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Where to Find the Best Old Fashioned in Milwaukee

Where to Find the Best Old Fashioned in Milwaukee

Wisconsin consumes more brandy than any other state, and it’s no mystery why Wisconsinites love an Old Fashioned. Milwaukee is no exception. Finding the best Old Fashioned in Milwaukee sounds like a challenge we’re ready to take on! In just about any bar you can order up an Old Fashioned and the bartender will not only know how to make it, but they will also probably ask for specific details. Sour? Sweet? With brandy or whiskey?

A classic Old Fashioned combines brandy, bitters, some sugar, often times a bit of citrus soda, and is always garnished with an orange slice and cherry. These simple ingredients can be combined in all sorts of ways and with various substitutions, like bourbon instead of brandy. Some bars stand out for making an exceptional Old Fashioned, for never using some kind of Old Fashioned mix, or for having especially creative twists on this classic drink.

Here is a quick guide to the best Old Fashioned in Milwaukee.

 1. Boone & Crockett

Boone & Crockett is hidden away in a large building in Walker’s Point, which also features other businesses a newer concert venue. The outdoor portion of the bar is also a popular destination for tacos since Taco Moto truck permanently camps out in their patio area.

The bar is known for having an awesome cozy interior and a great cocktail list, featuring drinks like the Gin Bramble with gin, raspberry liqueur, turbinado simple syrup, lemon and soda water ($8), or the Classic Sazerac, with rye, bitters, turbinado and Absinthe ($8). Stop by Boone & Crockett for some excellent cocktails and some of the most creative tacos in the city.

It comes as no surprise that a bar like Boone & Crockett that takes cocktail making seriously slings up a truly great Old Fashioned. They offer two staple Old Fashioned drinks. One comes with either Korbel Brandy or Old Forester Bourbon, mixed with traditional ingredients. The other features barrel-aged bourbon or brandy, giving it an unusual but delicious barrel-aged flavor. Both are only $8, so you might as well try both.

  • Address: 818 S. Water Street, Milwaukee
  • Hours: Monday-Thursday 3 pm-2 am | Friday and Saturday 12 pm-2:30 am | Sunday 12 am-2 am

2. Bryant’s Cocktail Lounge

Bryant’s Cocktail Lounge, located in a neighborhood on Milwaukee’s south side, is a classic joint that has been in operation since 1938. The dimly lit interior and black leather booth seating bring you right back in time to a different era.

Bryant’s Cocktail Lounge also features some of the best bartenders in the city. No drink menu necessary, just tell the bartenders what you feel like, such as flavor profile or color, and they will whip something up right on the spot. They do have a few regular drinks that locals crave, like the Rat Pack with whiskey, gin, brandy, and vermouth with a hurricane-style mix, or the Cherry Benjamin with rye whiskey, yellow chartreuse, orange, and bitters. The Cherry Benjamin is also excellent, an ice cream drink with cognac, cherry, and ginger.

Bryant’s makes a fantastic Old Fashioned, which comes with either brandy or bourbon, and the other expected ingredients like bitters, sugar, and of course a cherry on top. The quality of ingredients and well-trained bartenders ensures that the Old Fashioned is perfectly made. What’s even better is that Bryant’s features a daily happy hour from 5 pm through 8 pm with discounted select depression-era cocktails, including the Old Fashioned, for $5. Grab one of the best Old Fashioned in Milwaukee with a happy hour discount at Bryant’s Cocktail Lounge.

  • Address: 1579 S. 9th Street, Milwaukee
  • Hours: Tuesday-Sunday 5 pm-2 am | Closed Monday

3. Buck Bradley’s

Buck Bradley’s is a popular bar and restaurant on Old World 3rd Street, a popular nightlife destination close to Fiserv Forum and other area attractions. The bar is the longest in the state and one of the longest in the midwest at 77 feet long, and during their weekday happy hour, it seats many satisfied customers since they offer $3 select appetizers, $5 Bacardi mixers, and $1 off mixed drinks, beers and wines from 3 pm through 7 pm. The restaurant also features a nice variety of food options, like pizza, great appetizers like nachos, salads, sandwiches, and larger plates like steak.

There are numerous great drinks to try at Buck Bradley’s, like the Peach Moon with Blue Moon white ale, peach schnapps, and orange juice, or the Peppermint Patty with peppermint schnapps, hot chocolate, and whipped cream. However, the real gem at Buck Bradley’s is the Old Fashioned. They make a classic Old Fashioned with brandy, lemon-lime soda, just the right amount of bitters, and of course an orange slice and cherry. They can also make an Old Fashioned with whiskey.

The experience of the bartenders really shows with the Old Fashioned since they seem to add just the right amount of all the ingredients. Check out the longest bar in Wisconsin and settle in for their version of Milwaukee’s best Old Fashioned by heading over to Buck Bradley’s.

