Mac Writt

50 Great Places for Patio Dining

Once bereft of sidewalk cafes, Milwaukee has gone crazy creating outdoor places to dine.

By - Jul 8th, 2014 04:29 pm
Cafe Centraal. Photo by Rose Balistreri.

Cafe Centraal. Photo by Rose Balistreri.


1. Café Centraal: Bay View hotspot is another restaurant established by the Lowlands Group and offers a patio connected to the dining room by a large garage door. The patio is secluded from the street; snuggled between brick walls covered in ivy. The restaurant has an extensive brunch and dinner menus. Open from 11am-midnight Monday through Thursday, 11am-2am on Fridays, 9am-2:30am on Saturdays, and 9am-midnight on Sundays. 2306 S. Kinnickinnic Ave.

2. Odd Duck: The new patio area, with five tables, has planters for growing herbs like chives, parsley, basil and thyme, which Odd Duck uses in many of its dishes. Odd Duck’s menu changes daily but specializes in locally sourced ingredients in small plate and sharable menu options. The kitchen is open every day from 5pm to 10pm, with the bar staying open till midnight. 2352 S. Kinnickinnic Ave. in Bay View.

3. Trocadero: This lower East Side restaurant serves European-style offerings for lunch and dinner. It also offers a large wine list and Saturday and Sunday brunch. It has a year round heated patio and outdoor terrace space which is one of the biggest in Milwaukee. There is a babbling fountain, hanging lights, and shady garden refuge, all within the patio space. Open Mondays from 11am-9pm, Tuesdays through Fridays from 11am-10pm, Saturdays from 9am-10pm, and Sunday brunch from 9am-9pm. 1758 N. Water St.

4. Ugly’s Pub: Downtown pub serves a variety of options from burgers, to pizza, and tacos, and is open for brunch, lunch, and dinner. Just a short walk up a flight of stairs and pub-goers can be seated at its rooftop area with a great view of the city. Customers can choose to sit at the bar or at high-top tables. The bar is protected by plastic to keep out the elements but still maintain the view; heaters line the space to keep it warm. Smoking is allowed if it’s not during dining hours. Ugly’s is open from 11:30am-2pm daily. 1125 N. Old World 3rd St.

5. Crazy Water: This cozy American fusion restaurant is snuggled in the heart of the Walker’s Point neighborhood. Crazy Water’s menu boasts inspired takes on chicken, duck, steak, and seafood dishes. The space has had an outdoor dining facility for several years located in the back of the building. The screened patio overlooks a garden wall blooming with flowers and greens with a nearby fountain whispering faint trickling sounds. Crazy Water is open from 5pm-9pm Monday through Thursday, 5pm-10pm Friday and Saturday, and 5pm-8pm on Sunday. 839 S. 2nd St.

6. Braise: Specializing in locally sourced, New American cuisine, the menu at Braise changes daily to match the seasons. In May, the restaurant opened its outdoor dining space located on the second floor rooftop area. Twinkling lights crisscross the dining space, where patrons can overlook the Walker’s Point neighborhood below. The area can seat 18 or 40 for a cocktail party. Coinciding with Braise’s locally grown motif, the rooftop doubles as the restaurant’s garden. Herbs and spices, cucumbers, peas, greens, Thai basil, and lemon verbena grow amongst the diners. Open Tuesday through Saturday from 5pm-10pm. 1101 S. 2nd St.

7. Colectivo Third Ward Café: This Colectivo location maintains an open concept design which gives coffee (and beer) lovers the option to sit inside or outside on its bar-stooled seating area. The location is directly across from the Milwaukee Public Market and Third Ward shops and galleries. Open from 6am-9pm Monday through Friday and 6:30am-9pm Saturday and Sunday. 223 E. Paul Ave.

8. AJ Bombers: Flanked by two giant beach chairs, Bombers outdoor dining area is made up of a half dozen picnic tables where guests can enjoy their burgers. Although the space is not shaded from the sun, patrons can watch the hustle and bustle of Water Street and watch the Park East neighborhood developments rise. Bombers is open Mondays through Thursdays from 11am-10pm, Fridays and Saturdays from 11am-11pm, and Sundays from 11am-10pm. 1247 N. Water St.

