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In Dining

Live music can enhance any dining experience. (PHOTO:

Live music on the menu at some area restaurants

Whether you're at a fancy restaurant or the corner cafe, live music just makes a dining experience better. Here are nine Milwaukee restaurants serving up more than just a great meal.

From traditional Irish or German music to acoustic sounds to classical piano to sawdust-on-the-floor county music, there's something here for every musical taste.

Bremen Cafe
901 E. Clarke St., (414) 431-1932
This Riverwest eatery and pub offers an eclectic line-up and great weekly specials. Featuring bluegrass, folk and indie music most Tuesdays and Wednesdays, bigger names perform on the weekends. Thursdays are your chance to shine during Open Mic Night (no cover, and sign-up at 9 p.m.).

Café LuLu
2265 S. Howell Ave., (414) 294-5858
The music plays every Saturday night beginning at 10:30 p.m. unless otherwise noted. For a full band listing, visit the cafe's website.

County Clare Irish Inn
1234 N. Astor St., (414) 272-5273
County Clare is a great bar but also has an expansive dining area with space for live musical performances. Traditional Irish music is played by some of Milwaukee's most popular bands on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.

Estabrook Beer Garden
4600 Estabrook Dr.
Recently named one of Huffington Post's "Top 10 Beer Gardens in the World," Estabrook Beer Gardens is always looking to extend the spirit of gemütlichkeit. The Polka Kings, former Violent Femmes keyboardist Sigmund Snopek, Ferd Buchel and others perform every Friday, Saturday and Sunday (weather permitting) until Nov. 11.

G-Daddy's BBC Bar & Grill
2022 E. North Ave., (414) 272-7263
On the weekends diners can usually find a live band performing on the restaurant's second level.

Mason Street Grill
425 E. Mason St., (414) 298-3131
Mason Street Grill in The Pfister Hotel offers live music six days a week. On Monday, Chicago pianist Joel Burt plays, while the jazzy pop standards of the Jamie Breiwick Group can be heard on Tuesday and Wednesday. Thursday features the Mark Thierfelder Jazz Trio, Friday is the Phil Seed Trio and the Jonathan Wade Trio performs on Saturday.

411 E. Mason St., (414) 272-1937
On Thursday evenings from 10 p.m. to midnight, Perspective Heights regales patrons with its funky acoustic reggae sound. On Saturday nights Jason Jensen takes the stage with an acoustic revue.

Red Rock Saloon
1225 N. Water St., (414) 431-0467
Every Friday night is a party at Red Rock Saloon, with local groups as well as nationally-recognized bands. Check the website for a complete line-up. And bring your dancing shoes.

Via Downer
2625 N. Downer Ave., (414) 501-4510
Every Monday night, Via Downer hosts free live music for all ages at 7:30 p.m. Plus, there's a half-price bottle of wine special all day. Free music and cheap wine – what's not to love?


hardgeminiguy | Nov. 3, 2012 at 6:12 p.m. (report)

Live music in restaurants SUCH as at Karl Ratzsch's on weekends is wonderful. However, there are exceptions as once i ate at Rock Bottom Cafe on the river downtown. We were enjoying our meal when, much to our surprise, a band came in and set up right next to our table. The music was extremely loud and ruined our stay. We could not hear each other talking without yelling. A terrible experience and we have never eaten there again. We should have been told but were not, that a band would be playing next to us.Then we would have left and gone to another restaurant. tHEN WE WOULD FOUND ANOTHER RESTAURANT. tRelated is the extremely loud canned music at Applebees Grand Avenue location. I asked the manager and our waiter to have the music turned down. Nothing happened even though both told us the music would be turned down. Enough is enough, i will not tolerate loud music ruining my dinner experience. Music in ANY RESTAURANT SHOULD BE BACK GROUND MUSIC AND NEVER LOUD.

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