Just because you take a couple vacation days off work doesn’t mean the holidays aren’t still stressful. With all the visiting family and potential for related drama, you’ll probably need to get away from it all and grab a drink. When that moment final arrives, head to one of these 13 Milwaukee bars for some much needed R&R away from your ever-prying Aunt Edna.
In case you just can’t spend Christmas night without your puppy, you can bring him with you to Art Bar. Opens at 7pm.
You don’t have to be a hipster to enjoy this bar, but it helps. Craft brews make an excellent Christmas treat. Opens at 6pm.
Menomonee River Valley
The casino is open 24/7, and Christmas is no exception. The Fire Pit sports bar is open all day and night, Bar 360 on the casino floor opens at 10am, and the bars at their various restaurants all open by 5pm.
Wisconsin’s longest-running gay bar is sure to be filled with Xmas cheer. Three-for-one taps and rails doesn’t hurt either! Opens at 3pm.
This quintessential neighborhood watering hole is there for you when you need it most: immediately after watching your bratty little nephews rip open their presents. Opens at 11:30am.
If your visiting in-laws think the corner tavern looks to “divey,” head to MSG’s lounge and grab a seat in front of the fireplace. It's also cooking Christmas dinner if you don’t want to. Opens at 1pm.
If there is some kind of sporting event going on Xmas night, this sports bar will probably have it on. Opens at 5pm.
If you feel at all bad for skipping church on Christmas, Hotel Foster feels just churchy enough so you can tell grandma you went and not be totally lying. Opens by 9pm.
A no-nonsense kind of pub on the south side with lots of Wisconsin brews on tap. Opens at 2pm.
Historic Mitchell Street
What could be better than a classic brandy Alexander or eggnog on Christmas night? Opens at 7pm.
Bars in hotels are safe bets for being open on holidays, and the bar inside The Iron Horse Hotel is definitely one of the best hotel bars around. Opens at 11am.
A little kitschy, a little divey, and a whole ton of fun. Take some holiday pics in the photo booth (if it’s actually working). Opens at 8pm.
Shorewood (& other locations)
What could be better than Christmas Up North, complete with giant moose head and fireplace? Opens at 7pm.
1. Art*Bar722 E Burleigh St, Milwaukee
2. Burnhearts2599 S Logan Ave, Milwaukee
3. The Fire Pit Sports Bar & Grill1721 W Canal St, Milwaukee
4. Bar 3601721 W Canal St, Milwaukee
5. This Is It418 E Wells St, Milwaukee
6. Mason Street Grill425 E Mason St, Milwaukee
7. Brewski's Sports Club304 N 76th St, Milwaukee
8. The Hotel Foster2028 E North Ave, Milwaukee
9. redbar2245 E Saint Francis Ave, Saint Francis
10. Bryant's Cocktail Lounge1579 S 9th St, Milwaukee
11. Branded500 W Florida St, Milwaukee
12. Blackbird Bar3007 S Kinnickinnic Ave, Milwaukee
13. Camp Bar4044 N Oakland Ave, Milwaukee
This eclectic, kitschy spot supports local artists, has plenty of beer choices to choose from, and is known for its dog-friendliness.
Here you’ll find a thoughtful, just-right-sized tap list deep on Wisconsin and Michigan’s finest, plus a deep selection of rare bottles (ask about Carl’s Secret Stash). But somehow even more importantly, Burnhearts is impossibly welcoming, devoid of pretension, and the kind of bar where you can feel like you’ve been a lifelong regular in one afternoon, which will likely end up bleeding into the evening, whether you’re playing game after game of shuffleboard in back or chatting up the friendly staff up front. Come February, their (outdoor!) charity-minded Mitten Fest brings in people from all over to enjoy some rare beer, live music, and the fact that Wisconsinites refuse to let winter spoil a good time.
Burgers and brews are what's on offer at this classic sports bar in the Potawatomi Hotel & Casino. Whether you're into football or hockey, catch the game on one of 34 (!!!) high-definition flat screens.
This high roller's favorite located in the Potawatomi Hotel & Casino features a full bar, eight drafts on tap, bottle service, and nightly live music.
The party's always on at this happening gay bar in Milwaukee's East Town. Dance to songs on the jukebox, hit up karaoke night, or just try one of their happy hour specials (all drinks are $1 off Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays)
Situated in the historic Pfister Hotel, this sophisticated steakhouse serves elevated New American fare. Providing they don’t forget their suit coat, meat lovers can savor signature favorites like the eponymous Mason Street Grill Burger: Black Angus Chuck impeccably cooked to your preferred temperature, topped with honey-glazed onions, tangy house relish, and melted muenster. Whatever you order, we suggest you pair your steak with a bold glass of red wine, and relax in the warm glow of this leather-upholstered, sleek dinner spot.
Looking for a place to kick back and watch the game over a nice juicy burger? Wander no further than Brewski's, a down home dive with plenty of TVs and many more beers on tap.
There are no beds here, but The Hotel Foster's cozy, woodsy setting is still a great place to spend the night. The congenial bar specializes in small batch bourbons, unique ales and stouts, and classic cocktails, all of which you can enjoy during their great (if short) happy hour, while rocking out on karaoke, or with friends nestled into comfortable banquette seating.
This all red everything cabin and bar has one of the dopest happy hours in the MKE-- from 2pm until close, all drinks (yes, everything) are a $1 off. Run, don't walk.
You can feel the history when you drink at Bryant's -- it's been around since the '30s, but you'll be more interested in the intoxicating darkness and your flawless (and also intoxicating) brandy Old Fashioned.
One of our favorites in the 'nabe, the Branded bar in the rustic chic Iron Horse Hotel is a top spot for cheap happy hour snacks, playing pool, and sipping on delicious libations.
Sidle into a booth at this lively, unpretentious dive and rest assured, you'll be in good company. Two for one drinks, trivia nights, and pinball machines are what's on deck.
There’s no reason to drive seven hours when a real life Northwoods tavern just happens to be on the near North side of Milwaukee. Camp's appropriate hunting lodge setup includes an abundance of woodwork, a fair amount of taxidermy, and the occasional light fixture made out of antlers. The Old Fashioned is the drink of choice here and during the football season it’s hard to find a better place in town to watch the Packers. Ya der hey.