In Bars & Clubs

Downtown bar guide

Note: The contents of this guide were checked for accuracy when this article was updated on July 11, 2000 at 5:03 a.m. We continually update the thousands of articles on, but it's possible some details, specials and offers may have changed. As always, we recommend you call first if you have specific questions for the businesses mentioned in the guide.

Downtown is the center of it all. It's where it all happens. But, many Milwaukeeans have the perception that downtown shuts down at 6 o'clock, when the office workers flee for the neighborhoods and suburbs. Not true! Our city center has a wealth of night spots that are fun, exciting and interesting. Here are a few of them.

Bar Louie
1114 N. Water St., (414) 847-1492
This may be a national franchise, but that doesn't mean its downtown location isn't all Milwaukee. The perfect spot for late-night dining, this restaurant/bar is also great for a night out with a group - especially on Tuesdays, when burgers are $1 from 5 p.m. to close.

Bar None
1139 N. Water St., (414) 226-6969
Not only does Bar none have a great Water Street location, they also claim to host the "Best-Looking Crowd in Town." We can't attest to that, but they do have awesome weekly specials and a killer happy hour.

The Pfister Hotel, 424 E. Wisconsin Ave., (414) 298-3196
Perched atop The Pfister Hotel, this hot Milwaukee nightspot offers some of the best views of the city. Sample wine from its exclusive wine flights, sip lavish cocktails and enjoy the beauty that is Blu. A wonderful place for a drink before or after your night on the town.

1213 N. Water St., (414) 224-1690
Features American fare grilled food and a wide variety of alcoholic beverages.

Buck Bradley's
1019 N. Old World 3rd St., (414) 224-8500
Featuring the city's longest bar, Buck Bradley's is a solid choice for before or after a Bradley Center event. Features casual dining and a sports bar on the second floor.

Buckhead Saloon
1044 N. Old World 3rd St., (414) 290-0233
Casual yet classy, Buckhead brings a touch of Aspen to Milwaukee. Provides live music or djs most nights.

Buckley's Restaurant and Bar
801 N. Cass St., (414) 277-1111
Sure, it's a restaurant - but this is Milwaukee, so of course their bar is up to snuff. Featuring a varying selection libations, their wine list is especially impressive (and on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, bottles are half-priced). They've also got a great offering of Wisconsin brews, Micro brews, and cocktails.

Calderone Pub
322 W. State St., (414) 273-3236
The relatively new Calderone Pub offers an extensive menu of both sandwiches and beverages.

Elsa's on the Park
833 N. Jefferson St., (414) 765-0615
Located in Milwaukee's picturesque Cathedral Park area, Elsa's is the brainchild of the famous Kopp family and one of the city's coolest restaurants. Casual, yet extremely hip -- Elsa's features half-pound sirloin burgers, pork chop sandwiches, buffalo wings and amazing martinis. Check it out before or after a Milwaukee Bucks game. Rumor has it, it is a favorite of many of the players.

718 N. Milwaukee St., (414) 347-5555
The atmosphere takes on a new personality on weekend nights as noise levels double and the social scene picks up, turning an elegant dining room into a full-scale nightclub.

Euro Bar
324 E. Mason St., (414) 221-0222

Specializes in coffee drinks and martinis, and offers about a dozen dessert varieties.

Flannery's Bar and Restaurant
425 E. Wells St., (414) 278-8586
Flannery's features a warm, friendly atmosphere of a traditional Irish pub. They proudly serve a host of Wisconsin made beers, wines from around the world and frothy pints of Guinness Stout. Lunches, dinners and soups served from 11:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.

Jim's Time Out
746 N. 7th St., (414) 276-9610

Last but most definitely not least, is Jim's Time Out. A Downtown treasure, Jim's is the kind of low-key, neighborhood tap that could once be found everywhere in the city. If you like smoky, intimate, no-nonsense watering holes, Jim's is the place for you. Its charms are especially evident now that they are hidden in a shadow by the modern Humphrey IMAX Dome Theater.

John Hawks Pub
100 E. Wisconsin Ave. (414) 272-3199
This expansive subterranean British-themed pub is warm and cozy in the winter. In summer, sit by the river and choose from a wide variety of sandwiches, soups and daily specials.

Lucille's Rockin Pianos
1110 N. Old World 3rd St. (414) 225-0304

A popular spot to watch pianos duel or to indulge in karaoke -- for those who are into this sort of thing. The dueling pianos are quite a site with two musicians alternately egging each other on, duking it out and supporting one another.

Major Goolsby's
340 W. Kilbourn Ave., (414) 271-3414
Across the street from the US Cellular Arena and just a block away from the Bradley Center, this is a classic Milwaukee establishment to eat, drink and cheer on your favorite team.

1135 N. Water St., (414) 278-8888
A classic Milwaukee watering hole, in the heart of the Water Street strip. You'll love their daily happy hour and weekly specials like Whiskey Wednesday and Team Trivia Tuesdays.

811 N Jefferson St., (414) 273-5397

Right on Cathedral Square, Mikey's specializes in comfort food with a twist; portioning plates to be shared with friends. In the summer, outdoor seating right on the square is an upfront spot to view Jazz in the Park.

