By Matt Mueller Culture Editor Published Dec 09, 2023 at 12:01 PM Photography: Visit Milwaukee

Welcome to Milwaukee, Fighting Irish and Golden Eagles fans near and far!

While we hope that the Notre Dame has a bad time on the Fiserv Forum court, we want to make sure you have a great time around Brew City regardless of Saturday's final score. So here's a guide to everything and anything you might be looking for during your Milwaukee visit – from nearby places to grab a delicious bite, to bars that'll quench your thirst for fun, to spots fabulous for the whole family and great entertainment beyond the basketball court. There's even options for where to grab food well after the game's final whistle. 

Here's your guide to a great Milwaukee visit. (Oh, and since you're here during the holiday season, here are some bonus spots and ideas for Brew City festive fun.)

Where to eat 


While you're in town to watch basketball players feast on the boards, you're probably going to want to feast yourself at some point. And while Fiserv Forum has plenty of delicious food options around gametime, the dining options around Milwaukee are too dynamite to stick solely with arena food during your visit. Here are several strong nearby options for a supper or a snack – and for even more delicious spots to dive into, here's our full Downtown dining guide and Deer District dining guide

Calderone Club 
842 N. Old World 3rd St., (414) 273-3236
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If you want a slice of delicious Milwaukee dining – as well as a tantalizing bite of Milwaukee history – grab a table at Calderone Club. The classic Italian restaurant offers plenty of tasty favorites but it specializes in pizza, still using recipes from some of the city's first slices. It's a great place to gather and gnaw on some good eats. 

Doc’s Commerce Smokehouse
754 Vel R. Phillips Ave., (414) 935-2029
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Brew City isn't known much for its barbecue (our smoked meat of choice tends to be a brat) but there are some solid spots to snag a succulent rib and then some, including Doc's Smokehouse found in the heart of Downtown. Featuring all your favorite satisfying smoked snacks – including ribs, pulled pork, brisket, hot links and more – and tasty taps to help wash them down, Doc's may be just what the doctor ordered to cure your stomach rumbles.

1041 N. Old World 3rd St., (414) 271-3377
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One of the last standing vestiges of Milwaukee's German culinary history, Mader's is a delicious taste of Brew City culture, cooking up filling German traditions like spaetzle, schnitzel, pork shank and more. You won't find a lot of diet plates here, but you'll definitely find delicious German eats in a cozy warm setting – and you'll find cheap and close parking, as those who come in for a drink or bite get complimentary parking close to everything around Deer District. 

Major Goolsby’s 
340 W. Kilbourn Ave., (414) 271-3414
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There's The MECCA Sports Bar down the road and the literal former MECCA across the street – but Major Goolsby's is a sports Mecca in its own right, an iconic sports bar hangout for Admirals, Bucks, UWM and Marquette fans for decades, with all the awesome memorabilia on the walls to prove it. And in case the sports-loving setting wasn't enough, Major Goolsby's has some majorly good bar eats as well, from tasty burgers to cheesy curds and more. 

The MECCA Sports Bar & Grill 
1134 N Vel R. Phillips Ave., (414) 908-0401
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The best seat for the big game? Obviously inside Fiserv Forum. But the next best option is just across the plaza at The MECCA, featuring superb Brew City bar classics like wings, burgers, sandwiches, cheese curds and more served alongside a hefty tap list. The true star at The MECCA, though, is the screen: a giant 38-foot television in the center of the bar impossible to miss from just about every table (with plenty of other screens too, if the main game isn't your sport of choice). It's the next best thing to an actual ticket next door. 

For even more dining options, click here or click here.

Where to drink 

Pilot Project BrewingX

You're in Brew City – so you might as well find a place to have a tasty beer! Of course Milwaukee isn't short on options – you can find a full list of wonderful watering holes just around Deer District right here – but here are a few fabulous spots to sip on some suds. (And if you want to drink in a real taste of Milwaukee culture and local spirit along with your drink of choice, check out one of the city's countless hidden gems, pubs and dives full of character that come locally loved.)

