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The Best Bars for Foodies in Milwaukee

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by The OpenTable Team
Updated February 26, 2020

Every one of the best bars in Milwaukee can trace its success to the breweries established back in the 1830s. Immigrants from 'drinking cultures' settled the area, and while nearly every community in Wisconsin had at least one brewery, Milwaukee had the largest in the world. But where do patrons with demanding taste buds choose to toss back a few? Welcome to our Tastemaker List. We’ve gathered data from thousands of bars and restaurants to find the places that OpenTable’s most experienced users love the most. Milwaukee is well-known for its butter burgers, cheese curds, and bratwurst, and it just so happens that all these foods go great with an ice-cold brew. Check out these popular spots and book a table today!

A photo of Oak Barrel Public House restaurant
4.3
4.3 (653)
$30 and under
Contemporary American
Milwaukee
About the restaurant
Located in the Downtown area, Oak Barrel Public House has worked hard to maintain its designation as one of the best bars in Milwaukee. This includes offering a shuttle bus to every Brewer game and to Summerfest events. It's also within walking distance to the Bucks arena. Those who don’t have tickets to games can watch live surrounded by whiskey barrels, exposed brick walls and vintage art. They also offer over two dozen styles of whiskey along with craft cocktails and the increasingly popular “beer cocktail.” This place somehow discovered just how great certain IPAs taste when combined with lemonade and bourbon.
Top review
cgadwright
Dined on Jun 27, 2024
Our waitress was always professional and also had a great sense of wit and humor. The four of us enjoyed dinner and libations before heading off to a concert. Would definitely return.
A photo of Johnny Manhattan's restaurant
4.7
4.7 (1514)
$31 to $50
Steakhouse
Menomonee Falls
About the restaurant
The oak wood ceiling, mounted deer head, vintage chandeliers and stone fireplace are not what make Johnny Manhattan’s one of the favorite bars of Milwaukee. They do create an aura, however, that perfectly complements many of the classic cocktails that guests enjoy. There are no worries for those with more contemporary tastes, though, because the bartender can make just about anything. What’s really impressive is the list of around 200 wines that the bar offers. Toss in the wide variety of pizzas and delicious entrees like seared carpaccio, shrimp cocktail or seasoned calamari, and guests get the best of all worlds.
Top review
ThomasB
Dined 2 days ago
Great place - prices are high (especially for the area) but the food backs it up. Note: the pizza and several menu items are not a pricy as the steaks are. The service is generally at a level you'd expect with the service and experience. Beautiful facility and well run from the customer experience level.
A photo of Motor at the Harley-Davidson Museum restaurant
4.1
4.1 (443)
$30 and under
American
Milwaukee
About the restaurant
A trip to the Harley-Davidson Museum simply wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the Motor Restaurant. The décor is exactly what one would expect: classic motorcycles, whiskey barrels, engine displays and vintage images of bikers from the past. They also have great food that includes wings, burgers, stuffed potatoes and sandwiches. It’s the variety of drinks available, though, that designate the Motor as one of the best bars in Milwaukee. There are around 20 whiskey and ryes available along with wine, beer, other spirits, cocktails and non-alcoholic offerings.
Top review
OpenTable Diner
Dined 3 days ago
This is a great place for a casual or business lunch or outing. Menu has a good variety, food is fairly prices and consistent quality of service and food. It's a staple.
A photo of East Town Kitchen & Bar restaurant
4.0
4 (504)
$31 to $50
American
Milwaukee
About the restaurant
Many bars claim that they'll eventually become the preferred downtown hot spot, but East Town Kitchen & Bar could actually pull it off. Their whiskey list is one of the best in the state, and they’ve got a variety of wine, cocktail, beer and locally brewed offerings. Happy Hour happens on the weekdays and lasts from 3 pm to 6 pm, so those who need a drink after work can still enjoy a great price at one of the best bars in Milwaukee. The décor is basic – only the archways and exposed brick particularly stand out. Fortunately, the food and alcohol menus speak for themselves.
Top review
Bbowshvip
Dined on Jun 17, 2024
Super expensive. Service was marginal. Food was very good for MKE. Prices rivaled gold coast chicago prices.
A photo of Five O'Clock Steakhouse restaurant
4.8
4.8 (4166)
$31 to $50
Steakhouse
Milwaukee
About the restaurant
It’s 5 o’clock somewhere, and in Wisconsin, ‘somewhere’ is the Five O’Clock Steakhouse. It’s often called Milwaukee’s best steakhouse, and with options like filet mignon, New York strip, porterhouse and lamb chops, this isn’t really surprising. With over 30 craft, import and domestic beers in addition to 60 wines and a variety of cocktails, it’s also easy to see why the establishment is considered one of the best bars in Milwaukee. Posh lighting, rustic décor and live music in the Alley Cat Lounge round out this experience.
