Outdoor dining guide
Note: The contents of this guide were checked for accuracy when this article was updated on Sept. 17, 2018 at 3:06 p.m. We continually update the thousands of articles on OnMilwaukee.com, 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.
After a long, seemingly endless winter (and an almost nonexistent spring), there is just about nothing we Milwaukeeans crave more than a little warm, fresh air. The outdoor dining and drinking scene in this city has exploded in the past few years, and most patios are packed on a nice, sunny afternoon.
Looking for a little dining al fresco? Here are literally more than 100 lovely places to do so. Happy summer, Milwaukee.
1247 N. Water St., (414) 221-9999
With outdoor seating on Knapp Street, Bombers is a great spot to dine on some of the city's best burgers ("Food Wars" approved, no less!) while watching the Park East neighborhood develop. Two giant chairs are also featured in case Paul Bunyan comes along.
Ann's Italian Restaurant
5969 S. 108th Pl., Hales Corners, (414) 425-5040
Shade for the hot days, heaters for the cool ones. Ann's offers tasty Italian cuisine at fair prices and the balcony is a great spot to catch a meal.
Anvil Pub & Grille
N70 W6340 Bridge Rd., Cedarburg, (262) 376-2163
Nestled in the Cedar Creek Settlement's restored 19th century blacksmith's shop, the charmingly authentic Anvil Pub & Grille is a Cedarburg favorite for casual dining in a rustic atmosphere. The Anvil serves lunch and dinner daily and specializes in freshly baked Forge sandwiches made in the stone hearth oven. As a summertime treat, the creek-side patio offers seasonal dining overlooking the Cedar Creek waterfall.
1310 E. Brady St., (414) 272-2233
A quick and cost-effective Apollo Cafe lunch or dinner is sure to please even the pickiest gyro lover in the Brew City. After stuffing your face with Greek delights, it's a short walk to the Brady Street footbridge for a stroll on the lakefront to help you shed those new Greek pounds.
925 E. Wells St., (414) 765-1166
Inside the Cudahy Tower, Bacchus brings fine dining into a stylish space. Outdoor patio dining and private dining rooms make dining here an experience for lunch, dinner or special occasions.
1716 N. Arlington Pl., (414) 755-0099
Adding to the flavor on the corner of Arlington and Brady, the Hi-Hat Group opened the wine bar Balzac. It offers an untouchable list of rotating wines as well as small plates and appetizers late into the evening. The outdoor seating is located in the backyard courtyard shared with Apollo Cafe.
1114 N. Water St., (414) 847-1492
5750 Bayshore Dr., Glendale (414) 831-2700
Water Street is a hotspot during a Milwaukee summer and Bar Louie is smack dab in the center of it all with an inviting patio seating over 100 when the weather's warm (and a fire pit for when it's not as warm as we wish it were.)
1955 S. Hilbert St., (414) 481-9974
Next to Skipper Bud's down on the KK (Kinnickinnic) River is Barnacle Bud's. A favorite stop for boaters, burger and beer lovers, Bud's is perfect for an afternoon lunch or after-work beer.
Bass Bay Brewhouse
S79-W15851 Aud Mar Drive, Muskego, (414) 377-9449
This lakeside patio awaits you just a short drive from the heart of the city. Lounge on picnic tables or a gazebo and settle in and watch the sun glisten off the water.
Beans and Barley
1901 E. North Ave., (414) 278-7878
An East Side institution and one of Milwaukee's vegetarian hot spots, Beans & Barley features some of the city's best soups and sandwiches. The attached grocery store features gifts, magazines, vitamins, produce, sweets and organic, vegetarian and ethnic foods.
512 W. Layton Ave., (414) 481-5520
The home of the Belly Burger! A wide range of choices also makes Beer Belly's fish fry one of the best in town. There's also great tenderloin and baby back ribs.
