The stretch of North Avenue the runs from about the Milwaukee River east toward the lake is one of the most popular entertainment spots in the city. Smack in the middle of the East Side, this bit of North Avenue is close to the UW-Milwaukee campus and Brady Street and features a number of bars and restaurants. The watering holes on this street definitely appeal to a younger crowd on the whole, especially on weekend evenings, but there are enough offerings here to appeal to every taste, age and demographic if you know where to look.
This small dive bar on the corner of Oakland and North Avenue is a favorite with college students thanks in part to dirt-cheap specials (fishbowl Wednesdays, fireball shot Fridays). Expect a crowd during Packers, Marquette, and Wisconsin games. 1732 E. North Ave
This North Avenue Stalwart first set up shop in 1936, and it's still a go-to spot for solid bar food (try the top-selling Hooli-Burger, topped with cheddar, bacon, bbq sauce, and olives), people-watching, and das boot (show up on your birthday to score a boot full of beer for free). 2017 E. North Ave
This small, well-known jazz bar has been around for decades but reopened in the fall of 2016 after an extensive makeover. Settle in to listen to the nightly sets or swing by for a chill cocktail between performances. 2423 N. Murray Ave
This Milwaukee institution—it opened in 1927!—features three bars, a bowling alley, and an arcade room equipped with old-school games (Big Buck Safari, Ms.
Pacman). Visit on Thursdays for karaoke, Saturdays for cosmic bowling, and Sundays for a pool tournament. 2220 N. Farwell Ave.
Located underneath Beans & Barley, the sleek and sexy Library Club is a secret society-themed dance club. 1905 E. North Ave.
This East Side gem is also high on the atmosphere scale, with an eclectic mix of Irish pub decor.
Visit in the summertime for the big outdoor beer garden. 2339 N. Murray Ave.
Rascal's is known its daily happy hour specials and bargain-basement cocktails. Expect a rowdy cheap cocktail crowd and plenty of college students. 2311 N. Murray Ave.
A '50s supper club vibe dominates this Milwaukee staple, which opened in 1934. Visit during happy hour for half-off any drinks (5 p.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Friday). 1832 E. North Ave.
Escape from the college crowd and fill up on wurst at this dark, atmospheric German bar. The stained glass, stag horns, and wall murals give it an old-world vibe—as do the giant steins of dunkels and maibocks (32 drafts are on offer). 2235 N. Farwell Ave.