Food & Drink

The Best Happy Hours in Your Milwaukee Neighborhood

Balzac
Balzac | Lacey Muszynski/Thrillist
Balzac | Lacey Muszynski/Thrillist

If there's one thing Milwaukeeans might love even more than alcohol, it's a good deal. Combine the two into that magical time called happy hour, and we are thrilled to camp out on a barstool buying cheap drinks for as long as they'll let us. Hence, this roundup of the best happy hour deals around our city, with special attention paid to spots that run late into the night or on weekends, include discounts on food to soak up the beverages, or just have dirt-cheap prices. Next time you're thirsty in an unfamiliar neighborhood, check out this list.

Downtown

Harbor House
Lakefront seafood restaurant with a view
When: Monday-Friday 4-6pm
The Deal: Seafood deals are few and far between around here, so Harbor House's happy hour is one to take note of. Freshly shucked oysters and clams are $1.25 each, while fish and chips, mussels, and a half pound of peel-and-eat shrimp are $8.95. On the drinks side, select drafts and house wines are $5, while specialty cocktails are $6.

Ward's House of Prime
Downtown steakhouse known for giant slabs of prime rib
When: Monday-Friday 4-7pm
The Deal: While you won't get a deal on a hunk of prime rib during HH, you will leave watered and fed at Ward's. Three-dollar drinks include rail cocktails, Miller, CiderBoys and Point taps, or get house wine or specialty martinis for $5. For another fiver, get egg rolls, mozzarella sticks, or Sriracha chicken bites, or various flatbreads for $6.

Taylor's
Dim, club-like bar off Cathedral Square
When: Tuesday-Friday 4-8pm and all day Mondays
The Deal: All wines and tap beers are a buck off during happy hour, which is really not a great deal at all. But, lots of top-ish shelf drinks are only $4, huzzah! That includes Ketel One and all its flavors, Jack Daniels, Bombay, Captain Morgan, Bacardi, Korbel, Bulleit, so go wild. There are also some rudimentary free apps, but they go fast.

Walker's Point

Fuel Cafe on 5th
Spacious second location of a classic Riverwest motorcycle bar and restaurant
When: Monday-Friday 3-6pm
The Deal: Fuel is known to be a no-nonsense kind of place, and that same philosophy extends to their happy hour: Taps are $3, and apps like carne asada fries and cheese curds are $5. Simple. (You can still add a bomb pop to your drink for a buck.)

Camino
Well-curated craft beer bar with great burgers
When: Monday-Friday 2-5pm
The Deal: Rail drinks and wine are buy one get one, PBR is $2, and you get a free pierogi with any craft beer purchase. Will that pierogi fill you up? No, but we love free, and it'll hold you over until you can order another daily special like $5 burgers on Mondays.

Meraki
Intimate restaurant serving international cuisine with an optional tasting menu
When: Tuesday-Saturday 4:30-6:30pm
The Deal: We find a rare Saturday happy hour at Meraki. Craft cocktails like the Garden of Earthly Delights with Rehorst barrel-aged gin, amaro, and thyme syrup are $5 off, making them $8. Beer, wine, and other mixers are all $2 off. Bar bites are half price ($2.50) and include nibbles like house-cured sardines, smoked rabbit wings, and fried Brussels.

Brady Street

Nomad World Pub
Busy soccer bar with colorful patio
When: Monday-Friday 4-5pm
The Deal: Though it's one of the shortest happy hours, it's mighty. Starting at 4pm, almost everything is $1; at 4:20pm, everything is $2; and from 4:40-5pm, everything is $3. Simple, but effective. 

Balzac
Chic, casual wine bar
When: Monday-Friday 4-6pm
The Deal: When the hubbub of Brady Street gets to be a little too much, Balzac is there to mellow you out. Tap wines are five bucks, and they're actually good, too. Plus there's a rotating selection of $5 small plates, including stuff like chicken liver bruschetta and gorgeous cheese plates. On Sundays starting at 9pm, order a drink and get whatever free food the kitchen sends you in an effort to reduce kitchen waste.

East Village

Fink's
Quirky cocktail lounge with pinball
When: Monday-Friday 4-6pm, all day Sunday
TheDeal: Cocktails at Fink's are classic and delicious, and you can get them for $5 during HH, along with $3 taps. Sundays are the best, because HH runs all day and if it's a Packers Sunday, there are free brats.

Bay View

Lost Whale
Mellow, cozy craft cocktail bar
When: Monday-Friday 4-6pm
The Deal: This vintage-feel bar takes its cocktails seriously, and you can get menu cocktails (and tap beer) at 50% off during happy hour. That includes house staples like a negroni spritz, a blast-from-the-past harvey wallbanger, and a superb old fashioned with 10-year brandy, Door County cherry, and their own blend of bitters for just $4.50 during HH.

Harbor View

O'Lydia's
Vaguely Irish pub that runs free event shuttles
When: Monday-Friday 2-6pm
The Deal: Rails are $3, cans of PBR are $2, and all tap beers are $3, including faves like Fantasy Factory, Riverwest Stein, and Guinness. Select appetizers are just $5, too, so you can make a full meal out of wings, sliders, and a few brews. There's also wing night, burger night, taco night, lasagna night...

