you have a boat? Does a friend of yours own a boat? If you have access
to a pontoon or other watercraft some night this summer, consider
ditching the car for a leisurely ride up or down the Milwaukee River.
Quite a few restaurants are situated next to or above — in other
words, just a few feet away — from boat slips.
There are a slew
of spots to anchor a boat at Barnacle Bud’s, tucked behind Skipper
Bud’s on the Walker’s Point/Bay View border, but the public ones
are just to the west of the funky eatery that channels Jimmy Buffett
with live guitar music, Bloody Marys and fresh oysters (as well as
Friday fish fry). It’s not uncommon to see boats "double
parked" on a sunny, cloudless day. A bit west along the
Kinnickinnic River is Horny Goat Hideaway, which owns the dock
alongside its restaurant, a companion to the craft brewery behind it.
Some of the items on the food menu fold beer into the recipe, such as
Red Vixen BBQ pizza and Horny Blonde Caesar Salad.
Just south of
and below the bronze Fonz statue along the Riverwalk in downtown
Milwaukee are public slips that are a stone’s throw from Rock Bottom
Brewery (situated by the Milwaukee River, with its massive, curved
patio hovering above the water) and John Hawks Pub (where fish and
chips, as well as hometown and import pints and ales, rule on the
patio). There is a three-hour maximum — still plenty of time to
indulge in a beer, main course and dessert before retreating back to
A trio of
restaurants along Water Street in the Third Ward features patios that
hug the Milwaukee River. Fortunately, there are public slips (with a
three-hour maximum) for boats to pull into for some noshing. Rustico
Pizzeria’s pasta dishes and pizzas, followed by gelato, can be
served to you for lunch, brunch or dinner on an outdoor patio a story
above the river. Water Buffalo’s patio hugs the river and its fare
is in perfect pitch, such as coconut shrimp, fish tacos and Louisiana
crab cakes. Milwaukee Ale House’s double-deck patio is among the
best in town. It is here where house-made ales and plates of gastropub
fare — wings, burgers, hearty salads, thin crispy pizzas and
hand-cut ribeye — are the perfect accompaniments to watching boats
sail down the river on a summer night.
along the Milwaukee River, close to the mouth of Lake Michigan,
Screaming Tuna Sushi & Asian Bistro in Walker’s Point has
primped its patio, a few steps from boat slips, with chocolate-brown
wicker furnishings. Eating sushi was never this stylish. And, just
across the Third Ward bridge, you’ll find Ryan Braun’s Graffito,
which is perfectly positioned on the Milwaukee River. It not only has
an expansive patio with chic furnishings but a dock with room for five
boats, too. Kick back with a cocktail en plein air before heading
inside for hearty Italian fare. Also offering Italian cuisine is
Riverfront Pizzeria Bar & Grill, closer to the Summerfest grounds
and also along the river, where a dock is open to customers who wish
to arrive by boat.
five-star dining at Harbor House is even more glam when you enter from
Lake Michigan. Park your boat on the south side of Discovery World,
where there is 450 feet of dock space open to the public. Anchors away
— and bon appetit!