9. La Merenda: The large patio area behind this small-plates restaurant makes for an intriguing dining experience. The expansion offers room up to 40 people comfortably and has plots available for gardening possibilities, an advantageous venture for the restaurant which prides itself on being a farm-to-table experience. The space is modern; with a fully stocked bar, its own restrooms, and a large fireplace. Guests can sit at the bar or choose to be seated under the pergola which allows streaks of sunlight to fill the space. Monday through Friday from 11am-2pm and 5pm-10pm, and Saturdays from 5pm-11pm. 125 E. National Ave.

10. Colectivo at the Lake: With the sights and sounds of Bradford Beach and Lake Michigan just steps away, this Colectivo makes for a lively coffee hotspot. It offers such environmentally friendly features as a garden which soaks in the parking lot water runoff and rainwater collection barrels which are used to water the many planters that pepper the outdoor seating area. The shop offers coffees, sandwiches, and salads for early morning and lunchtime diners. Open from 6:30am-10pm daily. 1701 N. Lincoln Memorial Dr.

11. The Anchorage: Serving fine seafood with options like red snapper soup with sherry, Anchorage scallops, and Thai marlin this venerable restaurant is located inside the Hilton Hotel along the Milwaukee River. The outdoor dining space features several metal patio tables with large blue umbrellas shading guests from the sun, and gives diners a view of the lush greenery along the shores of the river. Open from 6:30pm-10pm Monday through Friday and from 7pm-10pm on the weekends. 4700 N. Port Washington Rd.

12. Apollo Café: This small Brady Street café boasts authentic Greek dishes and a “Pezothromio,” an outdoor eating area which Apollo says is “reminiscent of downtown Athens.” Seating includes a row of quaint little black patio tables for two, each with an umbrella, and one can watch on as Brady Street shoppers and diners flick in and out of bars and weave through the street’s many curio shops. Open from 11:30-10pm Monday through Wednesday, until 2am on Thursdays, 2:30am Fridays and Saturdays, and open until 9pm on Sundays. 1310 E. Brady St.

13. Balzac: This restaurant has a rotating selection of wines and small plate dining. Outdoor seating is available behind the main space, in the courtyard shared with Apollo Café. The area is set back from the busyness of Brady Street, around the corner from the Hi-Hat. Balzac is open from 4pm-2am daily. 1716 N. Arlington Dr.

14. Bar Louie: With a fire-pit, seating for 100, and convenient location, there are many attractions to this Downtown spot. In the daytime the space has umbrellas ready to shade the sun and in the evenings, fairy lights twinkle above the guests. With trees bordering the space there is also some separation from the commotion of Downtown, but still opportunities for great people watching. The menu is simple: burgers, flatbreads, sandwiches. Open from 11am-2am daily. 1114 N. Water St.

15. Barnacle Bud’s: This seafood stop is a mainstay for shrimp, oyster, burger, bloody mary and beer lovers. The space is located along the Kinnickinnic River. Bud’s offers a relaxed outdoor dining experience, with two outdoor patios, an outdoor bar, and lots of picnic table seating. Guests can look to the river and see boats being lowered into the waters and pulled into the docks. What makes the space so unique is the décor; the patio and restaurant inside are meticulously decorated like an old sunken ship. Open from 11am-9pm daily. 1955 S. Hilbert St.

16. Beans & Barley: This restaurant-grocery store hybrid features soups, sandwiches, great bakery and plenty of vegetarian options. The eatery features a small patio space nuzzled next to North Ave. The area can seat around 20 and is flanked by large pine trees which give guests shade and privacy from the surrounding streets. Open from 8am-9pm every day. 1901 E. North Ave.

17. Beer Belly’s: Serving classic American eats like burgers, steak, fish-fries and ribs, Beer Belly gives customers the option of eating on the sunny patio in front of the restaurant. The area has several metal patio tables which look out onto Layton Ave. Open from 11am-2am daily. 512 W. Layton Ave.

