Ask Ann: Where to Dine Solo in Milwaukee

Got a dining question? Our critic answers it.

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Can you name some places where you feel comfortable dining solo?

A: I like to dine alone, too, and the bars at local restaurants can be welcoming spots. You can engage in banter with the bartender or a fellow solo diner, or be free to channel inward while having your meal.

For bars, I like Beans & Barley, where I often see solo diners eating and reading; recently expanded Buckley’s, where there’s a new, small bar but it’s cozy and inviting; Elsa’s on the Park, which offers the bonus of great people-watching; and Bavette la Boucherie, which has an active solo-dining crowd, particularly at lunchtime – and no need to bring reading materials. With meal prep and butchery happening behind the counter, this place is a feast for the eyes.

If you’d rather solo it at a table, try warm, bright Tre Rivali at the Kimpton Journeyman Hotel, Celesta (plant-based eats in a tiny, friendly space), Cafe at the Plaza (for a diner-y breakfast or lunch), Le Rêve Patisserie & Café (on the open, breezy first floor) or Harbor House, because the days are getting a little longer and there is no better restaurant view of Lake Michigan.

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“Ask Ann” appears in the March 2019 issue of Milwaukee Magazine.

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Ann Christenson has covered dining for Milwaukee Magazine since 1997. She was raised on a diet of casseroles that started with a pound of ground beef and a can of Campbell's soup. Feel free to share any casserole recipes with her.