Bel Air Cantina
1935 North Water St., (414) 226-2245
6817 North Ave., (414) 988-8533
2625 N. Downer Ave., (414) 964-1190
Upscale Mexican cuisine on Milwaukee's lower East Side. Stop in for Taco Tuesdays and Thursdays when all tacos and tequila shots are $2, or unwind after work during happy hour from 3 to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday. The outdoor patio at the North Water Street location has a nice view of the Milwaukee River.
Bodegon at Hotel Madrid
600 S 6th St., (414) 488-9146
Travel to Spain without leaving Milwaukee. The expansive patio at Bodegon will transport you while completely satisfying your taste buds.
5871 S. 108th St., Hales Corners, (414) 427-1400
The Bosch was built inside a former Victorian style hotel which makes it a hidden gem in Hales Corners. The patio is equally beautiful patio with a beer garden.
901 E. Clarke St., (414) 431-1932
Bremen Cafe, located at the corner of Bremen and Clarke in Riverwest, draws customers from all over the city. Coffee, conversation and free high-speed Internet can all be found at Bremen, along with live music from local and touring acts. Work by local artists is on an ever-changing display to add to the local aesthetic.
1019 N. Old World 3rd St., (414) 224-8500
A favorite before and after Bradley Center events, Buck Bradley's features the city's longest bar, great casual dining, gourmet entrees, deli sandwiches and daily specials.
801 N. Cass St., (414) 277-1111
Family owned Buckley's boasts outdoor seating on the quiet corner of Cass & Kilbourn. Settle in under your umbrella and take in the sights and sounds while enjoying their delicious fare.
37238 Valley Road, Summit, (262) 567-5242
Burke's Lakeside's outdoor seating is well worth the drive. The wraparound patio easily helps the restaurant live up to its name with spectacular views of Silver Lake. Enjoy the atmosphere of the great outdoors day or night.
742 N. Glacier Road, Pewaukee, (262) 691-0840
A screened patio, tropical bar and two gazebos give patrons at Butler Inn options for their outdoor dining experience. Tender Black Angus steaks, homemade soups and salads are some of the restaurant's specialties, not to mention the friendly staff and excellent service.
1505 W. Mequon Road, Mequon, (262) 241-7076
Specializing in soups, salads, vegetarian fare and sandwiches, as well as weekly specials, Café 1505 serves up excellent brunch all day Saturday and Sunday, with new specials each week. Be sure to check the website for what's up and coming. There's also a full carryout menu and an espresso bar.
Cafe at the Plaza
1007 N. Cass St., (414) 272-2494
A truly unique, art deco dining experience, the Cafe at the Plaza is a favorite of Downtown and East Side dwellers. The Plaza Scrambler and other breakfast items are all made fresh to order, and are available all day long. You will love the quaintness of the building and the lovely outdoor patio.
346 N. Broadway, (414) 501-2500
The rooftop seating at Cafe Benelux is undeniably one of the most popular outdoor eating areas within Milwaukee. Benelux has over 30 beers on tap and a menu that covers breakfast through dinner.
2306 S Kinnickinnic Ave., (414) 755-0378
Cafe Centraal's large garage door opens off the back of the building into a courtyard-like dining area. The restaurant serves a full menu all day long.
3129 N Bremen St., (414) 810-3941
2394 Kinnickinnic Ave., (414) 544-2774
Kick back on a lovely outdoor patio at the Riverwest location or a secluded fenced in oasis in Bay View. Make sure to get their early to snag a seat for brunch.
2608 N. Downer Ave., (414) 963-6366
7677 W. State St., Wauwatosa, (414) 475-6771
Both cafes feature an eclectic menu and large, crafty beer selection perfect for Milwaukee's East- or West-sider. The Downer Avenue location's patio is quaint and overlooks the bustling roadway, while Tosa's equivalent features a picturesque look over the Menomonee River.
Cafe La Scala
631 E. Chicago St., (414) 223-2185
Located inside the Italian Community Center, Cafe La Scala offers an array of delicious, fresh and seasonal Italian foods, including its signature pizzas and panini. For a true al fresco experience, enjoy your taste of Italy in the courtyard.
