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Milwaukee Ale House Remains a Third Ward Favorite

Nov. 15, 2012
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dinning out
When the Milwaukee Ale House opened 15 years ago, the Third Ward was a very different place. Many of the buildings were half-occupied and the area wasn’t nearly as vibrant as it is today. In 2012, the Third Ward is home to offices, shops and condos, not to mention many bars and restaurants. Even with all the change, however, the Ale House still stands out, with brew tanks visible from the front windows, a spacious front bar and a main dining area with views of the RiverWalk. It just feels right for this area.

In recent years, the Ale House opened a location in Grafton. A separate brewing facility, the Milwaukee Brewing Co., was created to add much-needed capacity. Many local places stock these beers.

When you are first seated, you will be presented with a beer list and a food menu. The current list offers 18 beers covering a wide range of styles and alcoholic content. One of the Ale House’s first beers, Louie’s Demise ale, remains a favorite to this day. The food menu is geared toward beer-drinking ballast—filling, hearty fare.

Appetizers include jumbo pretzels, chicken wings, mozzarella sticks and potato skins. You will also find sandwiches, salads, pizzas and entrees listed under “Craft Foods.” There is quite a bit of variety.

A side salad is an additional $2.99. It is a simple version featuring leaf lettuce, tomato, cucumber, red onion and carrot. The choice of 11 dressings includes a nice raspberry vinaigrette that is not too sweet.

The tasty Ale House cheeseburger ($7.99) comes with a good bun, a half-pound of beef cooked to order and a choice of six cheeses. Blue cheese proves to be a good choice, with just the right amount of flavor. A side item is included; fries, potato salad and Asian slaw are among the options. For $2 extra, the side can be steak chili or the house gumbo. The meaty gumbo features plenty of chicken and sausage along with green pepper, onion and okra. It is on the mild side and topped with rice.

The “Craft Foods” are moderately priced, ranging from $9.50 for a chicken pot pie to $18.50 for a ribeye steak or a full rack of ribs. Wednesday and Saturday offer a prime rib special for $21.99. The stout pot roast ($13.99) is tender, braised beef with mashed potatoes and chef’s vegetables. The vegetables here tend to favor broccoli. The chicken marsala ($13.99) is nice, boneless cutlets of white meat in a wine sauce with plenty of mushrooms, mashed potatoes and the same vegetables. Marsala sauces are often too sweet, but this one gets it right. The sauce is good with the mushrooms.

The pizzas ($8.50-$16.50, plus extra for additional ingredients) have a thin crust that is better than most. Choose your own ingredients or order one of three specialty pizzas.

Friday specials are a fish fry and clam chowder. Be sure to try the walleye ($14.99), a large filet with a good batter. Decent potato pancakes are included. This is one of the better fish fries in town.

The servers do a good job and the kitchen is efficient and consistent. Despite the increase in competition over the years, the Ale House remains a Third Ward favorite for beer and a casual meal.


Milwaukee Ale House

233 N. Water St.

(414) 276-2337


Handicap Accessible



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