Third Ward

Milwaukee Sail Loft
Breezy seafood restaurant with a dock and patio on the river
When: Monday-Friday 3-7pm
The Deal: There's a lot of specific drink specials here: $4 tall rails, $3 Miller Lite and Sam Adams drafts, $4 Black Box wine, and $5 Smirnoff martinis. That's great and all, but it's the handful of $6 snacks that are the real standouts, including a half-pound of peel-and-eat shrimp and hot crab dip.

Mitchell Street

Bryant's Cocktail Lounge
Intimate, best-of-the-best cocktail lounge since 1938
When: Sunday-Thursday 5-8pm
The Deal: Bryant's is a national treasure and a cocktail institution, even inventing a few of their own drinks like the pink squirrel and blue tail fly. Here you'll find the elusive Sunday happy hour, when old fashioneds are $5, along with a number of other Depression-era cocktails. Try a candle light, made with vodka, raspberry puree, and peach and served flaming.

Riverwest

Art*Bar
Eclectic, dog-friendly bar and locals hangout
When: Monday-Saturday 3-7pm 
The Deal: Art*Bar encapsulates its Riverwest neighborhood nicely, with a rugged, artsy, and ramshackle atmosphere and lots of give-no-fucks attitude. That's why happy hour is so low-key: almost everything is two-for-one. Who needs to deal with changing prices when you can just get two instead of one?

Potawatomi Hotel & Casino
Courtesy of Potawatomi Hotel & Casino

Menomonee River Valley

Potawatomi Hotel & Casino
Casino with a variety of bars and restaurants
When: Monday-Friday 4-8pm
The Deal: If you can stand the cigarette smoke and whatever that perfume is they pump in to cover it up, the "three cheers" happy hour at Poto really is worth celebrating, especially since it runs until 8pm. Almost all taps, bottles, house-call drinks and wines by the glass are $3 at Bar 360, The Fire Pit, Bella Italiana, The Buffet, and on the casino floor.

Avenues West

Murphy's
Irish-themed college bar
When: Monday-Thursday 5-8pm
The Deal: Located right off the Marquette campus, Murphy's is a college student hangout, so the deals are cheap and abundant. Happy hour runs late all the way until 8pm, but the catch is that it's not available on Fridays. You'll get $3 rails and tappers though, and other drink and food specials tend to start right after HH.

West Allis

The Drunk Uncle
Dive bar with 48 taps and a wrestling obsession
When: Saturdays from 2-8pm and Sundays
The Deal: OK, so it's not technically happy hour, but there's no way to leave this rowdy, amazing dive off this list with these deals. On Saturdays from 2-8pm, all IPAs are $1. And all day Sundays, everything is just $2. What more do you want??

Dinger's Pub
Quintessential MKE dive bar
When: Monday-Friday 3-7pm
The Deal: Dive bars will never go out of style in Milwaukee, especially in 'Stallis. Dinger's opened in 2018, so it doesn't smell like a foot yet. Which is great, because a select tap is $1 and rail mixers and domestic taps are $2. There's also not a single night without other food and drink specials, like AYCE tacos for $8.99 and 69-cent wings. West Allis, you're the best.

Shorewood

Three Lions Pub
Comfortable British soccer bar open early for matches
When: Monday-Friday 4-6pm and all day Thursdays
The Deal: Quench your thirst with house wine and PBR tallboys for $3, a featured beer for $4, and $5 select tall double cocktails. Appetizers are half price too, except the giant pretzel, which is $10. (If you're looking for the same deals closer to downtown, sister pub Red Lion has them, with the all-day HH on Wednesdays.)

Bluemound Heights

Brewski's Sports Club
Collegiate no-frills sports bar with a full food menu
When: Monday-Friday 3-6pm
The Deal: This large, low-key sports bar will remind you of your college days, especially if you show up for their free Brewers game shuttle. Happy hour is a simple affair, with two-for-one domestic taps and rail cocktails. Check their Facebook for other daily specials, too, like $5 pitchers or $7 pizzas.

Greenfield

Club Paragon
Lodge-like sports bar in the southwest 'burbs
When: 11am-6pm everyday
The Deal: A bucket of six domestic beers is $15.50 and a pitcher of margaritas is $10.50, so bring friends. The real kicker that puts this happy hour over the top though? A free nacho bar Monday through Fridays from 3-6pm. There's also great drink and food specials during Packers/Badgers/Brewers/Bucks games.

Franklin

Mulligans Irish Pub
Irish-themed pub with a large bar and separate dining room
When: Daily 2-6pm and 10pm-12am
The Deal: Happy hour runs for six hours each and every day at Mulligans. Micro taps are $3.50, import taps are $4.50, and rails are just $3. The best part is the half-price appetizers, though, so you can feel kinda sorta Irish with corned beef-stuffed pretzels and Scotch eggs on the cheap. If you're looking to make a meal out of apps, this is your spot on the far south side.

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Lacey Muszynski is a Thrillist contributor.