18. Bremen Café: One of Riverwest’s signature hangouts. Patrons flock here for their fairly priced coffees and spirits, plus the high speed internet. The space also has weekly live performances, pinball machines, and an oversized Jenga game. The outdoor seating area is comprised of lines of patio tables and chairs which border the building; a great place to sip coffee and enjoy the neighborhood. Open Monday through Friday from 8:30am-1am, Saturdays from 10am-1pm, and Sundays from 10am-11pm. 901 E. Clarke St.

19. Brocach: Featuring classic Irish dishes like Shepherd’s Pie and bangers and mash as well as burgers and seafood, this pub gives its guests the option of being seated on its rooftop patio area overlooking the Milwaukee River with hanging lights dangling overhead. The restaurant is adorned in antique-like Irish décor. Open from 11am-2:30am Monday through Friday, Saturdays from 10am-2:30am, and Sundays from 9am-2:30am. 1850 N. Water St.

20. Casablanca: Overlooking Brady Street, Casablanca’s newly erected second floor dining veranda is gaining fans. Sections of the patio are covered but much of it is shaded only by a pergola so diners can enjoy the summer breeze. The restaurant serves classic dishes from the Middle-East, has hookah service and overhead heaters for cold weather. Open from 11am-11pm Sunday through Wednesday and 11am-2am Thursday through Saturday. 728 E. Brady St.

21. Hi Hat Lounge & the Garage: This cocktail lounge and restaurant on the corner of Arlington and Brady Street boasts a wide variety of sandwiches and burgers, while also having brunch and nighttime drink specials. The patio, or Parkhaus as it is called, is shaded by surrounding plants and dotted with flower pots and planters. The patio’s raised deck seats 34 and the lower seating area can seat 40. The bar is open Monday through Friday from 4pm to close; and opening at 10am on the weekends. The dining room is open from 10pm until brunch, which starts at 10am daily. 1701 E. Arlington Pl.

22. Buck Bradley’s: Featuring the largest bar in Milwaukee and offering casual dining favorites like burgers, pizza, steaks, and sandwiches, this is a favorite stop before and after Bradley Center events. The patio area seats around 20 and looks out onto the street from the sidewalk. Open from 11am-2am daily. 1019 N. Old World 3rd St.

23. Café at the Plaza: Known for their breakfasts and diner-style food, located in a venerable hotel, the cafe has an art deco style patio which supplies about a dozen tables. The space is framed by ivy-covered brick walled on two sides, with a fabulous view of the Milwaukee skyline. Serves breakfast and lunch. Opens from 7am-2pm every day. 1007 N Cass St.

24. Hotel Metro: Its rooftop eatery is an Eden; featuring several flowering gardens, an outdoor/indoor fireplace, and breathtaking views of downtown Milwaukee below. The restaurant offers breakfast, brunch, and nightly dining options. 411 E Mason St.

25. Cafe Corazon: Mexican restaurant in the heart of Riverwest. Corazon raises its own cattle, and sources its chicken and pork from area farms. Outdoor dining features a several umbrella laden picnic benches shaded by the huge oak trees lining the street. Open from 11am-10pm Monday through Friday and 10am-10pm on the weekends. 3129 N. Bremen St.

26. Palomino: Featuring old time Western décor, this Bay View bar and restaurant has a small outdoor patio overlooking a park and the lake. Palomino is known for Southern American Soul food like po boys, fried green tomatoes, house-made fried pickles, wood grilled chicken wings, cornbread and biscuits. Open from 4pm-midnight Monday through Thursday, Friday and Saturdays from 10am-12:30am, and Sunday from 10am-10pm. 2491 S Superior St.

27. Bel Air Cantina: Features California-style Mexican favorites like tacos, burritos, fajitas, and tamales. Generous patio area seats 75 and overlooks the Milwaukee River. Open from 11am-2am Monday through Friday, and open at 10am on the weekends. 1935 North Water St.

28. Tess: Tess offers a huge outdoor dining area surrounded by gardens filled with flowers, vegetables, and herbs. Half of the space has overhead heaters above for those chilly Milwaukee nights. Tess specializes in chicken, fish, pasta, and steak dishes. Open from 5pm-9pm Sunday through Thursday and stay open until 10pm Fridays and Saturdays. 2499 N. Bartlett Ave.

