Milwaukee Rooftop Dining & Bar Guide

If drinks and food are always better when paired with a view, then there is no better place to be than on the roof.

From Milwaukee’s Third Ward out to the western ‘burbs there are a few choice spots to book a table between May and October. Make sure to bring your sunglasses and your smartphone because you are going to want to take snaps of the view, whether the sun is cresting into the horizon or it’s a new-to-you glimpse of Milwaukee at high noon.

The Outsider 

Photo Courtesy of The Outsider
Photo Courtesy of The Outsider






Things turn Tiki when you zip up the elevator to the 9th floor at The Journeyman Hotel. Yes, you can sip an Oaxacan Exchange (mezcal with lime, orange-peppercorn and pink sea-salt mist) but some of the food skews tropical, too, with mini tuna tartare cones and frozen push-pops in flavors like Orange Creamsicle. Bonus: indoor and outdoor spaces are compatible with fussy weather, but if it’s sunny out, definitely grab a spot in a sectional sofa within the L-shaped outdoor space. You’ve never seen this view of Lake Michigan before, trust us.

Photo Courtesy of Visit Milwaukee

Café Benelux

You can see a lot from a second-story roof in the Third Ward, it turns out. Café Benelux’s rooftop space is open for lunch and dinner—as well as weekend brunch—on warm-weather days. Umbrellas over each table shield you from the sun. With a menu modeled after Belgium’s cafes, signature dishes include cheese-stuffed bitterballen, mussels with frites or gulden draak pecan pie, plus a hearty roster of sandwiches, salads and burgers.

Ugly’s Pub

The second floor of Ugly’s Pub opens onto a rooftop patio with birds-eye views of Old World Third Street. Enjoy rooftop happy hour specials after work or a live DJ at night. The patio is outfitted in comfy lounge seating and tables, and there’s plenty of standing room as well. Dress to impress — this scene is anything but Ugly.

Ugly's Pub exterior shot
Photo by Jeremy Baccash

Zen on 7

Named for its seventh-floor perch at the top of Hotel Metro, many people still don’t know about this cozy gem. One reason is that it’s now only available for private events (in other words, if you score an invite, go!). Plants and a mini garden add color and the feeling like you’re at your cool cousin’s pad in Brooklyn, while a fireplace (both indoors and out) staves off any cool weather. Walls of windows ensure the view of downtown-Milwaukee’s skyline is never compromised.

Pizza Man

Photo Courtesy of Pizza Man

It was a sad day when the original Pizza Man location on East North Avenue burned to the ground in 2010—but pizza-loving palates rejoiced when owner Mike Amidzich announced he was reopening in a new spot. At the Downer Avenue eatery—there are two other Pizza Man restaurants, in Oak Creek and Wauwatosa—is a glass-enclosed rooftop with a retractable roof to snap shut on cooler days or during inclement weather. But cross your fingers for sun and you’ll have the pleasure of eating pizza above Downer Avenue.

Photo Courtesy of Taylor’s People’s Park

Taylor’s People’s Park

For years, Taylor’s has been a popular East Town bar. In 2009 its owners opened this little sibling in downtown Waukesha. Earlier this month the rooftop opened for the season, with beers on tap and the same menu that’s served downstairs for lunch, dinner and weekend brunch (Crème Brûlée French Toast is among the delicacies). For a group, this is a great place to meet as the culinary offerings are varied, from a brat burger on a pretzel bun to four entrée-sized salads (including “Rosie’s Garden,” greens tossed in balsamic-raspberry vinaigrette), and will easily satisfy picky palates.

Milwaukee Athletic Club

On the 13th floor of this membership-based club on North Broadway in downtown Milwaukee is a rooftop lounge open for private member events only–such as the recent Kentucky Derby party. Members have access to the rooftop and it’s also available for weddings and other events surrounding the Big Day. With exposed-brick walls and twinkling white lights, it’s a cute little spot in the downtown corridor.



A seasoned writer, and a former editor at Milwaukee Home & Fine Living, Kristine Hansen launched her wine-writing career in 2003, covering wine tourism, wine and food pairings, wine trends and quirky winemakers. Her wine-related articles have published in Wine Enthusiast, Sommelier Journal, Uncorked (an iPad-only magazine),, and Whole Living (a Martha Stewart publication). She's trekked through vineyards and chatted up winemakers in many regions, including Chile, Portugal, California (Napa, Sonoma and Central Coast), Canada, Oregon and France (Bordeaux and Burgundy). While picking out her favorite wine is kind of like asking which child you like best, she will admit to being a fan of Oregon Pinot Noir and even on a sub-zero winter day won't turn down a glass of zippy Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc.