Vault Is Downtown’s Newest Cocktail Lounge

Overlooking the Milwaukee River, the new bar has classic cocktails and a light food menu.

Looking for a new place to imbibe, and maybe take in a nice view? I’ve got one. Vault just opened on the Associated Bank River Center – a development that includes the Pabst Theater and Saint Kate – The Arts Hotel. This place has been in the works for quite a while and has a very specific, and obvious, hook: the Milwaukee River. With “floor-to-ceiling views” (per the press release) and a three-season patio 50 feet above the river, Vault clearly doesn’t lack ambiance.

Lions Tail cocktail at Vault; Photo courtesy of 41Fork Hospitality Management


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Drink-wise, the menu offers classic cocktails like the Manhattan, martini, old fashioned and negroni. The bar’s signature cocktails include the Paper Plane (aperol, amaro, bourbon), Bramble (blackberry liqueur, gin) and Close Shave (St. Germaine, rosemary simple syrup, vodka, prosecco). There’s also a light food menu with options like pimento cheese and crostini ($9) seasonal burrata salad ($13), cheese and charcuterie ($21) and various raw bar selections, like oysters ($23 for a dozen), tiger prawns ($18), ceviche ($13) and ahi tuna ($15).

Tiger prawns at Vault; Photo courtesy of 41Fork Hospitality Management

The bar is run by 41Fork Hospitality Management (formerly F Street Hospitality), the company that also operates Pizza Man, Noble Catering and Events and Timmers Resort. 

Vault is not the only recent, F&B-oriented arrival to the River Center. Earlier this summer, this trio of businesses opened ­– KnockBox Coffee & Market, Toro Tacos & Bowls (an Asian-Latin inspired taqueria) and the sandwich shop On Rye. KnockBox serves Stone Creek Coffee, Rishi teas and smoothies, with future plans to offer locally made pastries, breakfast sandwiches and bagels. Among Toro’s menu items are cauliflower tacos ($12), Korean pork tacos ($12) and an elote ramen bowl ($10). And On Rye is doing deli sandwiches with hand-carved pastrami and corned beef ($10-$15).   

Hours for Vault are Wed-Thurs, Sun 4-8 p.m.; Fri-Sat 4-10 p.m.



Ann Christenson has covered dining for Milwaukee Magazine since 1997. She was raised on a diet of casseroles that started with a pound of ground beef and a can of Campbell's soup. Feel free to share any casserole recipes with her.