29. Iron Horse: In one of Milwaukee’s top patio spaces, restaurant goers are greeted by friendly décor and the sounds of freight trains chugging past the hotel. Serves a full food and cocktail menu throughout the day. The patio, which is referred to as The Yard, offers sectional seating, a woodburning brick flatbread oven, an outdoor bar made from the original hotel fire doors, a pergola for private functions, and overhead sail umbrellas allowing for sun and shade. Open Monday through Wednesday from 11am-11pm and until 2am Thursdays and Fridays, Saturdays from 7am-2am, and Sundays from 8am-11pm. 500 W. Florida St.

30. Tulip: Milwaukee’s sole Turkish eatery, it has a small patio area which overlooks (in the distance) the Milwaukee River. Open from 5pm-10pm Monday through Saturday.  364 E. Erie St.

31. The Knick: Downtown eatery has a colorful patio area overlooking Lake Michigan and seats several dozen restaurant goers. Knick offers a wide variety of foods like burgers, sandwiches, and seafood. Open from 11am-midnight Monday through Friday and weekends from 9am-midnight. 1030 E. Juneau Ave.

32. Meritage: Huge patio behind restaurant is surrounded by wooden porch railings and shaded by several large trees overhead. Twinkling party lights dot the space which serves a large seasonal menu and a diverse wine selection. Open from 5pm-10pm Tuesday through Saturday. 5921 W Vliet St.

33. Cafe Hollander: By now an East Side institution, with a large, popular patio area; wicker tables and chairs are positioned around a sprawling tree in the center of the space. Each table comes with a white umbrella, shading eaters from the sun. Hollander offers their well-known brunch, as well as dinner options, with a Belgian emphasis. Open from 8am-midnight Sunday through Wednesday and stays open until bar close Thursday through Saturday. 2608 N Downer Ave.

34. Water Buffalo: With a two story terrace which overlooking the downtown Riverwalk, Water Buffalo provides a spectacular view of Milwaukee at night. Patrons can sip drinks while watching the passing scene. The menu is a take on classic bar foods, with salads, sandwiches and entrees. Open from 11am-10pm Monday through Thursday, 11am-11pm Friday and Saturday, and closed at 9pm on Sundays. 249 N. Water St.

35. Cafe Benelux: A Third Ward favorite, Benelux’s rooftop seating is great for summer dining and people watching. The huge rooftop patio area spans the entire length of the restaurant and is fully outfitted with bussing stations and restrooms. Like Hollander, restaurant offers Belgian inspired burgers, mussels, pannenkoeken, and frites and a large Belgian style beer menu. Open from 7am-1am Monday through Thursday, Friday from 7am-2am, Saturday from 8am-2am, and Sunday from 8am-1am. 346 N Broadway.

36. Cafe La Scala: Offers a fairly large courtyard area where diners can order the restaurants signature paninis and pizzas. It’s actually located inside the Italian Community Center in the Third Ward. The courtyard even has a water fountain for diners to enjoy. Open Monday through Thursday from 11am-2pm and 5pm-9pm and Fridays from 11am-2pm and 4:30pm-10pm. 631 E. Chicago St.

37. Calderone Club: Downtown restaurant with street side tables. Menu boasts a huge selection of sandwiches, pizza, pasta, and steak. Open Monday through Thursday 11am-3pm and 5pm-11pm; Fridays from 11am-midnight, Saturdays from noon-midnight, and Sundays from 4pm-10pm. 842 N. Old World 3rd St.

38. Smoke Shack: Cozy little barbeque restaurant in Third Ward features a large patio area that seats 70. The patio is nuzzled between two buildings, tucked away from the sidewalk and street, which makes for a rather peaceful dining experience. The menu offers pulled pork, housemade Berkshire sausage, and Black Angus brisket. Open daily at 11am.332 N Milwaukee St.

39. Coast: Featuring stunning views of the Milwaukee Art Museum and Lake Michigan, the restaurant offers upscale dining with a variety of seafood and steak offerings. Open from 5pm-9pm Tuesday through Friday. 931 E. Wisconsin Ave.

