I knew Milwaukee had great beers but what I had forgotten to think about was the venues themselves. A great beer is a great beer but without a good atmosphere, it can’t be enjoyed as much. Often when we think of something that tastes good, we correlate to where we had it. So if you’re looking to drink great beers and cocktails and enjoy it in a fun and cool atmosphere, keep reading below.
Drinking in Milwaukee is surprisingly inexpensive so don’t be afraid to check these places out.
The Safe House
To enter this bar, you must know the secret code. If you do not know the secret code, you will have to pass a test to enter. Passing the test is pretty great but I won’t spoil it for you. Just remember that you’re always being watched the minute you enter through those doors. The Safe House is a spy-themed bar and restaurant. It’s one of the most unique bars I’ve ever been to and probably one of my favorites. Each room has a different spy-themed room each with tables and bars. It’s a very big place and discovering it is kind of like an amusement park. One of my favorite bars is in the way back called the Newsroom where it contains the signatures on the wall of many of the most popular journalists in the world and many past US presidents. It’s one thing having decor of spy related pictures and items but it’s another when they actually get into the theme and character. All of the staff takes their job super serious and really gets into their characters. Don’t tell anyone but the address is 779 N. Front Street.
The Iron Horse Hotel
The Iron Horse Hotel used to be a 100-year-old warehouse. It’s now been transformed into a very fancy boutique hotel while keeping the old-fashioned look. On a quick glance, the bars doesn’t seem too different but if you pay attention to the details of everything from the different chairs, tables, mirrors, and things hanging from the ceiling, you’ll notice that this hotel is very unique. The outdoor patio is comfortable with plenty of shade. It has a cool vibe during the summer. They have an indoor bar as well with vintage modern décor. Pay attention to all the details of the bar as everything there is old and restored, even the chairs. If you’re looking for a classic Milwaukee drink, order the Old Fashion cocktail at this bar. Their Old Fashioned is made with their own limited-edition Barrel 1907 whiskey and Amarena cherries and costs $10 for a drink. They make it really well so I highly recommend it and just one of these drinks you’ll be feeling it. Located at 500 West Florida Street in Milwaukee.
Great Lakes Distillery
Great Lakes Distillery makes a limited supply of hand-craft distilled spirits. They offer tours and tastings for only $7 so it’s a pretty good bargain. My favorite was the Kinnickinnic Whiskey. Located at 616 W. Virginia St in Milwaukee.
If you’re looking for good Milwaukee beer, you need to check out Lakefront Brewery. Upon entering you’re automatically given four casino like chips that include four 6oz beers of your choice. My favorites were the Fixed Gear Amber/Red Ale, IPA, and definitely the Wisconsinite. The organic and gluten-free beers were also tasty. The tour takes you in on how they make the beer and some facts about making beer. What made the tour really memorable was the tour guide. He had the most awkward and inappropriate jokes I’ve ever heard come out of a tour guide and it was awesome. He had a crazy amount of energy that was difficult to keep up with. There’s a couple quiz questions and games that award you with more beer too. At the end of the tour, they give you a free pint glass to take home. Be prepared for a few laughs and come in with a smile.
All this for $7… The best deal in all of Milwaukee.
Bryant’s Cocktail Lounge
Open since 1938, Bryant’s Cocktail Lounge is Milwaukee’s Oldest Cocktail Lounge. They serve over 450 cocktails so you’d think they would have a giant menu, right? Wrong. In fact they don’t have a menu at all. You tell the bartender what kind of mood you’re in and they’ll get you drink based on that. Just tell them what you usually like and they’ll think of something unique. Do NOT go in here ordering the familiar. Be more adventurous. The bartenders are artists so trust them.
The atmosphere has a dark, sexy, and romantic vibe to it. I envisioned this is the kind of place Don Draper from Mad Men would go to to have an affair. From the outside it looks like a regular house and it’s even located in a residential area.
Drinks were $7 to around $10. Again, another crazy bargain for how large the cocktail drinks were. After two drinks I felt pretty tipsy.
Located at 1579 S. 9th Street in Milwaukee.
[disclosure]I visited Milwaukee as part of a paid media trip by the tourism board of Milwaukee in exchange for coverage. All opinions are my own. I also happily consumed many drinks to bring you this story. You’re welcome. [/disclosure]