15 Best Bars in Milwaukee You Must Visit

best bars in Milwaukee

Milwaukee’s diverse and inviting bar scene has long been hailed as one of the city’s best attractions. The city’s rich brewing history provides an eclectic mix of establishments, where beer aficionados and cocktail connoisseurs alike can find something to pique their interest. 

This guide explores some of the best bars in Milwaukee, where old-world charm meets modern innovation, and every bar stool has a story to tell.

15 Top Bars in Milwaukee You Must Visit

1. The SafeHouse Restaurant with Bar

The SafeHouse restaurant

By Safehouse

“Shaken, not stirred” takes on a whole new meaning at The SafeHouse, a legendary spy-themed bar hearkening back to the days of the Cold War. If you’re looking for the best bars in Milwaukee downtown, add this one to your list!

The SafeHouse takes its espionage theme seriously with fun menu items like “Spy’s Demise” and “Agent’s Handshake”. The food menu isn’t to be overlooked either, with cunningly named dishes like the “Covert Quesadilla” and the “Undercover Cheese Curds”.

Here, every visit is an adventure! There’s a secret entrance, password checks, and missions to complete. The SafeHouse hosts a “spy-social” interactive magicians’ night every Wednesday, giving patrons a welcome escape from reality. 

2. The Holler House

The Holler House

By Local Guide Tom

A neighborhood joint if there ever was one, The Holler House is renowned for housing the oldest certified bowling lanes in the nation.

You’ll find a solid selection of local brews on tap, alongside classic Wisconsin pub fare that will stick to your ribs.

Did I mention the bras? Yes, you read right. A ceiling covered in bras from visitors over the years adds to the unique ambiance in one of the coolest bars in Milwaukee.

3. Wolski’s Tavern fun bar

Wolski's Tavern

By Local Guide Scott Detweiler

Speaking of local institutions, we can’t miss out on the famous dive bars in Milwaukee.

From traditional tipples to creative cocktails, Wolski’s has got you covered. For the hardcore, there’s a shot of Jeppson’s Malört waiting!

The close-knit community vibe at Wolski’s is a huge draw for patrons, and their regular trivia nights and Packers’ games viewing parties are always a blast.

4. Raised Grain Brewing Company

Raised Grain Brewing Company

By Local Guide Joan M

A hop, skip, and an Uber ride away, the Raised Grain Brewing Company serves up a taste of the craft revolution. 

Boasting a wide selection of in-house brews, from lagers to IPAs, stouts to sours, there’s a beer here for every palette.

The brewery often hosts live music events and has a summer pop-up beer garden in Waukesha County parks!

5. Good City Brewing Rooftop Bar

Good City Brewing

A trip to Good City Brewing is yet another testament to the rich brewing culture of all the fun bars in Milwaukee.

Savour their award-winning brews like “Motto” or “Reward”, and don’t forget to pair them with some scrumptious grub from their eclectic, locally sourced menu.

This was our favorite among the top rooftop bars in Milwaukee. They have their rooftop patio open during summer months for events like the Lakefront Firework viewing party. And for sports fans, their location near Fiserv Forum, home of the Bucks, makes it an ideal pre-game or post-game hub.

6. MobCraft Brewery and Taproom

MobCraft Brewery and Taproom

By Local Guide JC

Customization meets concoction at MobCraft Brewery and Taproom, a crowd-sourced brewing hotspot. If you’re looking to drink at some cool bars in Milwaukee, you should definitely stop by.

MobCraft turns the traditional brewing process on its head. Patrons get to submit and vote for their favorite flavors, and the winning ideas are then brewed and served.

Try unique brews such as “Wheat Men Can’t Jump” or the “Bat$hit Crazy Coffee Brown Ale.”

The Taproom is host to myriad events, including comedy nights, yoga classes, and a monthly bottle club soiree, turning every visit into a delightful surprise.

You figure now’s a great time for a quick pee break, eh? I won’t blame you – we’re only halfway, folks! And, let’s be honest, we all have the bladder of a kitten when it comes to bar-hopping. 

7. The Harp Irish Pub Dive Bar

The Harp Irish Pub

By Local Guide aschleigh jensen

Back? Great let’s carry on. Nestled on a slice of Milwaukee’s riveting riverfront, The Harp lures patrons with its enchanting Irish charm. This one takes the top spot among the best dive bars in Milwaukee.

