Milwaukee’s Lincoln Village houses a refreshing combination of the old and the new. As a historic south side neighborhood, Lincoln Village boasts a variety of old structures, including the Basilica of St. Josaphat and Holler House, the oldest certified bowling alley in the United States. However, business from nearby Bay View is beginning to rub off on this neighborhood. Here are our 10 best bars in Lincoln Village.
The Tonic Tavern is emblematic of Milwaukee’s flourishing south side, and offers an eclectic yet completely inviting space to enjoy a beer or a cocktail. The interior is spacious and sleek, with scattered chairs throughout, centered on a ‘lived in’ bar and its brick backdrop. By opening its large industrial sized garage near the entrance, an extensive patio can be found out of doors. During the winter months, curl up by the fireplace near a nook in the bar and listen to local rock and jazz acts perform authentic sets for Tonic’s small crowd.
The game of soccer is relatively new to Americans, but at The Highbury Pub, the spirit of the game rages on match after match. Despite its reputation as a soccer bar, this south side spot is frequented by people of all kinds of sporting orientation, due largely to its worthy tap and beer list. With an inviting patio, an interior hanging crazy amounts of memorabilia and Christmas lights, The Highbury Pub makes for a necessary stop amidst Lincoln Village.
Koz’s Mini Bowl in Lincoln Village is one of the best places to visit on a night out. With shorter lanes, mini pins and bowling balls, and a cheap drinks menu, fun is never missed at this neighborhood mainstay. With a down-to-earth bartender, that vintage jukebox, and oodles more retro touches, this bar echoes the ethos of Milwaukee in a nutshell. In short, Koz’s Mini Bowl is one of the coolest unheard of bars in the entire city.
Originally called ‘The Stepping Stone’, The Stone is a kind of historical stepping-stone between the old south side and the new, having been around in the neighborhood since before its resurgence as an economically rich area. Today, due to an increase in business, the bar is on a fast track to the renovations it has planned. With 21 local and imported beers on tap, a five-hour happy hour and an endless bowl of peanuts at the bar, The Stone is gunning to cement its spot as one of the south side’s best pubs.
Being both a dive bar and a fish fry destination is a strange identity for any bar, and Baby Boomers on East Lincoln Avenue is that wonderful place. Although dark, Baby Boomers is family-friendly, due to its popular Friday fish fry special, including 12 pieces of fried cod, a basket of thick-cut fries and coleslaw and tartar sauce.
Sugar Maple is the bar for beer on the south side. With 60 niche beers on tap, expect to walk away exposed to a new taste or brand of beer you may not have tried before. Although trendy, Sugar Maple sports a relaxed atmosphere, with extremely knowledge bartenders. The bar here is massive, and tellingly polished each night, making for the best place to enjoy an American brew with a friend.
With the oldest certified bowling alley in the USA housed in its confines, Holler House has been operating full swing in Lincoln Village since 1908. Renamed after the proclivity of a German neighbor to call the bar ‘the Holler House’ after its wild crowd and loud music, not much has changed at this neighborhood landmark since its beginnings. With original wooden lanes and the fiery pep of the pin boys at the end of each to reset after each roll, this family-owned bar will charm any visitor from out of town with its unique Milwaukee ambiance and culture.
Operating as their own brewery, brewpub and marina, Horny Goat Brewing Co is way more than just a brewery and tap house. With the Midwest’s largest outdoor patio, boat slips and volleyball courts all on-site, there’s always something going on at this establishment. Their brewery creates some of the most adventurous flavors of beer in the region, like their Tango Delta Tangerine IPA, a bold IPA with freshly added tangerine juice, and the Archer Apple Brown Ale, a brown ale with chocolate and caramel malts and locally sourced apple cider mixed in.
JJ Brothers Tavern is the best place to meet someone from the Lincoln Village neighborhood. Known for their riotously good margaritas and pina coladas, the bartenders here are extremely approachable and so are the regulars. Weekends are a great time to come out to JJ’s, as they offer both Latin and English dancing to please everyone in the house.
As a bar and restaurant, Café Lulu certainly dishes up a flair of funk with every order placed. As a former George Webb’s, Lulu keeps much of the old diner’s relaxed layout, but did not spare on the space’s modern redecoration. With its bar and restaurant housed separately, enjoy one of the house mixed cocktails while waiting for a table. The cafés sandwiches have won city recognition, so be sure to try one too.