  • Address: 1019 N. Old World 3rd Street
  • Hours: Monday-Thursday 11 am-2 am | Friday 11a m-2:30 am | Saturday 9 am-2:30 am| Sunday 9 am-2 am

4. Camp Bar

Camp Bar promises to transport Milwaukee residents on a trip to northern Wisconsin without ever leaving the city. There are five Camp Bars, with locations in Shorewood, Wauwatosa, Deer Camp in the Deer District, Campsite 131, and Camp Bar Third Ward. The decor speaks for itself, with lots of items one might expect in an up north cabin or corner bar, like mounted animals, classic signs, and a warming fireplace.

Camp Bar also features a great weekday happy hour with $4 rails, $1 off wines, and $1 off taps, along with nightly specials like trivia Mondays, and other discounted drinks. They serve up one of the best Old Fashioned in Milwaukee and at a steal on Friday nights for only $6. The bar also has a small appetizer menu and a great cocktail list worth exploring.

Given its dedication to all things northern Wisconsin, the Old Fashioned is the centerpiece of the drink menu at Camp Bar. The bar whips up several versions of the classic Old Fashioned with various options like brandy, bourbon, rye whiskey, maple whiskey, and Milwaukee-made liquors. All of the Old Fashioned options are delicious and worth an order, and even the more basic traditional Old Fashioned is one of the best in the city.

  • Shorewood Address: 4044 N. Oakland Ave, Shorewood
  • Shorewood Hours: Monday-Thursday 4 pm-2 am | Friday 3 pm-2:30 am |  Saturday 12 pm-2:30 am | Sunday 12 pm-2:30 am
  • Wauwatosa Address: 6600 W. North Ave, Wauwatosa
  • Wauwatosa Hours: Monday-Thursday 4 pm-2 am | Friday 3pm-2:30 am | Saturday 12 pm-2:30 am | Sunday 12 pm-2 am
  • Third Ward Address: 525 E. Menomonee Street, Milwaukee
  • Third Ward Hours: Monday-Thursday 3 pm-2 am | Friday 2 pm-2:30 am | Saturday 12 pm-2:30 am |Sunday 12 pm-2 am
  • Deer Camp Address: 1023 N Old World 3rd St, Milwaukee
  • Deer Camp Hours: Thursday – Friday 4 pm-2 am | Saturday 12 pm-2 am
  • Campsite Address: 131 N Jackson St, Milwaukee
  • Campsite 131 Hours: Monday – Thursday 4 pm-2 am | Friday 3 pm-2:30 am | Saturday 12 pm-2:30 am | Sunday 12 pm-2 am

5. Fink’s

Fink’s is a small bar located on Milwaukee’s east side, right across the street from the super popular Bel Air Cantina on Humboldt. Although small, Finks has plenty of seating and a really nice outdoor patio. The bar is a locals-only kind of joint, even though they are friendly to everyone, and features a great happy hour from 4 pm through 6 pm daily with $5 cocktails and $3 draft beers. They also have discounts on mojitos on Mondays and discount Moscow mules on Wednesdays.

Fink’s features plenty of great craft cocktails and offers an abundance of excellent beer choices. The bartenders also mix up one of the best Old Fashioned in Milwaukee, available with either bourbon or brandy, and is the perfect blend of liquor, bitters, and cherry. Although simple, it truly is one of the tastiest Old Fashioned you will ever have. Stopover to Fink’s and give it a try.

  • Address: 1875 N. Humboldt Ave, Milwaukee
  • Hours: Monday-Thursday 4 pm – 2 am | Friday and Saturday 4 pm – 2:30 am | Sunday 2 pm-2 am

6. Riverwest Filling Station

The Riverwest Filling Station tucked away in the Riverwest neighborhood, is a no-frills kind of place that offers affordable drinks and tasty food offerings. They have great appetizers, like buffalo calamari ($12), in addition to salads, sandwiches, and entrees, like the super popular chicken fried chicken with boneless chicken, gravy, grits, and carrots ($14). They also feature a nice daily happy hour from 5 pm through 7 pm with $1 off taps, $3 New Glarus beers, and $3 Riverwest Steins. The bar also has a large liquor and beer selection and offers growlers to go.

Stop into the Riverwest Filling Station for a Friday fish fry and saddle up to the bar for a really quality Old Fashioned. While most people tend to get a brandy Old Fashioned at the Riverwest Filling Station, they most likely will also serve one up with whiskey or bourbon. The classic brandy Old Fashioned is really well-made, with no-nonsense muddling or specialty ingredients, just a high-quality great-tasting Old Fashioned definitely worth ordering.

