BAR FOOD/BEER PUBS
1955 S. Hilbert St.
Barnacle Bud's is hidden among old warehouses and grain elevators and is filled with nautical kitsch. The main draw is a large wooden deck overlooking the Kinnickinnic River. Yes, there is a boat dock. The small menu sticks to sandwiches, salads, a few entrees, jumbo crab cake and some good soups and seafood pastas. (J.B.) $-$$. FF. FB. SB. OD. 481-9974.
130 W. Ryan Road
With mirrored beer signs and antique newspapers surrounding guests from the walls and above, Erv's Mug is a great place to sit at the bar for a drink or to dine with a friend for a quick bite. If you dare, try the buffalo wrap, which is offered in three levels of hotness that is sure to set anyone's taste buds on fire. Specials ranging from fish fries to Mexican food are also offered throughout the week. (H.Y.) $$. CC. SB. FF. FB. Handicap access. 762-5010.
113 E. Juneau Ave.
The Harp, with its popular deck on the Milwaukee River, has done an exemplary job of bridging authentic pub traditions—great beer, atmosphere and Irish pride—with clever updates. Alongside pub-grub standards such as modestly priced Reubens, fish fries and burgers you'll also find menu items that are a bit more contemporary, like a spicy Sriracha chicken sandwich and a chipotle chicken wrap. The $5 lunch special, a quarter-pound cheeseburger with fries, pickle and soda, is great for those on a budget, as are their daily drink specials. (L.K.) $-$$. CC. OD. FF. FB. Handicap access. 289-0700
Hooligan's Super Bar
2017 E. North Ave.
Whether outside on a warm day or indoors, Hooligan's is more than a treat, it's an experience. Day or night, this restaurant features an extensive menu jam-packed with tasty wraps, delicious burgers and 21+ tap options sure to please any beer connoisseur. There is also a 100% grass-fed beef patty substitute for $1 extra. With no need to dress to impress, stroll on in and prepare to see people you know, for this institution is no secret. (N.P.) $-$$. CC. FB, OD, FF. 273-5230
Leff's Lucky Town
7208 W. State St.
Leff's Lucky Town puts to rest the notion that neighborhood bars have to be dark and dingy. A bright, airy feeling is achieved by a wall of windows, including a garage door style window that opens up to warm weather patio seating. Lunch and Happy Hour specials on food and drink draw patrons daily. Hometown products add to the neighborly feel of Leff's, including offerings from Lakefront Brewery, Great Lakes Distillery, Palermo's Pizza and Bunzel's meats. (S.H.G.) $-$$. CC: VS, MC, DS. Handicap access. 258-9886
McBob's Pub & Grill
4919 W. North Ave.
Corned beef fans in Milwaukee have staunchly declared their support for Jake's or Benji's, but may find a new favorite in McBob's. The corned beef is melt-in-your-mouth tender, and sandwiches are enhanced by a horseradish mustard spread. Fish Fry offerings on Wednesday and Friday are also a pleasure when McBob's serves up fried perch, walleye, grouper and broiled halibut. Celtic tacos and pizzas are features on other days, and breakfast is available Friday to Monday. A casual place, with a warm, friendly vibe. (S.H.G.) $-$$. CC: VS, MC, DS. Handicap access. 871-5050
Milwaukee Ale House
233 N. Water St.
The Ale House serves over 10 of its own products including one of the best local amber ales—Louie's Demise. The setting is casual with a large bar, dining room and balcony overlooking the Milwaukee River. The menu includes sandwiches, salads, pizzas, pastas and heartier entrees like pot roast and BBQ ribs. Fridays offer one of the better fish fries. (J.B.) $$. FB. OD. FF. Handicap access. 226-2337 ext. 4
