Shanty Smackdown: Barnacle Bud’s vs. The Twisted Fisherman Crab Shack

Shanty Smackdown: Barnacle Bud’s vs. The Twisted Fisherman Crab Shack

Which waterfront shanty suits your style?


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Your Milwaukee Summer Bucket List


Barnacle Bud’s

WHAT TO EXPECT: Picnic tables butt up against the river and drinks are served in Mason jars.

WHAT’S THE VIBE: It’s Key West and Jimmy Buffett all the way, with twinkly lights overhead and nautical ropes tied between wooden posts. Part of the adventure is finding the place (tucked behind a boat-repair facility).

INSIDER TIP: In good weather, the wait for a table can be long. But if you’re just there to drink, head around the corner to the side bar, where you can often snag a stool immediately.

BE FOREWARNED: Vegan, vegetarian or gluten-free? Your main menu option is French fries. This is meaty meat burger (and fried fish), all the way.

The Twisted Fisherman Crab Shack

WHAT TO EXPECT: Picnic tables and cute yellow Adirondack chairs, with a raised deck-like platform. There’s even some sand for you to dip your toes into.

WHAT’S THE VIBE: A little bit of Nantucket, by way of Gilligan’s Island. The kitchen shows signs of aspiration, with seafood entrees that skew beyond fried perch to include delicacies like Dungeness crab and mussels in wine sauce.

INSIDER TIP: You need not wait for perfect weather. If it’s a chilly or windy summer night (Hello, this is Wisconsin!), there is tons of seating inside or under the walled tent.

BE FOREWARNED: Live reggae music can seriously wreck conversations with fellow diners on Friday and Saturday nights.

“Celebrate Summer” appears in the June 2018 issue of Milwaukee Magazine.

Find it on newsstands beginning May 28th, or buy a copy at

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