  • Address: 701 E. Keefe Ave, Milwaukee
  • Hours: Tuesday-Thursday 4 pm-2 am | Friday and Saturday 11 am-2 am | Sunday 11 am-2 am

7. Rumpus Room

Rumpus Room is a great stop for delicious small plates, excellent cocktails, and an all-around good time. Located right on Water Street, Rumpus Room is an especially great option for getting the night started before bar hopping, or for a quick dinner before heading over to the Marcus Performing Center. They have a great happy hour Monday through Friday from 4 pm to 6 pm with discounted appetizers, like the Bacon & Eggs with bacon and two deviled eggs ($6.50), or the Rumaki, or water chestnuts wrapped in bacon ($4.50). There are also great drink specials during happy hour, like $5 Old Fashioned, $3 domestic tallboys, two for one Wisconsin tap beers, and $5 house wines and sangria.

Stop by Rumpus Room for one of the small plates, sandwiches, or other entree options. There are plenty of great mixed drink options, but you can’t go wrong going with the Old Fashioned. The bartenders at Rumpus Room definitely know how to pour up a great Old Fashioned, with either brandy or bourbon, and always use really high-quality ingredients. Especially given the Old Fashioned discount during happy hour, you are guaranteed to be pleased if you make Rumpus Room your go-to for a perfectly poured drink.

  • Address: 1030 N. Water St, Milwaukee
  • Hours: Monday-Thursday 11 am-2 pm and 5 pm-9 pm | Friday 11 am-2 pm and 5 pm-10 pm | Saturday 5 pm-10 pm |Sunday 4 pm-8 pm

8. Story Hill BKC

Story Hill BKC is a popular spot for brunch, lunch, and dinner on Milwaukee’s west end. The desserts at Story Hill BKC are also really outstanding. Make Story Hill BKC your destination for food, but be sure to order at least one drink since their bar produces some really excellent drinks. They also have a nightly happy with $5 wine pours and discounts on tap-poured cocktails, which includes their Milwaukee Old Fashioned.

Story Hill BKC has a neat cocktail tap system, which usually includes three or four cocktail options that are premade and are poured just like a tap beer. The Old Fashioned, or what they call The Oldest Fashioned, is one of the tap cocktails and includes bourbon, orange, sugar, cherry, and bitters. The Old Fashioned somehow ends up especially dark and has a robust cherry flavor. If you like your Old Fashioned a bit on the sweeter side, then definitely check out Story Hill BKC for a tap poured Old Fashioned.

  • Address: 5100 W. Bluemound Rd.
  • Hours: Tuesday-Friday 11 am-9 pm | Saturday 9 am-9 pm | Sunday 9 am-2 pm | Closed Monday

9. The Packing House

The Packing House is one of the city’s best supper clubs, located near the airport on Milwaukee’s south side. The classy interior pairs well with some of the best steaks in the city, great cocktails, and a fantastic Friday fish fry. The bar also has a quality happy hour on weekdays from 11 am through 5 pm with half-priced appetizers and drink discounts. Nothing pairs with an old fashion quite like a supper club, and for one of the best in Milwaukee, check out The Packing House menu here.

There are plenty of excellent drink options at The Packing House. Try the Blackberry Whiskey Sour with whiskey, blackberry liqueur, fresh blackberry, and lemon, or the Pomegranate Martini with mango vodka, triple sec, and pomegranate juice. They also have dessert ice cream drinks like the grasshopper and brandy alexander. If in the mood for an Old Fashioned, The Packing House definitely delivers with the Deluxe Old Fashioned, classically made with Korbel brandy, luxardo cherry, fresh orange, bitters, and topped with lemon-lime soda. It certainly is one of the best Old Fashioned in Milwaukee.

  • Address: 900 E. Layton Ave, Milwaukee
  • Hours: Monday-Thursday 11am-9pm | Friday 11am-10pm | Saturday 4pm-10pm | Sunday 4pm-8pm

10. Von Trier

Von Trier is a must-stop when checking out Milwaukee’s east side, especially the bars around North Avenue. With ample seating, charming German decor, and one of the best beer gardens in the city, Von Trier is an awesome stop for some excellent drinks and food. Von Trier boasts an enormous beer menu and plenty of craft cocktails, in addition to German fare and free popcorn.

Von Trier’s happy hour runs from 4 pm through 6 pm, except for Mondays and Tuesdays when it runs all night long. Beyond $5 German drafts, wine pours, and vodka mixers, you can also get a $5 Old Fashioned. The Old Fashioned at Von Trier is one of the best in the city, with a little extra cherry flavoring, a nice dark red color, and an option of brandy or whiskey. Especially if you like your Old Fashioned a bit on the sweeter side, check out Von Trier. Plan your visit around happy hour if looking for an excellent Old Fashioned on a budget.

  • Address: 2235 N. Farwell Ave, Milwaukee
  • Hours: Monday-Thursday 4 pm -Close | Friday 3 pm -Close | Saturday and Sunday 11 am -Close

Where do you think is the best Old Fashioned in Milwaukee? We are always open to trying new places and tasting their version of what a Milwaukee Old Fashioned should taste like.


Tuesday 30th of August 2022

What about the Safe House?