Top review
OpenTable Diner
Dined on Jun 27, 2024
Our server, Eric was fabulous. The food was great and it was a great night out!
A photo of Stella Van Buren restaurant
4.4
4.4 (1209)
$31 to $50
American
Milwaukee
About the restaurant
The bourbon collection that lines the walls behind the bar is impressive, and this alone would throw Stella Van Buren into contention for the ‘Best Bar in Milwaukee’ title. Those who enjoy variety, though, will love the extensive beer list, cocktails, seasonal offerings and wines from around the world. Tuscany? Southern Italy? California? Oregon? Stella Van Buren has reds and whites from all these areas and more. Toss in the delicious offerings of an Italian American steakhouse, and this place is understandably a Wisconsin favorite.
Top review
MikeS
Dined 7 days ago
Great experience, delicious food and drinks, we had a blast
A photo of Butcher & Barrel Gastropub restaurant
4.7
4.7 (401)
$31 to $50
Steakhouse
Racine
About the restaurant
The wood paneling outside makes Butcher & Barrel Gastropub stand out among its neighbors. Its selection of drinks, however, makes it stand out from its contemporaries. Their signature cocktails include the Habanero Matador, California Old Fashioned, Harvest Sangria and Autumn in New York. They also have an extensive collection of pilsners, lagers, porters, stouts, ales and domestics. Guests get to enjoy fine dining in a pub atmosphere – complete with industrial lighting, exposed brick, mounted deer head and television behind the bar.
Top review
JohnDvip
Dined on Jun 15, 2024
Drove up to meet our son and his girlfriend and picked butcher & barrel Gastopub on a whim. Reviews looked good and the atmosphere fit the bill. We were not disappointed and will be back again!!!
A photo of Mason Street Grill restaurant
4.7
4.7 (3735)
$31 to $50
American
Milwaukee
About the restaurant
When asked what they enjoy most about Mason Street Grill, many people will mention sitting in the lounge – right where the wood-fired oven aroma and live jazz can tickle their senses – and enjoying a specialty cocktail. Drink selections include artistic options like the Five Fifteeni, Hope Floats, Widow's Kiss and Rhubarb Daiquiri. Those who prefer an ice-cold beer also won’t be let down since there are over two dozen bottled options and several drafts available. Even as one of the best bars in Milwaukee, though, guests are still treated to a fine dining atmosphere.
Top review
Tomeavvip
Dined 6 days ago
Wonderful food, service, and entertainment. Consistently a good experience.
A photo of Harry's Bar and Grill restaurant
4.5
4.5 (676)
$30 and under
American
Milwaukee
About the restaurant
Just a short distance from Lake Michigan – and sporting an outdoor deck that would fit in perfectly at the lake – Harry’s Bar and Grill is a popular bar in Milwaukee’s east side. The décor is contemporary and chic, and the food menu is modern America at its finest. Those who are focused on a great drink, however, will adore the alcohol selection. There are a variety of wines and beers to go around - including macro brews - but everyone should try out a few of the cocktails. The Dirty Harry, Pear Smash, Shorewood Collins and Vanilla Cosmo have remained consistently popular over the years.
Top review
OpenTable Diner
Dined 1 day ago
I love this place and the bartender DAndre my fav only come when he’s working Morgan my fav all the server are great I’ll be back agian soon
A photo of Champps Americana - Brookfield restaurant
4.6
4.6 (383)
$30 and under
American
Brookfield
About the restaurant
Frequently referred to as the city's 'craft beer mecca,' Champps Americana is a sports-themed casual restaurant that puts a heavy focus on live sporting events. Like any Bucks or Packers fan, the owners believe the best bars in Milwaukee need to have a way to watch the games. With televisions placed just about anywhere there’s free wall space, Champps pulls this off. They offer classic bar foods such as hot dogs, pretzels, chicken tenders, nachos and burgers. Add this to the beer, martinis, wine and specialty cocktails like The Smackdown, and guests have a great time waiting for them.
Top review
OpenTable Dinervip
Dined 1 day ago
The food was good, but the ice tea ice flavorless
A photo of Carson's Prime Steaks & Famous Barbecue - Milwaukee restaurant
4.6
4.6 (1602)
$30 and under
Barbecue
Milwaukee
About the restaurant
Everyone knows that barbecue and beer go great together, and this is the driving force behind the popularity of Carson’s Prime Steaks & Famous Barbecue. It’s located in the luxurious Moderne high rise, and it fits in well here thanks to the sleek white seating, marble-style bar, impressive lighting and variety of photographic art featured on the walls. Being in such a fine dining atmosphere should never stop guests from enjoying a beer or delicious cocktail such as the Lisa Lisa or Moderne. It may be called America’s No. 1 barbecue, but it’s no doubt still one of the best bars in Milwaukee.
Top review
OpenTable Diner
Dined on Jul 2, 2024
Amazing service and even better food. Highly recommend
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