Upscale but playful Spanish inn, bar, and restaurant
The patio at Hotel Madrid is one of the best kept secret spaces in the city. An extension of the hotel's vermouth bar, Vermuteria 600, and restaurant, Bodegon, the patio has the same fancy, but playful and unpretentious vibe. Thanks to tiled walls, a covered pergola, and beautiful light fixtures, it feels like an interior space that's just missing a couple walls. There's a huge open hearth where meat is cooked and huge paellas simmer on AYCE paella night. It's gorgeous and homey, and then they bring you a giant cocktail mixed with homemade vermouth in a ceramic T-rex named Tomas and four straws, and you think, oh, neat.
Tropical oasis in the middle of an industrial area
Barnacle Bud's isn't a secret anymore, but it's still a pain to find if you've never been there before. (You need to enter the parking lots where it looks like you shouldn't go.) That only contributes to the feeling that it's some Key West tropical oasis in the middle of Milwaukee, complete with a colorful ramshackle building, sun bleached picnic tables, and two patios -- just try to avoid looking at the disgusting river that does not resemble the Caribbean in any way. But there are vaguely tropical cocktails with names like Dumpster Punch served in Mason jars, so it's all good!