40. Coquette Café: French bistro with reasonably-priced food, the Third Ward restaurant is the brainchild of Milwaukee chef Sandy D’Amato and his wife. Coquette’s outdoor dining offers tables along one of the Third Ward’s most bustling streets, great for people watching or resting between shopping. Open from 11am-10pm Monday through Thursday, Fridays from 11am-11pm, Saturdays from 5pm-11pm, and Sundays from 11am-5pm. 316 N. Milwaukee St.

41. County Clare: Going al fresco at this Irish pub and restaurant will give you a chance to try its root soup, meat loaf, smoked salmon or corned beef. The patio area is sectioned off from the street by quaint wooden fencing. Tall trees shade the space which can seat several dozen. Open Monday through Thursday from 5pm-10pm, Fridays from 11am-10pm, Saturdays from 9am-10pm, and Sundays from 9am-9pm. 1234 N. Astor St.

42. Cubanitas: The city’s only Cuban inspired restaurants, servingclassic Cuban dishes such as empanadas, plantains and mojitos. In the heart of Downtown, with the street eating area decked out in cozy orange tables and chairs that complement the buildings flashy paint job. Great people watching at night. Open from 11am-11pm Monday through Thursday, 12pm-1am on Fridays, and Saturdays from 11am-midnight. 728 N. Milwaukee St.

43. Dino’s Taverna: Casual downtown restaurant with a Grecian style. The restaurant offers salads and sandwiches inspired by the region. Their daily soups are made from local, fresh ingredients and they normally have lunch specials. The patio area overlooks Jefferson St. and features a smattering of colorful little tables, fine for a summer lunch. 777 N. Jefferson St.

44. Dogg Haus on Brady: One of the four Dogg Hauses in the Milwaukee area, it’s a great place to grab a hotdog for a quick lunch. Haus goers have the option to sit outside on the patio tables which are best suited for people and traffic watching. Dogg Haus is open from 11am-3am. 1433 E. Brady St.

45. Screaming Tuna: Tuna’s patio area is located directly on the river; sushi lovers can even park their boats on the docks and walk into the restaurant. Serves a variety of sushi and Asian dishes. The patio seats around 90 including designated area for large party tables. Open from 11am-2:30pm and 4:30pm-10pm Monday through Friday and from 10:30am-11pm on Saturdays and 10:30am-10pm on Sundays. 106 W. Seeboth St.

46. El Fuego: Mexican restaurant has a patio lined in pueblo-styled brick walls with Mexican pottery and plants. The centerpiece of the patio is the massive waterfall which babbles away as restaurant goers enjoy their Mexican fare. There are also two large fireplaces in the patio area. Open daily from 11am-10:30pm. 909 W. Layton Ave.

47. The Wicked Hop: Directly across from the Milwaukee Public Market, The Wicked Hop serves pub favorites like salads, soups, pasta, sandwiches and entrees. The patio space is shaded by an awning which makes for a great space to escape hot Third Ward shopping trips. Open Monday through Thursday from 11am-1am, Fridays and Saturdays from 11am-2am, and 10am-noon on Sundays. 345 N. Broadway.

48. Von Trier: East Side bar serves food and boasts a beer garden. Though situated in a fairly busy area, the garden outside feels strangely secluded from North Ave. Patrons can choose from one of the many beers on tap and mill about the little tables. The space is surrounded by ivy covered brick walls, with windows open to the street. Open from 4pm-2am Monday through Thursday, Fridays and Saturdays from 3pm-2:30am, and Sundays from 3pm-2am. 2235 N. Farwell Ave.

49. City Market: This Shorewood restaurant offers a quaint and casual dining experience. Patrons can order sandwiches, salads, pastas, or soups as they arrive, and then choose to sit in the open patio area overlooking the cross street. The restaurant also doubles as a bakery, serving fresh scones, cookies, muffins, and breads. Open daily 6:30am-8pm. 2205 E. Capitol Dr.

50. Buca di Beppo: Offering Italian family style cooking with large portions. Buca di Beppo’s patio seats around 26 with some tables having umbrellas. Open 11am-10pm Monday through Thursday, until 11pm Friday and Saturday, and close at 9pm Sunday. 1233 N. Van Buren St.

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