Whether you want a quick escape from the cold winter or a fun destination during the summer, Tiki bars are an ideal way to go on vacation without ever leaving your own city. There are several Tiki bars in Milwaukee to choose from that offer strong drinks with island flavors. From higher-end cocktail lounges to hidden neighborhood gems, consider one of these Tiki bars next time you are looking for a change of scenery.
Foundation is often considered one of Milwaukee’s best Tiki bars and has even made it onto some lists of the best Tiki bars in the USA. Located in the Riverwest neighborhood, from the outside Foundation appears as a discrete bar in a nondescript house, but inside patrons are transported to an island-themed paradise. The bar boasts an extensive menu of Tiki drinks priced between $8 and $12, except for the volcano bowl ($20) that can be shared by two to four guests.
For slightly more customers can also purchase a drink that comes with a souvenir cup to take home. Try the Demevara Daiquiri for $8 that mixes 12-year-old Guyanese rum with fresh lime juice for a perfectly refreshing cocktail. If someone in the group is driving or does not care for alcohol, Foundation also offers a non-alcoholic drink menu ($5 each), like the Lei Cooler with grapefruit juice, rose water, pomegranate, lime, and seltzer water.
- 2718 N. Bremen Street
- Hours are Sunday through Thursday 4:00 pm to 1:30 am and Friday through Saturday 4:00 pm to 2:00 am.
Wauwatiki Bar and Grill
Located just west of Milwaukee in neighboring Wauwatosa is Wauwatiki Bar and Grill, the lone place in the city where you can find Tiki-themed drinks paired alongside Polynesian food. Appetizers range between $4 and $12 or try the Pupu Platter to sample several of the small plate options, including teriyaki beef ribs, chicken wings, pork dumplings, and crispy pork belly. Sandwiches are offered for $10 and main plates are $7 to $14. A must-try is the Loco Moco, an incredible combination of pulled pork with vegetables served over rice and covered with gravy and an egg. Like any quality tiki bar, Wauwatiki has an extensive cocktail menu and five sharable bowl-style drinks to choose from. Try the delightful Water of Life, which combines coconut rum, lemon, coconut water, Orgeat, and mint. Wauwatiki Happy Hour is from Tuesday to Friday 4:30 pm to 7:00 pm, where you can expect $3 select beers, 20% off appetizers, and $10 off sharable bowls. Keep watch for other nightly specials as well, such as Tuesday nights with $2 tacos and $6 select Tiki drinks.
- 6502 W. North Avenue
- Wauwatiki Bar and Grill Hours for food are Tuesday through Thursday 4:30 pm-10:00 pm, Friday 4:30 pm-11:00 pm, Saturday 3:30 pm-11:00 pm, and Sunday 3:300 pm-10:00 pm.
Serving drinks for over fifty years, At Random is one of the Bayview neighborhood’s best destinations. The dimly lit interior and Rat Pack inspired music transports you to the 1950s, and the robust cocktail offerings ensure there is something for everyone. While many patrons veer toward the hot coffee drinks in winter, or the refreshing milkshake cocktails in summer, At Random also serves classic Tiki drinks. The Tiki Love Bowl for around $20 is a must try – it comes with a potent mixture of rum and punch and is best enjoyed by two or three.
- 2501 S. Delaware Street
- Hours are Wednesday through Saturday 7:00 pm through 2:00 am, though keep an eye out since opening hours are set to expand soon.
Bryant’s Cocktail Lounge
Bryant’s Cocktail Lounge has been serving cocktails since 1938. While its classy interior and extensive craft cocktail offerings are perhaps more reminiscent of a classic cocktail lounge from the past rather than a traditional Tiki bar, Bryant’s serves up some of the tastiest and well-thought-out Tiki drinks in the city. Try Bryant’s version of the classic Mai Tai for around $10 or opt for the Navy Grog with high proof rum and a secret blend of spices served over crushed ice. Another staple of Bryant’s experience is going off-menu by simply describing to the bar staff the flavors you are in the mood for – the experienced bartenders will whip together your custom Tiki drink to the exact specifications you desire. For drink specials, make sure to stop in Sunday to Thursday from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm for $5 select drinks.
- 1579 S. 9th Street
- Hours Tuesday through Sunday 5:00 pm-2:00 am
Trader Nick’s South Shore Inn,
Located just south of Milwaukee in neighboring Cudahy, Trader Nick’s South Shore Inn is a newcomer to the Milwaukee’s Tiki bar scene. With a tastefully themed interior and a robust list of around thirty Tiki-themed cocktail offerings, Trader Nick’s is an ideal destination for escaping Milwaukee’s colder months. Try the Busted Cherry, which has rum, coconut, pineapple, cherry and secret spices. Most drinks range between $3 and $11, and each day offers a new Daiquiri of the Day to try. Happy Hour runs between 4:00 pm and 6:00 pm.
- 2501 S. Delaware Avenue
- hours are Tuesday through Sunday 4:00 pm through bar close.