Drink Wisconsinbly Pub
320 W. Highland Ave., (414) 409-1740

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Drink Wisconsinbly: the number one spot for Sconnie memes online as well as the number one spot for Sconnie sips and drinks IRL, with a charmingly supper club-approved setting found in the shadow of Fiserv Forum pouring up plenty of tasty local brews – and, of course, Old Fashioneds. 

Milwaukee Brat House
1013 N. Doctor M.L.K. Jr Dr., (414) 273-8709
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Found close by Fiserv Forum on MLK Drive, the Downtown branch of Milwaukee Brat House serves as a perfect Sconnie sporting hub with its copious TV screens, taps upon taps of tasty beer and drinks, good company and – as you might expect from the name – sausages topped with all sorts of satisfying accompaniments. 

Pilot Project Brewing
1128 N. 9th St., (414) 395-1070

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Pilot your way over to one of the newest craft brewery names in Brew City: Pilot Project, found just a short walk away from Fiserv Forum in the Brewery District. This special incubator brewery, helping launch new brews, features a bright rooftop patio space, fun events, tasty bites tours and – of course – delicious beer from a variety of creative culinary minds you should be hopping to support. 

Uncle Bucks
1125 N Doctor M.L.K. Jr Dr, (414) 988-0355

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It's floors upon floors of fun at Uncle Bucks, found inches away from Deer District on MLK Drive. The Downtown bar has three levels of fun, from a cozy cabin-like hangout bar and restaurant area to its outstanding rooftop offering nifty people-watching views all around the neighborhood as well as roaring firepits for a comfortable conversational atmosphere no matter the season. 

Who's On Third
1007 N Doctor M.L.K. Jr Dr, (414) 897-8373
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Who's On Third? No idea – but I know who should be in Who's On Third: you! Found on the former Old World Third Street drag, this sporty taproom features plenty of screens for watching the day's big games, a friendly and festive atmosphere of young and old fans, and tasty bar grub perfect for night-out eats. 

For even more drinking options around Deer District, click here

Where to take the whole family 

3rd Street Market HallX

Bringing the whole brood to Brew City? Milwaukee's full of fun food options, tasty for all ages while also serving up a side of entertainment with your main courses. Here's some great options for your gaggle during your visit – and for even more options, for food and fun, check out our full Downtown family guide right here

3rd Street Market Hall 
275 W. Wisconsin Ave., (414) 249-5062

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It may be 3rd Street Market Hall, but it should be your first stop for a fun family night out meal. For one, no matter what the family's craving, the market hall has it – with vendors serving top-notch arepas, ramen, pasta, diner-style burgers, pizza, hot dogs, wings, sandwiches and much more. Secondly, though, your dinner comes with a dynamite time in a colorful space filled with games and activities – plus even a TopGolf Swing Suite!

AJ Bombers
1247 N. Water St., (414) 221-9999

For families looking for fun and food, AJ Bombers is indeed the bomb. Burgers of all varieties are this Brew City staple's speciality – always a family favorite option for eats on the road. Better yet, they're served alongside a fun atmosphere filled with bombers flying around the restaurant dropping peanuts on tables in need of snacking or simply a smile. 

850 N. Plankinton Ave., (414) 270-0890
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The ultimate iconic dinner and a show option, Benihana's Downtown spot can still thrill – and deliciously fill – all ages with its teppanyaki cooking style, masterfully and acrobatically grilling up your eats right in front of your eyes. Plus, it's within easy walking distance of just about everywhere your family wants to be, whether that's a theater show, roaring concert or big game.

Milwaukee Public Market
400 N. Water St., (414) 336-1111

The parents want one thing, but the kids are all craving something completely different – the classic travel dilemma. Not if you go to the iconic Milwaukee Public Market, however! This favorite for visitors and residents alike features a flavor for all palates – from fresh fish to tacos to Thai food to baked goods to brews and wine, and much more, plus fun vendors to bring something authentically Brew City back home with you. 

779 N. Front St., (414) 271-2007
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Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to bring the whole family on an utterly unique dinner experience. SafeHouse serves up dinner – but most importantly serves up a thrilling space filled with spy memorabilia, ephemera, oddities and even some spy games for your own incognito crew. Secret's out: SafeHouse is a one-of-a-kind fun time ... as long as you know where to find it and the password to get in. 

