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The 5 Best Bars in Milwaukee

Updated on July 4, 2011

I Present to you, the 5 Best Bars in Milwaukee

Known as “The Brew City” for its many breweries (a.k.a. alcohol factories), Milwaukee also has an amazing selection of bars where you can enjoy a beer or cocktail, live music, events and an evening with friends, family or coworkers. After all, it stands to reason there would be somewhere to drink all that delicious beer once it leaves the assembly line.

So drink it you shall! "But, where?" you ask.

Well, If you ask me (a self-proclaimed beer connoisseur and nightlife extraordinaire), you can't really go wrong when there is beer involved, but these are some of The 5 Best Bars in Milwaukee to enjoy a cold one during your next visit to the City that Beer built:

Live It Up At Lucille's!

Lucille's Makes the List of Best Bars in Milwaukee
Lucille's Makes the List of Best Bars in Milwaukee

5) Lucille's Rockin' Pianos

Address: 1110 N. Old World Third Street

The Piano Man, Billy Joel, once said, “If you want to go to the best bar in Milwaukee for a fun atmosphere and entertaining live music, Lucille’s Rockin’ Pianos is a must!” No. Not really. But he probably would after an evening with his fancy friends at the now famous Milwaukee piano bar.

Front stage and center in the bar are two well-lit grand pianos with talented entertainers “dueling” while playing classic rock requests, telling jokes and creating one of the more vivid, vivacious and vibrant atmospheres you’ll ever experience.

It won’t be long before you’ve taken a seat, ordered a drink and find yourself clapping, tapping your toes to the beat and breaking out into song with your fellow patrons. “Sweet Caroline, bum bum bum …” You can even dance if you want to, or leave your friends behind if they don’t.

There is almost no classic rock song the pianists don’t know and no extent they won’t go to to get a laugh. Be careful, or you might find yourself on the stage as a star of a musical roast.

When it comes to having fun with friends at a Milwaukee bar, Lucille’s Rockin’ Pianos hits all the right notes.

The Safe House Decor

The Safe House is Secure on the List of Best Bars in Milwaukee
The Safe House is Secure on the List of Best Bars in Milwaukee | Source

4) The Safe House

Address: 779 N. Front Street

A mix of entertainment, espionage and intrigue, The Safe House is an experience you won’t find at any other bar in Milwaukee, that is, if you’re able to find it at all.

Secretly located behind the International Exports, Ltd. Building, The Safe House requires you to provide the password or perform a series of charades in order to prove your allegiance and receive admittance. Prepare to embarrass yourself via hidden cameras fed to monitors located throughout the bar if you don’t know the password, but trust me, it will be more than worth your while.

Once inside, you’ll be blown away by the amount of hidden passages, gadgets, trick doors and booby traps located throughout the bar. Almost every nook and cranny in The Safe House is filled with surprises and one visit won’t be enough to find them all.

James Bond fans will feel at home with a myriad of posters and memorabilia from the films covering the walls and décor, not to mention the menu’s Bond’s Bomb dessert and martinis served shaken, not stirred.

After the evening has ended, make sure to gather your comrades and escape The Safe House via the secret exit located in a phone booth.

This Milwaukee bar review is set to self-destruct in 3, 2, 1 …

Milwaukee Bar Poll:

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3) The Wicked Hop

Address: 345 N. Broadway Street

Another happening hot spot in the Third Ward, The Wicked Hop is a Milwaukee bar as cool as the other side of Jack Nicholson’s pillow. Now, that’s cool!

Split down the middle, The Wicked Hop features a restaurant and traditional bar setup on one half and a swanky nightclub known as The Jackalope Lounj on the other, where DJs, bands and musicians perform throughout the week.

After a night of hanging with your homies and homettes in the Jackalope Lounj, you’ll want to return the next morning for one of The Wicked Hop’s signature Bloody Marys. Voted the best in Milwaukee, this Bloody Mary is like Nicole Kidman … To Die For . It has beef, shrimp, cheese, mushrooms and more ingredients than a Pizza Hut Meat Lovers pizza.

If you think you have what it takes, gather your gang and try the Glass Slipper on for size (96.628-ounces of the infamous Bloody Mary served in a German glass boot).

So, when scoping out Milwaukee bars, make sure to bring your buddies and have a Bloody at The Wicked Hop.

2) The Bomb Shelter

Address: 1517 S. 2nd Street

The Bomb Shelter blasted onto the Milwaukee bar scene with one of the best beer selections ever known to man. Voted the best in Milwaukee, the beer list currently features 344 different local, domestic and import brews to choose from. No matter what beer you prefer, The Bomb Shelter is sure to have the cure for what ales you! Pun intended.

