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Best Milwaukee bars to enjoy a cocktail or a mocktail

Marty Peters
Milwaukee Magazine
Patrons enjoying the bar experience in Milwaukee

To quote John Gurda: Milwaukee is a city of neighborhoods and in each of those neighborhoods there are dozens of bars. If you’re looking for a spot to drink in the city, there’s no shortage of options, but there are some that rise above the rest. This month, Milwaukee Magazine has listed its top bars in the City and Milwaukee Magazine Dining Critic, Ann Christensen, shares some of the selections from the list.

Happy Hour Bars

Christensen describes an ideal happy hour experience as boasting a comfortable atmosphere as well as an ideal happy hour special. In addition, having good food and a wide variety of beverage options makes for a good experience.

An Ox Cafe: 7411 W Hampton AVE Milwaukee 53218

Christensen says, "It's Thai, Laotian and Hmong food and they have a really great happy hour. They're also doing discounted appetizers. That's a great choice."

Marty Peters
Milwaukee Magazine

Speakeasy Bars

A speakeasy bar, as Christensen describes, is a place that is somewhat hard to find. It is obstructed from obvious view and will require a journey to locate.

Mosler's Vault: 5900 W North Ave, Milwaukee 53208

"This building was a bank at one point, and the Speakeasy is the old vault. It's got those old vault doors and there's no windows inside. It's very small. It feels like you're in this little cave," says Christensen.

Mocktails and Cocktails

This designation is for bars that have great options for both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. That way, anyone can come and have a good time.

Lost Whale: 2151 S. Kinnickinnic Ave, Milwaukee 53207

"They have an wonderful selection of mocktails using syrups that they make in-house," Christensen says.

Odd Duck: 939 S 2nd st, Milwaukee 53204

"They've always been known for their cocktails, which are very elaborate [and] very complex. Essentially, they can make non-alcoholic versions of many of them," Christensen describes.

Meal and Beverage

These places not only offer superb drinks, but also exquisite food to provide an enjoyable full dining experience.

Saffron: 223 N Water St, Suite 100, Milwaukee, 53202

Christensen describes it as a, "Modern Indian restaurant with really creative cocktails and a lot of them pair really well with the food. The food has a lot of flavor to it so the cocktails complements it."

The full list of best bars in Milwaukee will be available at Milwaukee Magazine.


Joy is a WUWM host and producer for Lake Effect.
Rob is All Things Considered Host and Digital Producer.
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