For even more family-friendly options, click here

Where to go around campus 


The Marquette campus has gotten pretty dry over the years – but there are still plenty of places to grab dinner and a drink, and either gloat over a victory or drown one's misery with a gaggle of Golden Eagles. Here are a few friendly spots for a night out on campus – and for even more options, check out OnMilwaukee's full Marquette bar guide

717 N. 16th St., (414) 933-9047
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Caffrey's is one of the lone surviving watering holes on Marquette's campus, and there's a reason for that: It's a great little bar! Nothing special, which is what makes it special, Caff's is an ideal spot to grab a beer before or after the game (or a particularly rough lecture), nosh on some popcorn and maybe play some bar games surrounded by campus cheer. 

Miss Katie's Diner
1900 W. Clybourn St., (414) 344-0044
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No matter your needs, Miss Katie's Diner has you covered. Thirsty for a fun night out? Miss Katie's has a full cocktail lounge serving as a delightful diner dive hangout. Need something to make the night before hurt a little less? Miss Katie's cooks up all sorts of deliciously greasy diner staples for breakfast and brunch, as well as lunch and dinner. Need shuffleboard? Somehow, yes, Miss Katie's has that too. There's a reason why this Brew City staple's been a regular visit for celebs and statesmen over the decades.

Murphy's Irish Pub
1613 W. Wells St., (414) 344-0116
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If you're not a Caff's person, then Murphy's is almost certainly your Marquette joint of choice. Similar in unflashy comfortable vibes to its brother bar just around the corner, Murph's offers a fairly robust list of beer options along with an energetic youthful atmosphere, solid specials and more. Win or lose, Murphy's is a victorious choice for your gameday drinking plans. 

1900 W. St. Paul Ave., (414) 931-1919
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Just a short jaunt away from Marquette's campus is one of the most popular burgers in the entire city: Sobelman's, a cozy little tavern tucked into the Menomonee Valley where you'll want to tuck into one of their nationally recognized burgers and a brew to wash all of the goodness down. Plus, if you like Bloody Marys, Sobelman's makes some of the most outlandishly packed ones you'll ever see. 

746 N. James Lovell St., (414) 276-9610

If you're kind of spot is charmingly low-key and low-frills, look no further than Stella's, just a few blocks away from the main Marquette campus. Formerly Jim's Time Out but revamped and renamed in honor of a longtime beloved bartender, Stella's is a dive mixed with a cocktail lounge – aka the perfect concoction for a great night out. 

For even more options in and around campus, click here

Where to go for a late bite to eat 

Real ChiliX

Tonight's game tips off at 8 p.m. – so by the time the final buzzer sounds, it'll be awfully late. And while your hunger for hardwood victory may be sated, your literal hunger may suddenly find itself the opposite – and far from ready to call it a night. Here are several tasty spots around Downtown and the arena to grab a meal even if it's approaching midnight – and for even more options, here's our full late night eats guide

George Webb
812 N. Martin Luther King Jr. Dr., (414) 278-0225

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A true Milwaukee late night tradition, George Webb offers a classic no-frills diner experience with satisfying burgers, soul-warming soup, breakfast platters no matter if the sun's coming up and gone down and much more – always available because the restaurant's open 24 hours a day. (With two clocks in each locale, just to make sure and keep track.)

Ian’s Pizza
146 E. Juneau Ave., (414) 727-9200

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I don't know who Ian is – but I'm grateful to him for his delicious pizza slices and late weekend hours. This pizza place slings slices on Fridays and Saturdays until 2:30 a.m. – perfect for soaking up the night. And you're not gonna find just boring pepperoni and sausage slices here (though you can find those classic flavors) as Ian's loves putting just about anything on pizza dough, from mac and cheese to penne pasta to ravioli to buffalo cauliflower and much, much more.

