Bradford Beach: Sun, sand and a cold one? It’s like a tasteful, three-month long spring break. Photo: Leslie Kirchhoff.
Grab a margarita and a bar stool at a tiki bar on Bradford Beach (North Lincoln Memorial Drive) and settle in for serious scenery. The expanse of fine sand, the enormity of Lake Michigan, the athletic beach bodies of volleyball players, the occasional tanned beer gut jutting unapologetically over a frighteningly small Speedo – when it comes to views, Bradford doesn’t discriminate. It’s a people-watching paradise with great drinks and plenty of action. Sit and stay a while.
Harbor House: The patio with the luckiest Adirondack chairs in the city. Photo: John December.
The view from Harbor House’s patio (550 N. Harbor Dr.) can’t be beat. It’s not even debatable. From my deck chair on the sliver of land that juts into Lake Michigan, I’ve got the perfect vantage point. A stunning Downtown scene? Check. A gorgeous look at the Milwaukee Art Museum? Yep. The majesty of the lake and the undulating Milwaukee coastline? You bet. The amazing scenery isn’t limited to the patio. Walls of windows ensure that diners inside can take in the landscape, too.
SandBar Sports Pub (W278 N2315 Prospect Ave., Pewaukee) caters to those in Lake Country who are committed to casual. On a hot summer day, the bar’s wooden picnic tables, perched on the edge of Pewaukee Lake, are the furniture of choice and a great place to nibble on bar food, down a High Life and watch boaters float by. Feel like joining them? The SandBar rents pontoon boats and personal watercraft. But save the cocktails for after you’re safely docked.
Zen on Seven
Dizzying. That’s the best way to describe what it’s like when I peer over the edge of the seventh-floor patio at the Hotel Metro (411 E. Mason St.). When it comes to outdoor spaces, Zen on Seven, ahem, reaches new heights. The wraparound deck offers breathtaking views of Downtown and includes a full bar, a cozy garden area and a fireplace. A stiff drink in this welcoming environment is a big step toward enlightenment.
Rolling through the Third Ward or Walker’s Point on a moving bar stool ensures that the scenery is always changing. The Pedal Tavern uses human power to move up to 16 patrons from bar to bar (each stop provides respite for weary legs and a good excuse for shots). Thankfully, there’s no need to worry about steering – a Pedal Tavern employee does that. Patrons just need to make sure they’re pulling their own weight on the pedals.
This article appears in the 2014 City Guide in the June 2014 issue of