Best Restaurants for Outdoor Seating in Milwaukee

The weather is finally warming up here in good ol’ Milwaukee.  Lord knows we’ve been through one hell of a winter! I don’t know about you but I’m vowing to take every opportunity possible to enjoy the warm weather while it’s here this upcoming season. So if you’re looking for a place to eat dinner and only want to go somewhere where you know you’ll be able to sit outside, check out this list of my favorite restaurants for outside seating. These places not only have great food and environment, but they also provide beautiful river views and a relaxing setting to unwind.

Top Four:

Barnacle Bud’s

Barnacle Bud’s is my top choice for outdoor seating because of its location and atmosphere. This hidden gem is quite difficult to find and most people only find out about it through word of mouth. Even as you sit out on their patio, you might actually forget you’re still in Milwaukee. With buildings hidden from view behind trees and the live music being played in the background and the slow-moving river at the edge of the patio, you might think you’ve been transported to Louisiana or Florida. I love the relaxed, fun, nautical theme and atmosphere. It’s a nice little escape on a warm summer day.

Barnacle Buds outdoor patio

Horny Goat Hideaway

This restaurant has an expansive outdoor patio with a bar, plenty of tables, and couches placed around fire pits. The patio overlooks the river where you can often watch a few boats pass by. The food menu and beer selection just add to the already great experience – plus they offer a giant-size bags (baggo/cornhole) set and jenga game for patrons to entertain themselves.


Rock Bottom Brewery

Rock Bottom Brewery always provides delicious food and drinks so you know you’ll never have a bad meal there. And to top it off, they have a beautiful patio in a downtown location overlooking the river.

Rock Bottom Brewery outdoor seating

Café Benelux

Café Benelux is located an active corner in Third Ward. Dining tables line the sidewalk below an awning while the rooftop also provides a lot of seating. My vote for this restaurant’s outdoor accommodations comes from the rooftop seating providing a nice view of the Public Market and the passersby. It gives you a nice downtown feel in a relaxing setting.

Cafe Benelux rooftop seating

Honorable Mentions:

stack'd restaurant outdoor seating

Stack’d: Good burgers in an easily-accessible Fifth Ward location

Bel Air Cantina ouside seating

Bel Aire Cantina: Riverside patio with great Mexican cuisine

Molly Cools outside patio

Molly Cool’s: Riverside patio downtown. For a complete review, check out my past post about Molly Cool’s.

Milwaukee Ale House Patio

Milwaukee Ale House: Riverside patio in Third Ward. For a complete review, check out my recent post about Milwaukee Ale House.

The Harp outside patio

The Harp: I’ve never eaten here, just had drinks, but the downtown location and riverside patio set-up is perfect on a warm night. (Plus I like this bar a lot more in the summer due to the reduction in out of control college kids)

These are my opinions after living here for only two years. Maybe there are better ones that I just haven’t been to yet. Do you have any favorite hot-spots that you think deserve to be on this list? What’s your go-to restaurant when the weather finally warms up? Add them in the comments and I’ll be sure to check them out!

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