Food & Drink

The Best Happy Hour Specials in Milwaukee

Published On 05/24/2016 Published On 05/24/2016
Flickr/Dave Reid

Wolski's

East Side

It's always happy hour at this Milwaukee drinking institution, which offers different specials every night of the week (including $3 tap microbrew Thursdays). Even if you get there shortly after the official happy hour pricing starts at 2pm, you won't be the first one at the bar. Wolski's is a day drinking university, with plenty of regulars crowding the dark but cozy bar at all hours of the day. Happy hour ends at 7pm... but the famous "I Closed Wolski's" bumper stickers aren't handed out until seven hours later (so, you know, good luck).

Taylor's

Cathedral Square

Taylor's opened well before Cathedral Square became a bustling entertainment district (you know, back when you could actually find parking on a weekend). This place has always been a hotspot at happy hour, however, for some pretty damn solid reasons: they have a great location near plenty of thirsty working stiffs, complimentary appetizers (think cheese and crackers, salamis, Kalamata olives, etc.), and great specials on alcohol. Pretty much every type of booze on the menu is a steal from 4 to 8pm on weeknights (we're talking $3.50 Ketel One here, people).

Courtesy of Braise

Braise

Walker’s Point

When a quality farm-to-table restaurant offers a quality happy hour, everybody wins. "Odds and Ends" at Braise takes place only on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 5 to 7pm, but man, is it excellent: come for half-priced wine, beer, and small plates -- but mostly the small plates. The constantly rotating menu includes tasty items, from a braised beef bun with porcini sauce and shaved radish to butter-poached walleye spread served with crostini. Plus on Tuesday nights, a banh mi and a beer will set you back just $12 all night long.  

Bernie's Tap Room

Waukesha

Anything from the outstanding tap list at Bernie's is a buck off throughout the workweek, and one-topping pizzas are just $6 during happy hour at this beer-centric tavern in downtown Waukesha. Plus, this place offers beer flights nights on Tuesday and Wednesday, when flights are discounted the entire evening... it's a lot easier to sample two dozen tap beers when they’re on sale, and Bernie's super-inviting vibe doesn't hurt, either.

Courtesy of Potawatomi Hotel & Casino

Potawatomi Hotel & Casino

Menomonee Valley

Never before has a happy hour included such amazing opportunity. Here's how it works: from 4 to 8pm, you can spend just $3 on any beer, wine, rail drink, etc., in the casino. Then you take the sizable amount of money that you've saved on drinks, and you pump it into a slot machine, or use it to highlight your mad skills as a blackjack player. With a little (OK, a lot) of a luck, you’ll parlay that dough into a huge pile of cash... and never have to work again.  

El Fuego

South Side

For those who can't get quite enough when it comes to margaritas (so, you know, most of us), El Fuego is a good place to be from 2:30 to 6pm on weekdays, when the potent drinks at this ornate Mexican restaurant are just three dollars. Yep, three bucks. Beer, wine, and other cocktails are discounted, too, but when all you need is a $10 bill to get your margarita fix on, why drink anything else?

Hinterland Brewery

Hinterland Erie Street Gastropub

Third Ward

The swankiest brewpub in Milwaukee has an inviting bar area that just makes you want to stay a while... and that's even easier when delicious Hinterland brews are just $3 (cocktails and wine are discounted, too, but this is essentially a place for beer). Hinterland ups the ante with daily specials on its amazing food (including $5 pho on Mondays).

Camino

Walker’s Point

There's clearly no shortage of Polish heritage in Milwaukee, and Camino salutes that with an appropriately themed happy hour: this cozy spot offers a free pierogi with every craft beer purchase (free food at any happy hour is a really good thing), deals on drinks, and Polish sausage for just four bucks. Na zdrowie!

Courtesy of Distil

Distil

Downtown

Here's the deal: Distil makes some pretty amazing cocktails, and from 5 to 8pm, many of those cocktails are two dollars cheaper than normal. If you enjoy sipping some of the best drinks in town in a chic dark wood accented space, you're in luck. Throw in some charcuterie to up the decadence factor.

Saloon on Calhoun

Brookfield

Drink specials are great and all, but free bacon is something we can all get behind. And from 4 to 7pm on weekdays, that's exactly what you get: all the salted and cured bacony bites you can handle, and $1 off all drinks (except pitchers and shots). Bacon is a key ingredient on the menu at this place in the western 'burbs... and it's always best when it's free.

Stubby's Gastrogrub & Beer Bar

Stubby's Gastrogrub & Beer Bar

East Side

Hit this great spot from 3 to 6pm on weekdays, and you can start working your way through their massive tap list -- without breaking the bank. All of Stubby’s 53 craft beer taps are $1 off during happy hour, except for one select beer each week -- and that one is half price. You'll also get half off anything on the menu with a happy face next to it (think cheese curds, nachos, frickles, etc.) which can provide the solid base that you'll surely need.