3815 N. Brookfield Rd., Brookfield, (262) 790-2340
This Brookfield restaurant is one of the Milwaukee area's few 100 percent vegetarian and organic eateries. The menu is lengthy and pulls recipes from all over the world and uses locally sourced food and sustainable growing practices. Cafe Manna is also Wisconsin's first Certified Green Restaurant, and one of the first in the United States to earn three-star green certification.
842 N. Old World 3rd St., (414) 273-3236
This downtown spot features the best in outdoor dining. Great pizza (it's one of the best in the city) and friendly service make Calderone a wonderful little Italian dining adventure.
Carini's La Conca d'Oro
3468 N. Oakland Ave., (414) 963-9623
Obviously, with fishnets on the wall the seafood portion of the menu is a favorite. Tuna, swordfish and salmon are the mainstays, and all go great with a smothering of garlic, olive oil and breadcrumbs.
2205 E. Capitol Dr., Shorewood, (414) 962-0100
This is one of the best lunch places with a mix of pastas, salads, sandwiches, soups and other delights. A host of breads, cookies, scones, muffins and tempting desserts will satisfy your sweet tooth.
1701 N. Lincoln Memorial Dr., (414) 223-4551
223 E. St. Paul Ave., (414) 220-8330
2211 N. Prospect Ave., (414) 273-3753
9125 W. North Ave., (414) 259-9383
2999 N. Humboldt Blvd., (414) 292-3320
2301 S. Kinnickinnic Ave., (414) 744-6117
Myriad environmentally friendly features complement the cafe, both indoors and out. Colectivo at the lake has a wetland garden that captures and filters parking lot runoff, and rain from the roof trickles into barrels and irrigates plants on the grounds. The Colectivo on Prospect has a wall length garage that opens during the summer months. Colectivo serves hot and cold sandwiches, salads and more, making it a great lunch spot, especially when the weather cooperates and you can sit outside.
1234 N. Astor St., (414) 272-5273
Milwaukee's Irish inn, with all the feel of Ireland. A pub, restaurant and an inn, County Clare serves up regular Irish music, a hearty selection of beer and great food, including comforting standbys like root soup, meat loaf, smoked salmon and of course, corned beef. Stop by for a bite and a pint.
839 S. 2nd St., (414) 645-2606
Crazy Water has seared tenderloin, pasta, shrimp, scallops and halibut, all prepared with interesting American fusion twists, like fresh blackberries with the tenderloin.
728 N. Milwaukee St., (414) 225-1760
Cubanitas brings the taste of Cuba to Milwaukee. Featuring favorites like empanadas, plantains and mojitos, Cubanitas is the brainchild of local restaurateur Marta Bianchini.
3832 Hillside Dr., Delafield, (262) 646-7821
Try sausage, sandwiches, fish and chicken ... all go together with great hand-crafted beers that you can take outside.
Divino Wine and Dine
2315 N. Murray Ave., (414) 212-2222
A treasure and a treat on Milwaukee's East Side, Divino Wine and Dine features homemade pasta. Come for the pasta, come back for the veal, pizza, seafood and veggie dishes. Some of the best pizza in town.
1433 E. Brady St., (414) 727-1224
1633 W. Wells St., (414) 933-9179
318 E. Wisconsin Ave., (414) 226-2664
3116 N. Downer Ave., (414) 332-2810
The Dogg Haus's four locations serve up Chicago-style hot dogs, perfect for a quick bite in the middle of the day.
Another great place to dine outside is PrimeOne Steak and Seafood in Delafield. The outdoor patio has bistro lighting, and about 14 outdoor firepits. There are two for large groups and smaller ones for groups of 4-8. The upstairs balcony is a great place for an outdoor escape or romantic dinner for two. This is a new restaurant in downtown Delafield that features prime grade beef, a great wine list, seasonal craft cocktails, and weekly drink and dining specials. There is also live outdoor music all summer long. It is located at 515 Wells St., Delafield, WI 53018.
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