Milwaukee Bars & Nightlife
Karl Ratzsch’s (Closed)
320 E. Mason St., East Town
This German beer hall (which debuted in 1904 as Hermann’s Cafe) got an uplift when Chef Thomas Hauck (a Milwaukee native who previously worked with the late great Chef Michel Richard) became the owner in 2016. While the interior was redone, with a new dining room now on the second floor and the beer hall on the first, the menu more so returned to its roots, really focusing on traditional German food—schnitzels, sausages, kraut, potato dumplings and pancakes, entrees paired with pickled red cabbage. The beer fits the bill, too—a mix of hefes, pilsners, sour weiss, plus the odd Belgian ale, stout, and lager.
901 W. Juneau Ave., Hay Market
The city of Milwaukee has become synonymous in many minds with brewing; you could easily (and happily) devote a trip to its beer spots alone. Pabst was the OG brewing company here, its roots dating back to the 1800’s. The brewery closed in 1996 and sat empty for several years, but you can now tour the legendary site and taste some of their classic brews along the way.