Sabbatic

Walker's Point

A bar built around a punk rock aesthetic requires a happy hour to match, or it loses all sorts of street cred. Several times a week, you can nab two-for-one drinks from 5-9pm (including call brands), but what makes this place a knockout is their deal that runs from just 7 to 7:15pm Monday through Saturday, when Sabbatic offers basically anything behind the bar for just 99 cents. Drink fast: it's a deal that even Sid Vicious couldn’t sneer at.

Maxie's

Maxie's

West Side

Drink specials are nice, but fresh-shucked oysters for just a dollar are a rare and delicious find (especially in the heart of the Midwest). If you don't care for oysters, be content with a dollar off all drinks -- that just means more of the mollusks for those who like to slurp them down by the dozen. From 4 to 6pm on weekdays, Maxie's offers this Southern hospitality, Midwest style.

Hooligan's Super Bar

East Side

This oddly shaped East Side pub has earned legendary status, due both to its remarkable longevity (they've been pouring brew since 1936), and quality good times. But it’s even better from 4 to 7pm when Hoolie's has half-price appetizers, and discounted beer -- but their reverse happy hour might be even better: every night of the week, from 10pm to close, there are late night specials, including $1 brews and $4 Tito's. In the summer, the specials can be enjoyed from one of the most eclectic patios in town, which also provides a great view of bustling North Ave and its cast of characters.

Lacey Muszynski/Thrillist

Balzac

Brady St

If you want to impress a date on a limited budget, Balzac is a good place to be from 4 to 6pm. They'll throw you $1 off tap beer, but the real move here is to score a $5 house wine, and some $5 plates, like their antipasto, red curry hummus, or cheese board. Then stick around for their killer weekly specials -- like half-off wine on Wednesdays.

Harry's Bar & Grill

Shorewood

This bright and bustling Shorewood mainstay has plenty of options for hungry and thirsty denizens of the near North Side. This place offers a seasonally rotating menu of $5 small plates, including items like pulled pork sliders, edamame falafel balls, poutine fries, and chicken wings -- plus $5 martinis, $3 microbrews, $2 macrobrews, $4 wine and rails, all available from 3 to 6pm most days of the week. And if you like to start your week with a bang, happy hour lasts from 3pm until close on Mondays.

Bryant's Cocktail Lounge

Bryant's Cocktail Lounge

South Side

A classic cocktail lounge needs an equally classic cocktail hour: on Sunday through Thursday from 5 to 8pm, Bryant's serves perfectly made Depression-Era cocktails -- like Old Fashioneds, Whiskey Rivers, and Cassis -- for just five bucks. If you're not super versed in the cocktail trends of the 1930s (you rube), the bartenders here are remarkably unpretentious and friendly -- just tell them what you normally like and are in the mood for, and they'll take it from there. It all takes place in the dark and subtly posh corner bar -- old-school cool at a discount.

Bosley on Brady

Brady St

Come hungry for the happy hour at Bosley, a laid-back spot that brings the Florida Keys to Milwaukee. From 4 to 6pm, a long list of appetizer specials start at $4 and goes up from there... so it's totally not fiscally irresponsible to fill your table with tasty items like conch fritters, catfish sliders, and coconut shrimp. But it's not just about the eating: drink specials include $6 martinis and tropical drinks, including mojitos, for just four bucks.

BelAir Cantina

BelAir Cantina

Lower East Side (& other locations)

People don't just go to BelAir Cantina for tasty tacos... you have to be able to wash them down with something. Go for the Big Kahuna margaritas (Corazon Añejo tequila, Cointreau, fresh lime, simple syrup, and a salted rim), which are even better from 3 to 7pm when they're just $6.50.

Nomad World Pub

Brady St

While the Nomad was once famous for a sarcastic happy "hour" (from 4 to 4:18, nearly every drink in the place was just one buck), the new happy hour is totally better: from 4-7pm on weekdays, you can get $4 pints, $3 rails, and $6 pizzas. And if you happen to miss this window, the eclectic Brady St spot always has the prix fixe available: a shot of Jameson and a can of Pabst for $5.

Harbor House

Harbor House

Lakefront

While the amazing, panoramic views of Lake Michigan and Downtown are the real draw, Harbor House's happy hour specials are almost as enticing. From 4 to 6pm, this spot offers $5 wines, $4 tap beer, $6 cocktails, and some great deals on food: 89-cent clams and oysters among them.

Hotel Metro

Downtown

The lounge adjacent to the lobby of the Hotel Metro is awash in art deco swank, and on Friday after the workweek is done, the bar is where many Milwaukeeans go to unwind in style, at the boutique hotel’s popular happy hour. Sure, the $3 beer and $4 wine specials are nice, but it’s the $5 martinis that have a way of making stress disappear for a while. (Those $7 Champagne Saturdays aren't hurting us either).

Boone & Crockett

Boone & Crockett

Bay View

The hip tavern mixes some mean cocktails, and has a small craft beer tap list that's big on quality. Luckily, both of these things are on special from 4 to 7pm every blessed night of the week -- expect $5 house cocktails (including their Old Fashioneds), and half-off taps. The space itself is well-worth spending time in -- the old-school décor manages to rock equal parts steampunk, saloon, and hunting lodge.

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