By joining the Suds Club, you’ll be invited to a beer tasting every Wednesday night where you can try up to eight different beers off of the massive list while Whispering Jeff drops 62 years of brewing history and knowledge on you.

Other events include live music, DJs, chili cook-offs and Green Bay Packer game-day specials perfect for rooting on the Green and Gold on Sunday.

Locals love The Bomb Shelter for its Milwaukee flair, with Pabst Blue Ribbon, Schlitz, Miller and Blatz memorabilia displayed throughout the bar as well as plenty of Milwaukee Brewers photos, bubbleheads and team paraphernalia.

With classic tavern games, including darts, pool, pinball and beer pong, there is never a dull moment at this Milwaukee bar.

Strap on your blast-resistant suit, ala The Hurt Locker , and head down to The Bomb Shelter for an explosive evening of entertainment ASAP.

The Milwaukee Ale House: The Best of The Best

The Best Bar in Milwaukee
The Best Bar in Milwaukee | Source

1) The Milwaukee Ale House

Address: 233 N. Water Street

Located in Milwaukee’s vibrant Third Ward, The Milwaukee Ale House is half restaurant, half bar, half brewery and 100% awesome! Their beer list showcases 10 to 15 of some of the best house-brewed beers you’ll ever imbibe, including lagers, ambers, porters and various seasonal ales throughout the year.

Every night of the week features either a food or drink special or live music or events, with some of Milwaukee’s best local music talent making regular appearances. In my humble opinion, it doesn’t get much better than trivia from The Quizmaster on Monday nights and $2.50 pints until 10 PM. Talk about a stimulus package!

During the warmer Wisconsin months, patrons can enjoy their meals and drinks with Mother Nature on the bar’s expansive deck and patio overlooking the nearby Milwaukee River.

For a great time, even better beer and a unique Milwaukee bar atmosphere, it’s hard to beat The Milwaukee Ale House.

Click here to see the rest of the 10 Best Milwaukee Bars

Check out these hubs for more great Milwaukee and Wisconsin activities:

10 Reasons to Visit Milwaukee, 5 Fun things to do in Milwaukee, Top 10 Things to Do in Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin

Find the 5 Best Bars in Milwaukee:

show route and directions
A markerThe Milwaukee Ale House -
233 N Water St, Milwaukee, WI 53202, USA
get directions

The Milwaukee Ale House, Milwaukee's #1 Bar

B markerThe Bomb Shelter -
1517 S 2nd St, Milwaukee, WI 53204, USA
get directions

The Bomb Shelter, The Best Beer Selection in Milwaukee

C markerThe Wicked Hop -
345 N Broadway St, Milwaukee, WI 53202, USA
get directions

The Wicked Hop, The Best Bloody Mary in Milwaukee

D markerThe Safe House -
779 N Front St, Milwaukee, WI 53202, USA
get directions

The Safe House, The Secret is Out!

E markerLucille's Rockin' Pianos -
1110 N Old World 3rd St, Milwaukee, WI 53203, USA
get directions

Lucille's Rockin' Pianos, The #5 Best Bar in Milwaukee


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    • profile image

      Woodchip 5 years ago

      Love Von Trier's! Been there many times. Now owned by Hooligan's but still great!

    • SantaCruz profile image

      SantaCruz 5 years ago from Santa Cruz, CA

      Someone needs to remove that spam. :-(

    • profile image

      torres-an 5 years ago

      Nicely done! Is Von Trier's still around? I'd recommend that place too. It has a sociable outdoor area & good local weiss beers on tap. As I remember it's cobblestoney and feels old-world.

    • SantaCruz profile image

      SantaCruz 5 years ago from Santa Cruz, CA

      Nicely done! Is Von Trier's still around? I'd recommend that place too. It has a sociable outdoor area & good local weiss beers on tap. As I remember it's cobblestoney and feels old-world.

    • profile image

      Jack 6 years ago

      I have been to all of the five bars and really had a blast at all of them!! I also went to a bar in cudahy and could not believe how fun this place was they have live bands on Saturdays and karaokee on Tuesday's and Friday and some days a DJ, Very clean too! I guess it was called the Stone Fox in the day. Now it is called the Grid Iron 3800 E. Layton Ave.

    • profile image

      Donny Wapella 6 years ago

      I've been to this bar. It is definitely worth going to and it is without a doubt one of the Top 5 bars in Milwaukee. If you haven't been there, you need to go. If you have, you need to get back and bring a few friends with you.

    • bogerk profile image

      bogerk 7 years ago from Midwest

      J Sunhawk - Thank you! It's easy to be peppy when writing about Milwaukee, beer or places to drink beer. (I like beer)

    • J Sunhawk profile image

      J Sunhawk 7 years ago from South Carolina

      Good, peppy writing. Thumbs up from me.