Craft Cocktail Bars in Milwaukee

From Mai Tais to Old Fashioneds, Milwaukee has hit its stride when it comes to craft cocktails. Across the city, there are plenty of places to swoon over retro décor and marvel at mixologists’ offbeat creations, the product of artistry and thoughtful sourcing of ingredients. After all, what else would you expect from the state where the unofficial cocktail is a Brandy Old Fashioned? For a detour from craft beer—another nod to Wisconsin—check out these lounges and bars.

01 of 07

Bryant’s Cocktail Lounge

Bryant’s Cocktail Lounge

Bryant’s Cocktail Lounge 

Address
1579 S 9th St, Milwaukee, WI 53204, USA
Phone
+1 414-383-2620
Bars
4.7

Tucked onto an unassuming street on the South Side, this lounge came under new ownership when John Dye took it over in 2008, but its roots date back to 1936 (originally it was a beer hall). Ice-cream drinks such as a Grasshopper are on the menu, which spans 400-some selections, as well as Hurricanes and Pink Squirrels. A second-floor Velvet Lounge was added in 1968.

02 of 07

Foundation Tiki Bar

Address
2718 N Bremen St, Milwaukee, WI 53212-2606, USA
Phone
+1 414-374-2587

Want to channel some aloha spirit? Then this Riverwest bar is your place. Bamboo lines the walls, there’s Polynesian carvings throughout, and the lights are turned down—the perfect setting for sipping fruity Tiki cocktails like Blue Hawaiian, Shark’s Tooth, Zombie and Planter’s Punch. There’s also a Rum List, which is a curated selection of rums from 21 countries, including Jamaica, Trinidad, Barbados, Haiti and Java.

03 of 07

Goodkind

Goodkind

Goodkind 

Address
2457 S Wentworth Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53207, USA
Phone
+1 414-763-4706

Only open since 2014, this Bay View spot is on a residential street off the main drag. Borrowing from the farm-to-table food menu, a few of the cocktails also feature local ingredients, such as Rishi Tea’s tangerine-ginger tea syrup in the For You, 1976 drink. Wildly popular for weekend brunch, there is a special cocktail menu for that occasion. Get Out of My Room, Mom! Has tangerine-ginger syrup as well as Meyer-lemon bitters, Cava and Lillet Rose—a perfect pairing with aebleskiver pancakes.

04 of 07

Boone & Crockett

Boone & Crockett

Boone & Crockett 

Address
818 S Water St, Milwaukee, WI 53204, USA
Phone
+1 414-212-8115

Located on the North end of Bay View, this bar opened in 2011. Taxidermy covers the walls in this narrow spot, and the banquettes are covered in plaid fabric. Drinks are a work of art, with barrel-aged cocktails as well as seasonal drink menus (like mulled wine in winter).

Continue to 5 of 7 below.
05 of 07

Branded

The Iron Horse Hotel

The Iron Horse Hotel

Address
500 W Florida St, Milwaukee, WI 53204, USA
Phone
+1 414-374-4766

The Iron Horse Hotel in Walker’s Point is one of those hotels that even locals like to hang out at. Just off the lobby is Branded, a bar with lots of natural lighting, art on the walls and drafting chairs, each of these details playing off of the neighborhood’s industrial-chic vibe. Drinks are very creative, including The Escape Clause, which is a house-spiced rum finished with a cedar flamed orange disc.

06 of 07

The Rumpus Room - A Bartolotta Gastropub

The Rumpus Room - A Bartolotta Gastropub

The Rumpus Room - A Bartolotta Gastropub

Address
1030 N Water St, Milwaukee, WI 53202, USA
Phone
+1 414-292-0100

As part of the Bartolotta Restaurant Group, this is a casual sibling to places like Harbor House, Lake Park Bistro and Bacchus. It’s in downtown Milwaukee close to performing-arts centers, making it a perfect spot pre- or post-show. There are eight specialty cocktails. A Community Effort cocktail relies upon Milwaukee’s own Rehorst gin, while the Champagne Cocktail uses sparkling wine from New Mexico (Gruet Winery).

07 of 07

Buckley’s Restaurant and Bar

Buckley’s Restaurant and Bar

Buckley’s Restaurant and Bar 

Address
3908, 801 N Cass St, Milwaukee, WI 53202, USA
Phone
+1 414-277-1111

This little corner spot carries a very urban, almost Parisian, feel with its pinstriped awning and dimly lit sconces. On one wall of the dining room is the bar, with brunch-ready drinks like the Bacon Bloody (bacon- and pepper-infused vodka) and Brunch Punch (juices and flavored vodkas topped with Cava) as well as 11 signature cocktails. Czech Your Head combines rye, Becherovka, Briottet Crème de Peche, and Primitivo Quiles vermouth rojo.

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Where to Get a Craft Cocktail in Milwaukee