East Side bar guide: North Avenue edition
The intersection of North Avenue and Farwell Avenue – and the streets surrounding – is considered the heart of Milwaukee’s East Side. It’s also known for its variety of bars, restaurants and venues. The neighborhood has definitely transitioned, moving from a bar district to a food-and-drink destination, but there is still no shortage of beer, wine or cocktails to be consumed.
Here’s a guide to the “North Avenue bars,” which for us includes bars, pubs and taverns within a block or two. But if you're headed out, please double check to see how particular places have adapted to the pandemic and follow their COVID protocols accordingly. Be safe, be considerate – and cheers!
1924 E. Kenilworth Ave., (414) 488-9340
AXE MKE offers ax-throwing and beer-drinking for individuals, couples, small groups and parties. Reservations are required, so go to the website before going out for a highly unique experience.
Hacienda Beer Co.
2022 E. North Ave., (414) 296-7200
The Hacienda Milwaukee taproom opened in 2019 and serves about a dozen beers from their brewery in Door County. They also fill growlers, sell four packs and offer distanced indoor and outdoor seating.
Hooligan's Super Bar
2017 E. North Ave., (414) 273-5230
A Milwaukee East Side landmark since 1936, Hooligan's serves the city's largest selection of micro beers, award-winning pub food and Bloody Marys. It also has a “see and be seen” patio at the confluence of the East Side’s liveliest streets. Hooligan’s experienced a fire at the end of 2020, and is currently closed, but will reopen later in 2021.
Izzy Hops Swig & Nosh
2311 N. Murray Ave., (414) 249-4489
Izzy Hops is a cozy tavern that specializes in craft beers and bourbons, along with a full food menu for brunch, lunch, snack time or dinner. It’s also a popular spot to watch sporting events.
2423 N. Murray Ave., (414) 964-9923
The Estate offers great jazz in a tiny and intimate setting and serves craft and draft beer and top-notch cocktails. The Jazz Estate is one of Milwaukee's better kept jazz secrets and although it is currently closed due to COVID-19, it’s a spot to remember later this year when it reopens.
2220 N. Farwell Ave., (414) 278-8770
There's no bar in Milwaukee quite like The Landmark, located beneath the Oriental Theatre. With three unique bars, one of the town's oldest bowling alleys and an arcade of a similar vintage, The Landmark attracts an eclectic crowd.
2339 N. Murray Ave., (414) 223-3496
What makes Paddy's Pub exceptional is its authentic Irish charm. That and the beer is always fresh and served at the perfect temperature. Paddy's kind and knowledgeable owners are often behind the bar, ready to chat. During non-pandemic times, the snacks are as abundant as the drinks. Paddy’s also hosts live music on the more-spacious second floor.
2238 N. Farwell Ave., (414) 763-9081
Located inside the Crossroads Collective Food Hall, The Pharmacy is named after the beloved Oriental Drugs, which formerly occupied the space. The Pharmacy serves beer, wine, cocktails and mocktails to enjoy with meals from the food hall, or on their own at the bar.
Sipp & Purr Cat Cafe
2021 E. Ivanhoe Pl., (414) 585-0707
Sipp & Purr provides beer and spirits – along with non-alcoholic beverages and snacks – to guests who want to interact with or observe adoptable cats. Reservations are highly recommended.
2315 N. Murray Ave., (414) 797-1400
Tavolino is an Italian restaurant, but makes this bar guide because of its large wine menu. Tavolino GM Peter Dietrich has a deep appreciation for Italian and domestic wine and hand-picked the wines based on the idea that the right wine can compliment any meal. Tavolino also has a cocktail menu featuring Italian-focused, craft cocktails made with traditional liqueurs and local products.
2203 N. Prospect Ave., (414) 226-2303
Vintage is a friendly neighborhood bar with free pool, cheap drinks and the perfect patio for people-watching. Plus, the outdoor seating area is dog friendly.
2235 N. Farwell Ave., (414) 272-1775
The German-themed Von Trier offers an outstanding selection of imported and domestic beers, wine, cocktails and hot drink selection. Plus, there's a never-ending supply of free popcorn and plenty of outdoor seating including the East Side's first beer garden.
Whole Foods / Eastside Tap
2305 N. Prospect Ave., (414) 223-1500
The Eastside Tap, located inside Milwaukee’s first Whole Foods, is currently closed for COVID-19, but plans to reopen later this year. During “normal times,” the Tap is a casual hangout serving draft beers and a curated selection of wines by the glass.