779 N. Front St.
Located down a Downtown alley, the Safe House, offers a unique experience. Upon entrance, you will need to know the secret password. If you do not know this, you will be asked to complete a task. It could be anything from singing a song to performing a dance. The inside of the nightclub is spy-themed and offers a lot of fun. If you care to eat, try the Our Man in Havana's Rueben, marble rye bread filled with corned beef, Swiss cheese and a very tasty dressing. (H.Y.) $$. CC. RS, FF, FB. Handicap access. 271-2007
338 S. First St.
O'Lydia's is located in the former Slim McGinn's, a classic Milwaukee corner bar. The menu has the same low prices and the same general feel. Soups, potato chips and fries are all homemade. The menu is mainly appetizers, salads and sandwiches plus a few daily dinner specials. Reuben rolls are a specialty as is the leg of lamb sandwich. Friday offers a popular fish fry. Choose your setting from the original bar room to a glassed-in patio and a few outdoor tables. (J.B.) $-$$. CC. FB. OD. FF. SB. Handicap access. 271-7546
St. Francis Brewery & Restaurant
3825 S. Kinnickinnic Ave.
The brewery produces five of its own beers, focusing on ales. Most popular is the KK Weiss, served in the proper glass. The menu has all the appetizers necessary for beer drinkers from pretzels to chicken wings and nachos. Sandwiches include burgers, pulled pork and a Reuben. Among the entrees are chicken pot pie, baby back ribs and a noteworthy beer steak. (J.B.) $$-$$$. FB. FF. Handicap access. 744-4448
Stonefly Brewing Co.
735 E. Center St.
Stonefly is smaller than most brew pubs but produces good malt products and offers other beers as well. It's very casual with a menu to match. Flatbread pizzas and burgers are among the expected pub fare, but Stonefly also caters to vegetarian and vegan customers and is willing to customize any dish. Of note are the tasty chicken pot pie and an appetizer of beer-battered deep-fried bacon. (J.B.) $-$$. FF. Handicap access. 264-3630.
Stubby's Pub & Grub
2060 N. Humboldt Ave.
Stubby's is as much about beer as it is about food. There are over 53 craft beers on tap plus a list of reserve bottles. The setting is casual, at later evenings the bar is packed with a young crowd. The menu wanders from bar food to more refined dining, with the jumbo Stubby burger and Stubby chicken wings sharing space with a charcuterie plate and an entrée of pork belly with sea scallops. Stop in for the large outdoor deck overlooking the Milwaukee River valley, one of Milwaukee's hot spots to be in the summertime. (J.B.) SS. CC. FB. OD. Handicap access. 763-6324
1020 E. Locust St.
If you're looking for a friendly place to eat, drink and cheer on your favorite sports team, look no further than The Tracks. The sports bar features three big screen televisions, a full bar and menu. The Riverwest Burger is loaded with guacamole, bacon, lettuce, tomatoes and cheese. The atmosphere is fun and the prices are reasonable. Three outdoor volleyball courts are also available for all skill levels. (H.Y.) $. CC. FF. OD. 562-2020
Water Street Brewery
1101 N. Water St., (414) 272-1195
3191 Golf Road, Delafield, (262) 646-7878
I-43 HWY 60, 2615 Washington Street, Grafton (262) 375-2222
Milwaukee's first brew pub opened on Water Street in 1987. Now there are three. The crowds till come for the hearty sandwiches, salads, pretzels and sausage platters. The walls are lined with Wisconsin beer memorabilia. Entrees start with salads and move upscale to BBQ ribs and flat iron steak. (J.B.) $$. CC.. FF, RS, FB, OD. LT
The Wicked Hop
345 N. Broadway
One of the noisy hubs of the Third Ward, the Wicked Hop is a comfortable corner bar making good use of its historic Cream City brick shell. Usually crowded at lunch and after work, the Hop serves quality bar food—chicken wings and wraps, burgers and melts, quesadillas and excellent nachos smothered in cheddar and jalapenos. On tap is a good selection of Wisconsin and imported beers. (D.L.) $. CC. FB, OD, FF. Handicap access. 223-0345