This diverse neighborhood offers a wide array of watering holes and eateries (many with vegan options, of course), pristine recreation areas and quirky local retailers and art venues.
Map of Riverwest Hotspots
1) Café Corazón
3129 N. Bremen St.
With its eclectic décor and fantastic menu featuring countless vegan and meat-filled options, it’s no wonder that Café Corazón is one of the most popular Latin cuisine restaurants in town. Although it has since expanded to Bay View and Mequon, Café Corazón’s Riverwest location is my favorite and offers unbeatable outdoor seating in the warmer months.
733 E. Clarke St.
The Riverwest Co-Op’s Café is quintessential Riverwest. Part of a grocery store that offers organic food at reduced prices to members and volunteers, its café has a diverse array of breakfast, lunch and dinner options — all of which, unsurprisingly, are vegetarian or vegan.
3) Nessun Dorma
2778 N. Weil St.
Located in a converted house, Nessun Dorma is a hidden gem. The restaurant is small, but cozy, with paintings by local artists decorating the walls. Its menu is also small but offers enough delicious panini, entrees and desserts to make up for its size. Its beer, wine and liquor selection is also impressive and is far longer than its menu.
808 E. Chambers St.
Dino’s wasn’t always the beloved Italian restaurant it is today; it opened in 1968 as a bar and eventually began offering fish fries and Italian food in the 80s. Today, it’s menu doesn’t fit neatly into either category, as Dino’s serves everything from burgers to pasta with fries to pan-toasted salmon.
930 E. Wright St.
Riverwest Pizza opened in 2014, filling a pizza-shaped void in the area. Though this pizza joint’s pies have locally-themed names and delicious flavors, its fried brussels sprouts and bruschetta are truly to die for.
6) Kabob Hub
2713 N. Bremen St.
Located across the street from Foundation and close to Company Brewing, Kabob Hub is a mecca for drunk food and, due to its low prices, a cheap lunch or dinner. We recommend their shawarma and falafel in particular.
7) Fuel Café
818 E. Center St.
Fuel has been a staple in Riverwest since ’93, and for good reason. Its menu offers a wide variety of vegan sandwiches at low prices to please local clientele, as well as some meat options for non-vegans. And we must mention its delicious coffee — there’s a reason Lakefront Brewery uses its brew for its coffee stout.
701 E. Keefe Ave.
Located on the north side of Riverwest, this restaurant and bar is not as well known to Riverwesters and Milwaukeeans as it should be. Its atmosphere is often quiet and its servers friendly, offering menu options ranging from their Vegetarian Sloppy to a smoked provolone burger. Try one of their 30 draught beers to complement your meal.
9) Mad Planet
533 E. Center St.
Any night at the dance club Mad Planet is bound to be interesting, to say the least. The club’s energy is always high, but its clientele and vibe varies widely based on the theme of the night. A Beyonce vs. Rihanna night that I attended, for example, brought in a younger, rowdier crowd, whereas their Friday night Retro Dance Party brings in a (sometimes awkward) mix of Millennials and Baby Boomers. Be sure to ask the bartenders about their nightly drink specials.
10) Art Bar
722 E. Burleigh St.
Half art gallery, half chill bar. Art Bar’s friendly staff and welcoming atmosphere will make you feel right at home while sipping your beer or coffee. The fact that dogs are welcome is also a nice perk.
2718 N. Bremen St.
Entering Foundation, a converted house, is like climbing through the wardrobe into Narnia. Once inside, dim lighting and tiki decorations make you feel like you’ve entered another world. The bar is often near or at capacity, though, so it can be near-impossible to find a table. But if you do and are feeling adventurous, order their Volcano Bowl, which is a flaming bowl filled with rum, maraschino liqueur and tropical flavors. Like many of Foundation’s drinks, its sweetness masks the strength of its alcohol, so drink slowly.
12) Company Brewing
735 E. Center St.
The chill atmosphere, extensive beer (and cocktail) tap list — we recommend the Zombie Killer Mead — and limited but delicious dinner options make Company Brewing the perfect spot for a quiet night out. There’s often a local musical act performing on stage too, so be sure to check out their events schedule ahead of time.
909 E. Locust St.
Black Husky Brewing is hands-down the most dog-friendly bar in town: their website lists Smokey the black husky as Vice President. Smokey, or another dog, is usually behind the counter, ready to bark, and their friendly bartenders are than happy to hand out samples and help you decide which dog-themed beer to order. Pro-tip: wear Flannel on Fridays before 6 p.m. and get beer at a reduced price.
14) Bremen Café
901 E. Clarke St.
Every weekend, Bremen Café’s patrons bop along to local bonds, sip on craft beer and play pinball. This café-turned-bar also offers Monday night Karaoke for those who want to take the stage themselves, as well as Tuesday night trivia.
2943 N. Humboldt Blvd.
Given the popularity of biking in the area (not to mention Riverwest’s own 24-hour bike race), it’s no wonder that one of Milwaukee’s best bike shops is located in this neighborhood. Their bikes are made for urban riding, and you can order one either online or in their store, which is connected to the Humboldt Colectivo.
3258 N. Humboldt Blvd.
Kellner’s has been around, in various forms, for more than 120 years, so it’s safe to say they know their way around a garden. They offer anything you could need for your green space or porch, from organic vegetables to hanging baskets.
705 E. Center St.
Since 2014, Riverwest Tattoo Company has been providing customers with all the ink they could ever want. Their artists are great with custom tattoos, so come with your darkest or nerdiest ideas and see them realized.
824 E. Center St.
This video store is such a mainstay of the community that it has its own documentary, featured in the 2018 Milwaukee Film Fest. Its history and quirky aesthetic is likely what’s keeping the shop alive in the era of streaming services.
Nature & Recreation
2230 N. Bremen St.
Located on a hill in the south of Riverwest, Kilbourn Reservoir Park offers some of the best views of the city’s skyline, as well as a baseball field, basketball court and community garden.
20) Beerline Trail
The Beerline Trail spans the whole of Riverwest. From Stubby’s Gastropub and Beer Bar through Gordon Park, the trail runs continuously along the Milwaukee River, but the rest is a bit fragmented, so take a look at a map before you start walking, running or cycling.
21) Kern Park and Pleasant Valley Park
3614 N. Humboldt Blvd.
Riverwest’s east side is full of green spaces, and Kern and Pleasant Valley are two of its best parks. With tennis courts, baseball fields and plenty of trails, these parks can fulfill all of your recreation needs.
3243 N. Weil St.
In the center of Riverwest is this fully fenced-in haven for doggos. A block long and a block wide, Roverwest has plenty of room for Fido to run free and make new friends.
Arts & Culture
23) The Ski Club
3172 N. Bremen St.
The Ski Club features local artists and those from around the country. Be aware that this artist-run gallery is only open from 1-3 p.m. on Sundays or by appointment.
926 E. Center. St.
The Riverwest Artists Association’s central hub serves as more of a community arts center than anything else. It offers live music and art exhibits, and the collaborative has also organized evens like the ArtWalk, which highlights the workplaces of local artists.