I grew up where the East Side meets the North Shore. This past weekend as I idled at the intersection of National and Greenfield Avenue, I realized that – with the obvious exceptions to Miller Park, State Fair and the Pettit Center – I remember going to West Allis exactly zero times throughout my 18 years living in the Milwaukee area.
In the past week, I’ve been out hitting the ‘Stallis bars and sampling the restaurants to get a sense of what I’ve been missing.
The verdict? A lot.
So whether you are calling up a babysitter or just asked out that cute something-something at the coffee shop to dinner, here are some options for exploring West Allis on your next night out.
5823 W. Burnham St., (414) 321-5775
Antigua is a upscale restaurant that specializes in crafting cuisine from across Latin America. Beside each dish on the menu, there is a flag denoting its country of origin. Try the pupusas tapas from El Salvador, or the churrasco Argentino as a main entrée, from, of course, Argentina. No matter what you decide to sample, this is an excellent choice for a West Allis date night.
9039 W. National Ave., (414) 327-1600
This is a fantastic little restaurant. OnMilwaukee’s Molly Snyder tells the full story, but the atmosphere is bright and colorful, the service is kind and quick, and the flavor brings something entirely new to Milwaukee’s palate. It serves traditional Peruvian fare, and the dishes range from fish ceviche to traditional smoked pork cooked in the style of the Peruvian jungle village of Iquitos. Try the crispy yucca with cheese sauce as an appetizer, the arroz con pollo for an entrée and the chicha morada to sip on the side. This is top choice for any date of any description.
Taqueria Buena Vista
6000 W. Burnham St., (414) 546-1197
This hole-in-the wall restaurant serves cheap, tasty Mexican food. What it lacks in glitz or glam, it makes up for in character. It serves meals with a pico de gallo, two salsas and a delicious spicy green sauce that add a punch to some already solid grub. For a couple on a budget or just looking for a Milwaukee adventure, this restaurant is a low-key spot worth trying.
10535 W. Greenfield Ave., (262) 671-2445
Across from where Sammy’s hot dog shop used to be, Vani’s Kitchen offers solid Indian fare with a particular focus on cuisine from the southern end of the subcontinent. The place is a little on the sterile side, but try the dosa – a South Indian specialty.
Freese’s Candy Shoppe
7312 W. Greenfield Ave., (414) 453-5454
Not a restaurant, but a classic West Allis candy shop with a rich selection of chocolates and treats. They are currently undergoing a remodel that will be completed shortly, but in the meantime, if your sweet tooth needs must be sated, you can still call in a pick-up order of their sumptuous selection. Royal Brevväxling, a contributing writer of OnMilwaukee.com, will give you the scoop on Freese’s delectable confection in this article!
Over the past few years, OnMilwaukee.com contributor and foodie Rick Rodriguez searched across Milwaukee in hopes of finding the best pizza. He's made a total of 11 trips to West Allis during his travels. These restaurants stood out as some of his best findings in the neighborhood; click on the link to see his review!
1119 S. 108th St., (414) 755-0341
Rick’s take: onmilwaukee.com/alphonsos
7030 W. Lincoln Ave., (414) 321-8600
Rick’s take: onmilwaukee.com/sofias
The Wing Challenge: Magoo’s versus TomKen’s
Last summer, members of the OnMilwaukee.com staff made the trek to the west side of Milwaukee to settle a burning question: Who has the better wings, Magoo’s or TomKen’s?
Magoo’s came out the favorite in this particular competition, but both places serve up some of the most appetizing best bird biceps in the Brew City. Grab a glass of your favorite local beer and dig in at either of these classic ‘Stallis bars.
8911 W. National Ave., (414) 329-1477
8001 W. Greenfield Ave., (414) 258-9110
Last spring, Bobby Tanzilo visited a quartet of West Allis wings places, including Magoo's and TomKen's, too. Read it here.
Bars are a little more situational for dates, but these are some the OnMilwaukee.com staff’s favorite West Allis bars and pubs. Maybe after a round of bowling at Beloit Lanes (see below), stop by one of these ‘Stallis taverns for some quick grub and a drink.
Binary: Games, Foods, Spirits.
9105 W. Lincoln Ave., (414) 321-2600
‘Stallis’s new kid on the block, Binary offers an excellent selection of local beers and micro-brews, but earns its spot on this date night list because of its wide range of board games. Come in, grab a seat and a drink with your date and play everything from Settlers of Catan to Zombie-Opoly. If board games aren’t your thing, it's got an arcade stocked with video games, air hockey and pool tables, as well.
7413 W. Greenfield Ave., (414) 453-9094
Something of a classic in the ‘Stallis Bar scene. If you and your date want to spend an evening with good beer from across the Wisconsin and the Midwest, Benno’s is your date night choice. It stocks a huge selection of micro brews supported by a solid menu of bar food and a personable staff.
7023 W. Adler St., (414) 475-6664
Something of a hole in the wall joint near I-94, this is a cozy bar with a couple of pool tables and a lively crowd. Like many of the bars on this list, it draws a different crowd than most Eastside bars, and this is its appeal. Come check out a distinctly ‘Stallis bar for your date night at Mortimer’s.
1503 S. 81st St., (414) 302-9688
Capt’n Nick’s’s claim to fame is its full round bar. Patrons can sit in a circle and enjoy the communal feel, but partners can still "do their own thing" and enjoy a private conversation. This may not be a first date get-to-know-you kind of place, but it’s definitely worth mentioning for couples looking for a cozy bar together.
8031 W. Greenfield Ave., (414) 257-2854
Paulie’s is a popular sports bar in West Allis equipped with a lunch buffet and full dinner menu. The patio looks out over Greenfield Avenue and State Fair Park, and is surprisingly peaceful and pleasant during the summer evening hours. Whether as a stop in a West Allis bar crawl or as a standalone evening out, take a moment to watch the sun set over ‘Stallis with your partner from this classic joint.
Paulie’s Field Trip
1430 S. 81st St., (414) 982-4977
Just around the corner from Paulie’s, Paulie’s Field Trip is designed to have the same feel as Wisconsin’s bars up north. It is meant to replicate some of a "townie" bar and aims at providing a very different experience from most ‘Stallis bars. OnMilwaukee’s Molly Snyder wrote a great article – that you can read, here – highlighting this peculiar bar in the West Allis neighborhood.
State Fair Inn
8101 W. Greenfield Ave., (414) 778-0760
Just across the street from State Fair Park, this bar has called West Allis its home for 93 years now. Whether you’re trying to grab a beer with your sweetheart after the State Fair or you’re trying to kick back and sip a beer away from the kids, give this longstanding Milwaukee bar a shot next time you paint the town red.
Bowling and more
Bowling has regional hubs where its popularity soars in the U.S. Milwaukee is one of those regional hubs, but even within Milwaukee, West Allis has traditionally been something of a hub within a hub. The last two lanes are slightly outside the West Allis borders, but are close enough to recommend as an addendum to your date night experience. Check out any of these bowling lanes below with your date. Just remember, you are mixing metaphors if you think you can strike out when you are rolling strikes.
8600 W. Greenfield Ave., (414) 774-2274
9150 W. Beloit Rd., (414) 541-6073
7505 W. Oklahoma Ave., (414) 321-5050
10928 W. Oklahoma Ave., (414) 545-8444
Try a throwback to high school in the '80s, and make your next date night "skate night." Incredi-Roll offers roller skating and laser tag fun for you and your amour to enjoy together.