Think traditional Irish fare meets American classics. Signature pours include a variety of stouts, lagers, and the quintessential Guinness.

Summers at The Harp are exceptional, with their riverside patio hosting live music. In true Irish fashion, they also celebrate St. Patrick’s Day like no one’s business.

8. Harbor House coolest bar

Harbor House

By Local Guide Andrew Bellamy

Riding the crest of Milwaukee’s stunning Marina, Harbor House is a seafood lover’s paradise.

With an exquisite display of fresh seafood, oysters, and lobsters, paired with champagne or their famous bloody mary, Harbor House is a must-visit.

The annual “Lobster Boil” and the waterfront view from the patio offer experiences that other bars simply can’t replicate.

9. Milwaukee Ale House

Milwaukee Ale House

By Milwaukee Ale House Grafton

The Milwaukee Ale House has been a fixture on the local beer scene since 1997.

With its authentic craft beers, fabulous pub food, and riverfront location, this historic establishment is a microcosm of the city.

Among the events, their summer concert series “Live at the Lake” has garnered a massive following over the years.

10. Bryant’s Cocktail Lounge

Bryant’s Cocktail Lounge

Stepping into Bryant’s is like stepping into another era.

Bryant’s has no menu; you just tell the bartenders what you like and voila! You get a custom cocktail crafted just for you.

Bryant’s patrons are bathed in the warm glow of the vintage fixtures, red velvet walls, and old-world charm.

11. The Jazz Estate

The Jazz Estate

The Jazz Estate is the perfect place to immerse yourself in cool tunes and even cooler cocktails.

Live music, including local and touring jazz musicians, coupled with creatively curated cocktails, gives it an undeniable charm.

The sophisticated yet relaxed decor invokes a mid-century feel that complements the smooth tunes wafting through the air.

12. NOLO Unique Bar

Located in Milwaukee’s Walker’s Point neighborhood, NOLO radiates a youthful, vibrant energy making it one of the most unique bars in Milwaukee.

With offerings from comfort food to eclectic small plates, along with an impressive selection of cocktails, beers, and wines, NOLO has something for everyone. 

NOLO takes it up a notch by hosting DJ nights and pairing beats with beverages to create a lively ambiance.

13. Landmark 1850 Inn Vintage Bar

Landmark 1850 Inn

By Local Guide Ilkka Tamminen

An intriguing step into the past, the Landmark 1850 Inn is Milwaukee’s oldest bar. For people who are looking for something authentic, this is one of the top bars in Milwaukee.

The Inn’s laid-back vibe draws a diverse crowd, and its traditional lagers and lip-smacking snacks have made it a neighborhood favorite.

Keep an eye out for events like the annual beer gardens and live music on weekends!

14. Hooligan’s Super Bar

Hooligan’s Super Bar

By Local Guide Kimberly Nelson

North of downtown, in Milwaukee’s eclectic East Side, sits Hooligan’s Super Bar.

Their motto of “Never a Bummer at Hooligan’s” perfectly encapsulates the lively, friendly vibe this establishment exudes.

The locally brewed beer variety is staggering, and the food, from bangers and mash to burgers and fries, is hearty and comforting.

Hooligan’s hosts one of the best St. Patty’s Day events in town, but the real magic lies in the everyday shared camaraderie among patrons.

15. Roman’s Pub

Roman's Pub

By Local Guide Mark Kline

Last but not least, Roman’s Pub has gained a reputation as a beer paradise in Bay View. This became my top pick among the best bars in Milwaukee 2022. 

Roman’s selection of 33 draughts rotates regularly to ensure there’s always something new to taste.

With a spacious patio and myriad enchanting stories shared by the owner, an evening here feels like being part of a lovely, boozy family.

Our Final Words

The best bars in Milwaukee are as diverse as it is dynamic. From century-old institutions to innovative taprooms, the city offers a unique blend of history, novelty, and unpretentious camaraderie.

Each bar offers something unique, whether it’s the chance to become a spy for an evening, the prospect of crowd-sourcing your own beer, or the opportunity to throw caution to the wind and surrender your cocktail choice to a craftsman behind the bar.

Without question, the Cream City continues to earn its laurels as a haven for thirsty travelers. Here, every drink tells a story and every barstool is an invitation to make some memories. So here’s to Milwaukee, a city where beer isn’t just a beverage — it’s an experience. Cheers!