Assuming you’re getting into Milwaukee after normal work hours on Friday afternoon, let’s make sure you’re in for a night of great food and libations.
Walker’s Point (sometimes referred to as the Fifth Ward) is where Milwaukee’s dining renaissance started and continues in earnest today. This area, just south of downtown, is located mainly between 6th Street on the west and 1st Street on the east. Though there’s no chance you can go wrong with any of the options in this neighborhood, a few of our personal recommendations include:
- La Merenda: the original fine dining in Walker’s Point. It’s a tiny place with globally-inspired small plates meant for sharing. Reservations recommended, though you can wait for a table at their house bar or the local-focused Drink Wisconsinbly Pub next door.
- The Noble: the hidden gem. Even smaller than La Merenda, The Noble seems to continue to fly under the radar even though their ever-changing menu is executed to perfection each and every time. Reservations are not taken, but the wait is always worth it.
- Camino: greasy burgers at the bar. If you need comfort food and no frills, Camino’s hole-in-the-wall grill behind the bar will whip up one of the better burgers in town. Beer cheese soup also recommended.
- Movida: Spanish flare. Having lived in Spain myself, I can attest to the authenticity of the ingredients and impetus behind Movida’s menu. Highly recommended if you’re looking for a culinary adventure.
Don’t fill up on dessert at the restaurant: Indulgence Chocolatiers (open until 7PM on Fridays) and Purple Door Ice Cream (10PM on Fridays) are next door to each other and a short walk or ride from any of the above restaurants. I’m partial to a mixture of their Whiskey and Caramel ice creams.
If you saw a bar that intrigued you during dinner or dessert (and there are many down here), feel free to try any or all of them. (FYI, Walker’s Point is home to many gay bars.) Otherwise, walk or drive down Florida or West Virginia Streets west to the roundabout at 6th Street. In this 1 block square area you have your choice of Great Lakes Distillery (Wisconsin’s first since Prohibition), MobCraft Beer, Lost Valley Cider Company, or Branded in the Iron Horse Hotel. All are worthy for a night cap. If you have a car, the Mad Men-esque Bryant’s Cocktail Lounge isn’t far either.
And if you stay out too late and need a 4th meal, there’s few more infamous in Milwaukee than the dirt-cheap Mexican fare at Conejito’s Place, on that same block.
All photos by Joe Powell for The Squeaky Curd.