Riverwest's bar scene is as eclectic as the people who inhabit the neighborhood. In fact, you'll find a variety of vibes, from quaint corner taverns to clubs and slightly more upscale cocktail spots, all catering to a distinctive audience.
In fact, the most difficult task you'll encounter is deciding exactly where to go first. This list should help.
722 E. Burleigh St., (414) 372-7880
Art Bar lives up to its name by showcasing new art installations on a regular basis. Pair that up with creative drinks, housemade pizzas, a welcoming atmosphere, a patio and you've got a spot that checks off a good number of great bar boxes. [Read about this hidden gem]
Black Husky Brewing
909 E. Locust St., (414) 509-8855
This craft brewery got its start in a small cabin in Pembine, Wisconsin, and you'll find nods to the North Woods in the tap room's decor. Stop in for a pint to enjoy at the bar or on the brewery's well-appointed patio.
Bosco's On Burleigh
1000 E. Burleigh St., (414) 264-3500
This corner tavern sports a "small town bar" vibe along with affordable beverages, bar dice, gambling machines, snacks and more. [Read more about this hidden gem]
901 E. Clarke St., (414) 431-1932
This bar and venue may be on hiatus from its live music, pinball tournaments, comedy, open mic nights and events, but you'll still find a comfortable spot to imbibe in their unique café setting.
808 E. Center St., (414) 455-3751
**Temporarily closed **
Much like its sister eatery next door, Bar Centro offers beautiful, cozy quarters, plus a menu of wine, beer, cocktails and Italian amaro.
932 E. Chambers St., (414) 562-4101
This live music club is small but mighty, welcoming multifarious bands and DJs from Milwaukee and beyond.
2579 N. Pierce St., (414) 562-0100
This former Miller tide house offers a corner bar feel complete with low-cost drinks, darts, pool and a welcoming vibe.
520 E. Center St., (414) 265-7000
This bar and live music venue features primarily (but not limited to) world music/reggae bands and DJs. pen and spacious, Timbuktu is an extremely dance-friendly venue.
735 E. Center St., (414) 930-0909
This microbrewery and restaurants offers a wide selection of on-premise brews, tap cocktails, coffee drinks and more. Currently, Company offers curbside pick-up only; but you can get beer, cocktail growlers and food to enjoy on their heated patio, which is open (weather permitting) at a limited capacity.
801 E. Clarke St., (414) 264-0680
The basement of this bar is home to a vintage bowling alley that's open to the public on Wednesday nights. The bar is open daily and offers seemingly bottomless taps in an old-school Milwaukee setting.
Foundation Tiki Bar
2718 N. Bremen St., (414) 374-2587
Milwaukee's first tiki bar continues to crank out creative and potent Polynesian cocktails including zombies, mai tais, Singapore slings, dark and stormys and more. Some are even served in take-home tiki vessels. Currently, Foundation is offering tiki cocktail kits for curbside pick-up.
Gathering Place Brewing Co.
811 E. Vienna St., (414) 364-6328
This craft brewery features a spacious tap room with a bar made from an old basketball court. Food trucks are often on premise to provide welcome noshes. Currently, the tap room is open at a very limited capacity; walk-in beer-to-go purchases and curbside beer pick-up are available.
2578 N. Dousman St., (414) 372-4559
Pool, bar dice, bargain beverages and football are big draws at this corner watering hole, and the super-diverse jukebox is a sweet surprise. [Read more about this hidden gem]
1132 E. Wright St., (414) 562-0219
For some, this space will forever be Barrel Riders, even though it's been The Gig for more than a decade. Nonetheless, head here and you'll find a low-key bar with pool, video games and occasional live music. [Read more about this hidden gem]
701 E. Center St., (414) 763-0729
**Temporarily Closed **
This friendly, no-frills tavern is owned by a longtime Riverwest bartender. Affordable drinks, craft brews, live music, bar dice and free food during Packers games are all hallmarks of this neighborhood spot.
920 E. Locust St., (414) 263-9844
Klinger's East is a popular spot for catching the game. They offer a full bar, plus a popular Friday night fish fry.
3200 N. Booth St., (414) 265-5907
This low-key neighborhood bar features affordable drinks and bartenders that keep up the vibe by rocking fun tunes.
Linneman's Riverwest Inn
1001 E. Locust St., (414) 263-4555
This bar and music venue evolved over the years, first becoming a Milwaukee gem and now a classic. Live bands, poetry and more take place most nights of the week.
533 E. Center St., (414) 263-4555
Consistently voted as Milwaukee's best dance club, Mad Planet is famous for its Friday night '80s dance parties and eclectic live music offerings. While not open for in-person carousing, you can tune in to their Instagram page for virtual Friday night dance parties.
2778 N. Weil St., (414) 264-8466
Inside this neighborhood tavern, you'll find dark wood accents, plenty of craft brews, a lengthy wine list, crafty seasonal cocktails and a delicious Italian menu. Sidewalk patio seating is available when the weather permits.
900 E. Center St., (414) 263-4140
Quarters is a (tiny!) hole-in-the-wall bar and music venue that has been around, on and off, for decades. And yes, they're still kickin'.
900 E. Auer St., (414) 265-8389
This neighborhood tavern is a popular spot for residents to catch the game. But you can also stop by for drinks, a game of pool or to spin some tunes on the jukebox.
Stubby's Gastrogrub & Beer Bar
2060 N. Humboldt Blvd., (414) 763-6324
At Stubby's you'll find an extensive beer and cider list – available by the pint or growler – along with a full bar. Grab a pint and peruse their pub menu. Seating is available in their spacious indoor quarters or outside on their beautiful (heated) riverfront patio.
2402 N. Dousman St., (414) 264-4070
"Hidden" in the midst of residential homes, Squirrel Cage is truly a neighborhood bar. You'll find affordable drinks, a pool table and –according to lore – a "pet" squirrel (hence the name).
The Tracks Tavern & Grill
1020 E. Locust St., (414) 562-2020
The Tracks is a popular spot to grab a drink and watch a game; but this tavern is perhaps best known for its fish fry and outdoor volleyball leagues in the spring and summer.
718 E. Burleigh St., (414) 372-7553
**Temporarily closed **
This cocktail lounge ideal for an intimate "date night," thanks to its unique decor, dim lighting and cozy quarters. It's also a great spot for well-crafted cocktails and conversation. [Read more about this hidden gem]
1032 E. Center St., (414) 372-3882
This Riverwest classic is among the oldest continuosly operating taverns in the city. "Home of the beautiful people," this corner tavern offers affordable drinks, friendly service and spiffs like pinball, occasional live music and more. It's Milwaukee's very own "Bukowski bar." [Read more about this hidden gem]
2479 N. Fratney St., (414) 988-9743
This casual corner bar is known for its good deals on drinks, pinball (free on Mondays), karaoke (on Wednesdays), televised sports and more.