While many festivals come and go throughout the summer in Milwaukee, not one makes quite the impression like Summerfest. The anticipation builds all year round, with updates on stage line-ups and Marcus Amphitheater headliners trickling into our email inboxes. Come late June, the city is bursting at the seams with people from all over the states coming not only to see the performers, but also to experience all the madness and excitement that swarms around the fairgrounds.
Yesterday marked the last day of this year’s Summerfest, and whether you loved all of the festival’s hullabaloo and want to keep celebrating like it never ended – or you’d rather find a quiet bar to relax in and dissect your favorite artist’s performance – Milwaukee’s East Side has the bar for you.
Hotel Foster (2028 E. North Ave.)
This two-story lounge is positively filled to the brim with seating, from antique sofas and vintage armchairs inside to metal lawn furniture upstairs on the covered balcony, leaving you with plenty of places to rest your weary, festival-trodden feet. Serving up craft beers and cocktails these days alongside a mason jar of water to rehydrate in this stuffy weather, Hotel Foster is the place to be to keep the party going with class.
Stubby’s (2060 N. Humboldt Ave.)
Don’t judge a book by its cover, or in this case, don’t judge a bar by its name. What sounds like your average sports bar is actually a spectacular beer bar, boasting more than 50 beers on tap ranging from “For the Hopheads” and “Light, White & Crisp” to “Rich, Red & Brown” and “Dark, Porter & Stout.” With a prime location right on the Milwaukee River on the eastern side of the Humboldt Avenue Bridge, a seat by the riverfront in the summer evening air is calling your name. (Or you can hide inside in the A/C and play arcade games. On a few recent nights, I wouldn’t blame you.)
Red Dot (2498 N. Bartlett Ave.) & Champion’s Pub (2417 N. Bartlett Ave.)
Nestled back into a residential neighborhood a quick stroll from the hustle and bustle of East North Avenue sit Red Dot and Champion’s Pub. Located on the same block, these two bars are both winning combinations of low-key, quiet and lovely, so much so that they seem oft forgotten. Disappointed you will not be, however, by your ability to have a conversation with your fellow concertgoers without having to scream directly into their ears, regardless of whether you’re seated inside or out.