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In the Milwaukee area, it seems there’s a bar for just about anyone – from casual sports bars and dives to rooftop cocktail bars and everything in between.
That includes an ever-evolving collection of boutique wine shops and wine bars, each offering their own distinctive atmosphere and curated selection of wines to enjoy, whether by the flight, glass or bottle.
Whether you’re looking for a spot in your neighborhood to grab a glass (or bottle to enjoy at home)?, or would like to venture out and discover a brand new hang, we’ve got you covered with this list of some of our favorites.
If you're headed out, please double check to see how places have adapted to the pandemic and follow their COVID protocols accordingly. Be safe, be considerate – and cheers!
Charles E. Fromage
5811 W. Vliet St., (414) 305-1458
Charles E. Fromage might be the smallest wine bar of the bunch, but that doesn’t make it any less fun. Created to be a casual spot to relish a glass of wine, enjoy a nosh and engage in great conversation, this cozy gem operates with no pretense. Reservations are required, as there are only six socially distanced seats. But, folks can also enjoy the quaint patio whenever the weather permits. Guests can also order wine and snacks online for pick-up.
Corvina Wine Co.
6038 W Lincoln Ave, (414) 546-3407
This West Allis gem features a beautifully appointed retail shop, featuring a broad selection of worldly wines. For guests that would like to taste before they buy, Corvina’s wine bar offers wines by the glass, bottles to enjoy with friends and a small menu of snacks to enjoy alongside. As the weather warms, guests can also enjoy wine on Corvina’s lovely patio.
Crush Wine Bar
378 W Main St, Waukesha, (262) 409-841
W168 S7392, Parkland Dr, Muskego, (262) 527-4613
Neon green accents set off the environment at this modern retailer and wine bar in Downtown Waukesha. Discover something new with one of their wine flights or enjoy a full pour. Over 30 wines are available by the glass, with more by the bottle. Food pairings, including chocolates, flatbreads and more are also available.
NonFiction Natural Wines
800 E Potter Ave., (414) 763-6300
This Bay View gem might not offer a wine bar; but the retail shop is (thus far) the only in the area dedicated to natural wines (produced by conscientious wine-makers with minimal intervention). Not familiar with the natural wine scene? Owners Allison and Bradley Kruse are happy to spill their wealth of knowledge and find you a wine (or three) you’ll adore. Before you go, learn more about NonFiction and natural wines in this episode of the FoodCrush podcast.
Scout Wine Merchants
4512 N. Oakland Ave., Shorewood, (414) 252-0072
This vibrant new wine and spirits shop boasts a lounge (complete with a fireplace and an eye-catching mural of Aretha Franklin), a “speakeasy” style tasting room where you can sample a curated selection of wines from around the globe (while enjoying one of their snack boards), along with a specialty food shop where you can pick up meats, cheeses and a variety of wine and beer-adjacent items.
Spring City Wine House
336 W. Main St., Waukesha, (262) 232-8296
Head to this low key wine bar to sample wines from around the world while exploring the art of pairing with a selection of cheeses, charcuterie and chocolate. Order by the glass, bottle, or serve yourself from state of the art wine stations.
The Ruby Tap
1341 N. Wauwatosa Ave., Wauwatosa, (414) 456-1300
6000 W. Mequon Rd., Mequon, (262) 302-4112
Relax and enjoy at this neighborhood neighborhood wine bar featuring self-serve wine machines, tap wines and both bottles and growlers to purchase and enjoy at home. Pair your wine selections with any number of snacks, including their popular truffle popcorn. Online ordering and curbside pick-up are also currently available.
Milwaukee Public Market
400 N. Water St., (414) 277-7707
Take a seat and discover something new from their ever-changing wine bar menu or settle in with an old favorite at Thief Wine, a well-appointed respite in the Milwaukee Public Market. Their retail shop is also a great place to stock up on great wines; their selection includes over 700 distinctive (and often eclectic) wines from around the world.
N72 W13400 Lund Ln., Menomonee Falls, (262) 735-7823
Modern meets rustic at this well appointed retail shop with a prominent lounge which boasts a regular menu of 13 wines by the glass and 24 tap brews. Friendly knowledgeable staff can help you find a new favorite to try or a bottle to purchase from the shop. As the weather warms, you also have the option to enjoy your beverages out of doors in their wine and beer garden.
120 E. Wisconsin Ave., Oconomowoc, (262) 244-7019
Is it a wine bar? A corner tavern? A storefront? Vino Etcetera is all three. You'll find wines from around the world, craft beers and over 200 bourbons. Relax in one of the lower level seating areas or enjoy the lakeside view from the patio. There’s also live music to enjoy on weekends.
Vino Third Ward
219 E. Erie St., (414) 277-8466
Sample a glass or explore with a flight at this convivial wine bar and retail shop in the Historic Third Ward. Vino boasts a selection of nearly 300 wines, many of which are $20 or less, plus craft beers, spirits and cocktails for non-wine drinkers. You can also select from a menu of artisan cheeses to accompany your beverage. You can also peruse and purchase wines online for pick-up.
5690 Broad St., Greendale, (414) 235-8125
Stop by and enjoy a glass of wine and a small bite at this well-appointed gem located in Historic Downtown Greendale. Specializing in old world, limited production and wines made with minimal intervention, Vintage 38 is a great spot to discover new eclectic wines. They’ve also made it easy for customers with contactless check-out in the wine bar using the CashDrop app and QR codes at each table (guests can also order bottles online for pick-up). Come April 1 and guests can also enjoy outdoor seating on the Vintage 38 patio.
422 E. Lincoln Ave., (414) 239-8254
In a pandemic pivot, what began as a spirited wine and cocktail bar has evolved to become a destination stop for not only an eclectic collection of minimal intervention wines from across the globe, but also an amazing selection of accoutrements from artisan cheese, cured meats and snacks to seasonal cocktails (and cocktail kits) and beer. Guests can stop in and browse or place an order online for pick-up. Watch for outdoor seating opportunities and patio drinking specials as the weather warms. Before you go, learn more about Voyager in this episode of the FoodCrush podcast.
Lori is an avid cook whose accrual of condiments and spices is rivaled only by her cookbook collection. Her passion for the culinary industry was birthed while balancing A&W root beer mugs as a teenage carhop, fed by insatiable curiosity and fueled by the people whose stories entwine with each and every dish. She’s had the privilege of chronicling these tales via numerous media, including OnMilwaukee and in her book “Milwaukee Food.” Her work has garnered journalism awards from entities including the Milwaukee Press Club.
When she’s not eating, photographing food, writing or recording the FoodCrush podcast, you’ll find Lori seeking out adventures with her husband Paul, traveling, cooking, reading, learning, snuggling with her cats and looking for ways to make a difference.