 6, but when it comes to living that patio life, it's number one in our hearts thanks to its lovely outdoor beer garden space – complete with cozy fireside seating.
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.
441 E. Lincoln Ave., (414) 509-6035
This Bay View favorite has earned plenty of plaudits over the years thanks to its routinely spectacular beer list, always rotating in unique craft brews as well as bringing in brewers and special tastings to impress your palate. And while the inside is sleek and warm, don't miss out on the patio space as well, offering a comfy escape from the busy center of Bay View and decorated with all sorts of swag from breweries that have graced their terrific taps.
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.
Three Lions Pub
4515 N. Oakland Ave., (414) 763-6992
Three Lions Pub brings a cozy blast of Britain into Brew City, from the many televisions blasting the day's biggest matches from across the pond to its beer list of craft brews from here and elsewhere. And for a bonus friendly pub vibe, there's a pleasant little porch in front that's jolly good. (British people still say that, right?)
124 N. Water St.
This patio tucked in off Water Street is already beautiful, typically strewn with lights and tables – but during the pandemic, Tied House has pivoted with gorgeous themed patio concepts, including one coming April 30 through October called "Elements of Nature." Definitely stay tuned for that!
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.
7005 S. Ballpark Dr., (414) 529-7676
Get some fresh air and a fresh pint at this tip-top Franklin outdoor space – quite literally, as the hilltop Umbrella Bar overlooks the impressive suburban sporting complex and all the baseball fields below, giving you the best view in the house. Not a sports fan? The Umbrella Bar also hosts regular live music nights. Whether you want to dance, drink or see some dingers, The Umbrella Bar is the perfect place.
1125 N. Old World 3rd St., (414) 988-0355
Located right next to Deer District on Old World Third Street, Uncle Buck's features several floors of fun – most notably on the top level, which features an great rooftop bar area with drinks to stay lively, fireside seating to stay warm when the temperature drops and a view down the main drag to stay entertained watching all the activity.
The Vanguard (currently carry-out only, 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.
View MKE (temporarily closed but stay tuned)
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.
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 on Broadway. Thanks to its proximity to the Public Market, there's plenty of people-watching to enjoy as well.
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.