Miller Time Pub 
509 W. Wisconsin Ave., (414) 271-2337

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Any time is the right time for Miller Time Pub, serving up classic pub eats with – as one would hope with Miller right there in the name – an impressive lineup of brews to swig deep into the night. The Downtown tap is open until midnight Sundays through Thursdays (kitchen until 11:30 p.m.) as well as until 2 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays (food service until 1 a.m.). 

Old German Beer Hall 
1009 N. Doctor M.L.K. Jr Dr., (414) 226-2728

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Found right around Deer District on MLK, Old German Beer Hall is a great stop when the night is still young – no matter what the clock technically says. This spot pours steins of suds and cooks German classics until 11 p.m. on Sundays through Wednesdays as well as 1 a.m. on Thursdays through Saturdays. 

Real Chili
419 E. Wells St., (414) 271-4042
1625 W. Wells St., (414) 342-6955

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Real Chili is a real classic when it comes to late night eats (and for people-watching). Open until 2:30 a.m. on Thursdays and 3 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, this diner favorite serves up bowl after bowl of Cincinnati-style spaghetti and spicy chili, with your choice of toppings, curing any late night hunger pangs or future hangover concerns. It's perhaps the most flavorful way to fight off the late night munchies. 

For even more late-night options, click here

What to do for fun 

Harley-Davidson MuseumX

Obviously you're in town for tonight's big game – but that's only about two or three hours of your visit to Milwaukee. And there's so much more fun to have in town beyond the basketball court! Here's a handful of fun spots and classic visitors' favorites to hit while you're in Brew City.

(And, to get this out of the way: The Bronze Fonz statue is found on the Riverwalk just south of Wells Street, across the street from the Milwaukee Rep. It wouldn't be a Milwaukee visit without a proper pic.)

910 W. Juneau Ave., (414) 939-8592

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Whether you're in the mood to sing "We Are The Champions" or Beck's "Loser" after the big game, Amped is the spot to sing your heart. This private suite karaoke bar offers multiple ways to live out your "American Idol" dreams – and speaking of competition shows, the Downtown activity bar also has a game show experience, bringing the fun of popular TV game shows live to your night out. 

Harley-Davidson Museum
400 W. Canal St., (414) 287-2789

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Rev up your Brew City visit with a stop at the Harley-Davidson Museum. Filled with awesome exhibits, antique motorcycles and cool gear – not to mention food and drink at Motor right on the museum campus – the H-D Museum will give you new perspective on a time-honored American brand.

Lakefront Brewery
1872 N. Commerce St., (414) 372-8800

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Would it even be a visit to Brew City without a craft brewery stop and a brewery tour? There are gallons of great taps and tours in and around Milwaukee – find a full list right here – but if you're looking for a classic around Downtown, look no further than Lakefront Brewery, a cozy spot with tasty brews, great atmosphere, delicious food and one of the most lauded tours for locals and visitors alike. 

Milwaukee Art Museum
700 N. Art Museum Dr.,(414) 224-3200

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A slam dunk can be a work of art to behold – but for some actual art, check out the Milwaukee Art Museum and its marvelous galleries, new and permanent. Plus, the building itself is a work of art, an iconic modern Calatrava design that's mesmerizing for visitors and long-time residents alike and the perfect picturesque backdrop for a photo from your travels. 

Up-Down MKE
615 E. Brady St., (414) 585-0880

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Why leaving the game-playing to the basketball players on the court? Get into the game yourself with a stop at the arcade bar Up-Down, found just at the start of Brady Street. No matter your game of choice – classics like Galaga or Pac-Man, new innovative cabinets, or arcade favorites like pinball or skeeball – Up-Down is a cheat code for a great Milwaukee time.

Matt Mueller Culture Editor

As much as it is a gigantic cliché to say that one has always had a passion for film, Matt Mueller has always had a passion for film. Whether it was bringing in the latest movie reviews for his first grade show-and-tell or writing film reviews for the St. Norbert College Times as a high school student, Matt is way too obsessed with movies for his own good.

When he's not writing about the latest blockbuster or talking much too glowingly about "Piranha 3D," Matt can probably be found watching literally any sport (minus cricket) or working at - get this - a local movie theater. Or watching a movie. Yeah, he's probably watching a movie.