Miller Time Pub
509 W. Wisconsin Ave., (414) 271-2337
Located inside the Hilton, the name says it all. It's Miller Time! But don't just come here for beer - they also have excellent bar fare.

Mo's Irish Pub
710 N. Plankinton Ave., (414) 272-0721
Situated in the heart of Downtown, Mo's Irish Pub provides a fairly authentic atmosphere to enjoy the Emerald Isle's renowned spirits.

Molly Cool's Seafood Tavern
1110 N. Old World 3rd St., (414) 831-8862
Molly Cool's serves some great food, but their bar area is equally impressive. From affordable house wines to beer to cocktails (try the Redneck Mai Tai), there's something for everyone here.

My Office
736 N. Milwaukee St., (414) 276-9646
One of the better names for a bar in Milwaukee ("Just tell my wife I'm at My Office"), this throw-back tavern Downtown also serves a tasty breakfast, believe it or not. It's also a good place for a late night cocktail.

New Yorker Bar
645 N. James Lovell St., (414) 272-9444
Don't let the name fool you - this bar is made for Milwaukeeans. Karaoke five nights a week? Sounds good to us. They love their regulars, but if you're an unfamiliar face they'll make you feel at home just the same.

Red Rock Saloon
1227 N. Water St., (414) 431-0467
Milwaukee's first Country/Rock fusion venue, Red Rock saloon is the perfect watering hole for urban cowboys (and cowgirls). From the "biker fare" (featured on the Travel Channel's Man vs. Food Nation) to the mechanical bull (see if you can last eight seconds), this is the place to go if you need a little extra giddy-up in your step after a long day at work.

Rock Bottom Brewery

740 N. Plankinton Ave., (414) 276-3030
Have one of the homemade beers while dining on burger, salads, ribs, enchiladas, pasta, smoked fish, wood-roasted pizzas or a steak. Or if you just feel like drinking beer, there is a pool room in the basement. Rock Bottom is a nice change from the ordinary. Local musicians also perform here on New Year's Eve.

Rosie's Waterworks
1111 N. Water St., (414) 274-7213
A frozen-in-time Milwaukee classic bar and restaurant with a friendly and spirited reputation.

Safe House
779 N. Front St., (414) 271-2007
There's only so much we can say about the Safe House without giving away all the fun. Let's just say that if you haven't already been to this Milwaukee landmark, it's time to go. If you're looking for the perfect place to take out-of-town guests or are just searching for a unique dining experience that mixes entertainment and intrigue, the Safe House is for you. Featured in Time, Newsweek, People, Chicago Tribune and "Major League," the Safe House is a fun place to eat, drink and meet.

Starbar Milwaukee
631 N. Milwaukee St., (414) 277-7827
If you like your bar experience set to a thumping dance beat, Starbar offers your kind of nightlife. Patrons love the edgy club vibe and the combination of intimate seating and crowded dance floor.

795 N. Jefferson St., (414) 271-2855
Milwaukee's beautiful people meet at Taylor's. Always cutting-edge and trendy, Taylor's serves up house special drinks and tasty margaritas. Beer, of course, is another option. Located in the Cathedral Park area, Taylor's attracts a crowd dressed to the nines and ready to unwind after a long day or week at the office. Keep your eyes open at Taylor's. It's a favorite stop for several Green Bay Packers.

Tequila Rita's
1131 N. Water St., (414) 273-7483
The name says it all! Plus, it's in the former Terrace space, which means the unique architecture, including a rooftop terrace, has a agreat view of Downtown.

Water Street Brewery
1101 N. Water St., (414) 272-1195
Milwaukee's first brew pub has been serving up finely-crafted traditional and specialty brews and excellent bar fare since 1987. Beer enthusiasts will love the historic memorabilia on the walls. Located a block away from the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts, this landmark establishment is the perfect place to begin - or end - your downtown evening.

106 W. Wells St., (414) 223-0101

Sure, it's more of a restaurant. But, Yaffa Restaurant and Lounge is it's official name. Stop in a drink on the patio and be sure to try the teas.

If we've left out your favorite Downtown drink spot, use the talkback feature below to share it with the rest of us. And watch for another Downtown bar guide coming soon!


maestro137 | Oct. 20, 2007 at 6:18 a.m. (report)

What about THIS IS IT ??? A 1960-s era bar relatively unchanged 418 East Wells -- Check It Out !! The Best Drink Prices in Downtown Milwauke in a comfortable relaxed atmosphere (with a Killer JukeBox !!!)

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milwacky1027 | Sept. 14, 2007 at 12:04 p.m. (report)

The Guitar Bar is now Grant's Pub, one of the best, classiest bars on Water Street. Prepare to be amazed.

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JustJane | July 1, 2007 at 11:17 a.m. (report)

This has not been updated in nearly a year! Come on OMC!!!

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OMCreader | Sept. 11, 2006 at 11:55 a.m. (report)

Jim Bomm said: Points East Pub. Best wings in the none...try to get some on Thursdays, but be prepared to wait!...and have a few brewskis

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OMCreader | Aug. 25, 2006 at 3:04 p.m. (report)

Pizza said: I love The Lodge pizza!!!!!!!!!

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