Should You Try a Paddle or Pedal Tavern?

To pedal or to paddle? That is the question. If you’re choosing between the two, here’s a look at how they compare.

Hop aboard a bar on wheels, or now, on the water. If you’ve been in the Third Ward or Walker’s Point recently, you’ve surely seen — or at least heard of — Pedal Taverns. Milwaukee Pedal & Paddle has several bikes in their fleet to accommodate the throngs of people who want to drink aboard a mobile tavern.

The group added a new option this year: A paddle-powered bar boat called the Paddle Tavern. The boat cruises down the Milwaukee River while the bikes traverse through the Third Ward or Walker’s Point.

The novelty of drinking while touring is just something that never get old to Milwaukeeans, especially when with a group of friends. These taverns create the option to join a public tour with a small group or book the entire bike/boat for your own private party.

So if you’re choosing an experience by land or by lake, here’s how the two compare:  

Photo courtesy of Jenna Kashou
Photo via Milwaukee Paddle Tavern
  Bikes (pedal) Boats (paddle)
Price per person (Saturday public tour) $37 $45
Length of tour 2 hours 1 hour 40 mins.
Stops 3-4 of your choosing 1-2 – The Sail Loft or Boone & Crockett
Drinking aboard Yes – 3 cans per person Yes – no restrictions
Food allowed? Yes Yes
Guests allowed 16 14
Tour guide 1 person to steer 1 captain, 1 first mate
Music? Bring your own Bring your own
Difficulty level Moderately hard Pretty easy (boat is equipped with an engine)

Pricing varies throughout the week and public tours are available Thursday-Sunday. Both bike and boat tours start from the Cooperage building (822 S. Water St.). 

To sum it up, for people that like more stops and want to cover more ground, try the bikes. If you’re looking for more of a relaxing experience where you can nosh comfortably, and you don’t need to check out the bars, try the boats.

To check the public tour schedule or for information on private tours, click here.



Jenna Kashou is a writer, storyteller and journalist specializing in lifestyle and culture feature writing for print and web. She is a frequent contributor to Milwaukee Magazine, MKE Lifestyle Magazine, The Business Journal and more. She was chosen as the fifth writer in residence at the historic Pfister Hotel where she wrote about and photographed guests and events. A Milwaukee native, Kashou has lived abroad and visited far-flung locales like Greece, Portugal, Spain, Brazil, and Argentina. She has always had an enormous sense of pride for her hometown and spreads this Milwaukee love everywhere she goes.