A Guide to Milwaukee’s Outdoor Dining Options

Don’t you just love summer dining in the city?

Cafe at the Plaza; photo by Matt Haas Photography, courtesy of Visit Milwaukee

BY EVERETT SULLIVAN AND GRETA WAINWRIGHT

Balistreri’s Bluemound Inn

6501 W. BLUEMOUND RD.

Over the years, this Italian restaurant has become a popular spot for pizza and Sicilian-inspired pasta dishes. And its wooden patio, where hanging plants sway from the rafters in the summer months, is a great place to while away an afternoon or evening.

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Belair Cantina

1935 N. WATER ST. |2625 N. DOWNER AVE. | 6817 W. NORTH AVE., WAUWATOSA | 250 HIGH ST., BROOKFIELD | 410 W. TOWN SQUARE WAY, OAK CREEK

Every BelAir Cantina location has a spacious patio ready to go. This summer, the tables have been arranged to allow for social distancing , with decorative flourishes added to keep things from looking sparse. The always-popular summer menu is in season with all the usual favorites – quesadillas, tacos, etc. – and BelAir is planning to roll out “a few surprises” for guests, as well.

Blue Bat

249 N. WATER ST. 

Blue Bat’s patio is directly on the Milwaukee River and offers a view of the water along with their pitchers of margaritas – an ideal combo this summer. Blue Bat expanded its patio in preparation for reopening to offer more outdoor dining options than ever before. Blue Bat also serves over 160 tequila varieties as well as street food dishes from around the world.

Botanas

816 S. FIFTH ST.

This sprawling Walker’s Point restaurant boasts an equally sprawling outdoor patio. It’s the perfect place to enjoy some fresh guacamole and a margarita, or two, or three, before strolling up and down Fifth Street for a little retail therapy.

Café at the Plaza

1007 N. CASS ST. 

The Plaza’s idyllic, ivy-covered courtyard looks like something you might expect to find attached to a charming French café. Order up some of its seasonal pastries, served with honey butter and jam, and eat them while reading something by Albert Camus – you’ll feel like you’re in Paris.

Centro Café

808 E. CENTER ST.

Centro is opening a freshly remodeled sunken patio coming off of its deck this summer, which will expand outdoor seating options. The patio has the feeling of a backyard garden with plentiful shrubbery and decoration. Centro will be offering its summer menu, full of Italian-inspired favorites, and nightly specials as well.

Grimaldi’s

20119 LORD ST., BROOKFIELD

Grimaldi’s is rightfully lauded for its oven-baked pizza and its thin, New York-style crust. But its generous patio, protected from the elements by an oversized awning, deserves just as much love and is an idyllic spot for a summer slice.

Jackson’s Blue Ribbon Pub

1203 N. 10TH ST.

Jackson’s Blue Ribbon Pub boasts a large patio that can accommodate 90 people even with proper 6-foot social distancing. Jackson’s has prepared an impressive lineup of live music on the weekends to enjoy along with daily specials, wings, burgers and beer.

Onesto

221 N. BROADWAY

Onesto, in the heart of the Third Ward, offers a bistro-style outdoor patio space to enjoy Italian dining. The casual, European atmosphere and delicious food pair well, and Onesto has also renovated its patio to offer even more space for diners to enjoy.

Smoke Shack

332 N. MILWAUKEE ST. 

Smoke Shack’s outdoor space has the feel of a backyard barbecue, where you can enjoy ribs and a cozy atmosphere. Enjoy a brunch, lunch or dinner with a wide selection of slow-smoked dishes. Smoke Shack will also offer live blues music on weekends this summer, a welcome addition after these long months without live music.

View MKE

1818 N. HUBBARD ST.

View MKE’s view is so impressive it’s literally the name of the restaurant, and both its upper and lower patios will be open this summer, as well as the outdoor bar. View MKE will serve a wide array of entrées along with an impressive cocktails menu. To help ensure safety and manage customer density, reservations are encouraged.


This story is part of Milwaukee Magazine‘s August issue

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