There's a New Bar in Milwaukee at the Miller High Life Theatre

The folks at Miller High Life Theatre have turned an old coat closet into a spacious, elegant bar to relax in while you wait for your show.

You could be visiting Miller High Life Theatre for any number of reasons.  Maybe you snagged tickets to see your old 90s R&B faves. Perhaps the Ukrainian National Ballet is in town. You could be walking the stage at graduation. Whatever you’re there for, your visit starts with the lobby. And if you’ve been there before, you’ll notice that it just got a whole lot bigger.

The former coat closet across the room from the theater’s main entrance has been torn down and rebuilt as Miss Lizzie’s, a brand new permanent bar space honoring the eponymous local philanthropist Elizabeth Plankinton. The bar formally launched Saturday at the Mystery Science Theater 3000 LIVE! show.

Sarah Maio, Vice president of marketing and communications for the theater, said that they carefully considered every detail from comfort and accessibility to aesthetic authenticity. “You can see it’s very distinctly constructed and designed to fit in the era of the facility,” says Maio. 

And fit in it does! The bar, which has been in development since early this Summer, looks right at home in the historic theater built in 1909 (previously the Milwaukee Auditorium). The bar is flanked by a Thorsten Lindberg mural on either side, “Milwaukee Industries” and “Wisconsin Agriculture” on the left and right respectively.

Photo courtesy of Miller High Life Theatre

On the wall adjacent to “Milwaukee Industries,” dark red drapes frame a portrait of Miss Lizzie herself, above a plaque commemorating her praises in Hampton’s Magazine, 1909. It reads, “She is not merely a woman of fashion. She is a traveler, especially of unbeaten paths. She is a business woman of ability. Above all, Miss Plankinton is a generous and public-spirited citizen of her native city.”

While you’re taking in the ambiance, you can enjoy beer on draft, Pepsi products or specialty themed cocktails mixed just for the event you’re there to see (such as the Robot Roll Call served on the bar’s evening debut, a fruity, fizzy mixture of Ciroc Peach, OJ and Sierra Mist). 

So next time you step in to the Miller High Life Theatre, come a little early and stop by Miss Lizzie’s to enjoy a drink before the show. If you get carried away by the décor and conversation, don’t worry, you can bring your Robot Roll Call to your seat.

More information about Miss Lizzie’s can be found at the Miller High Life Theatre’s website.



Calvin Lemieux is a Communication graduate from University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point. Following an internship with Milwaukee Magazine in Fall 2019 and graduation in Spring 2020, he returned to work as a freelance writer.