In the mood to decompress? Take some time to make your way downtown this summer to surround yourself with serenity and the sound of live music in Milwaukee. Here are five of Milwaukee’s best live music establishments to enjoy this summer and beyond…
Perched above the Milwaukee River and across from the Fiserv Forum, The Harp is a classic spot for live music in Milwaukee. Known as a renowned resting place since the 1860s, this location boasts a rich heritage. The Harp puts a unique spin on the traditional tavern tone by adding a more upbeat tempo to its historic character. This trendy tap house hosts DJs to help rein in the weekend, so if you’re a fan of dance floors make sure to visit The Harp on a Friday or Saturday. However, Sundays are ideal for kicking back and relaxing with the help of a great patio, happy hours drinks and, of course, live music. Known for a wide variety of draft and bottled beers, as well as hard seltzers, The Harp celebrates native Wisconsin favorites and well-known crowd pleasers. On that note, you also can’t go wrong with asking for a peek at the menu, which includes a variety of shareables like jalapeno poppers, Rueben rolls and buffalo cauliflower bites. From the unforgettable Irish feel to the summery outdoor atmosphere, you can’t miss out on your chance to mingle and dance to live music in Milwaukee at The Harp this summer. For more information, visit theharpirishpub.com.
A recent addition to historic Brady Street, Nashville North promotes live music and drink specials every night of the week. By bringing together an authentic Nashville experience and a scenic setting, this bar and restaurant will give you the honky tonk spirit of Tennessee without having to leave Wisconsin. If you’re a fan of country music, the live performances will be sure to please. But if you like to be the star of the show, prepare for karaoke and open mic nights throughout the week. And if you’re feeling adventurous check out Nashville North’s signature cocktails, including the BBQ Mule made with Kurvball BBQ Whiskey and garnished with a smoked rib; the Peach Bourbon Smash topped with peach gummies; and the notorious Nashville Ranch Water made with Ole Smoky Watermelon Whiskey. It doesn’t end there; the menu also spotlights Southern-influenced handhelds, smash burgers and hot dogs. If you need something a little smokier, look into the BBQ classics, like the smoked turkey legs, baby back ribs or melt-in-your-mouth pulled pork cheese fries. With its laidback yet happening atmosphere and prime location, it’s no wonder why Nashville North is such a sought-after destination for live music in Milwaukee. For more information and a closer look at the weekly lineup, visit nashvillenorthmke.com.
The Bar at Saint Kate
Just off the lobby of the avant-garde Saint Kate Arts Hotel, it’s impossible to miss this upscale bar and live music lounge. Simply follow your ears to the sound of live music playing every night of the week. Whether it’s contemporary jazz-pop or rock-inspired solo guitar, the live music lineup will not disappoint. Spend your evening at The Bar at Saint Kate while sipping on locally-brewed seasonal beers or browse the specially selected menu of fine wines. If you’re feeling more up-tempo, be sure to check out the bar’s headlining cocktails, including the Blueberry Hibiscus Highball and the Sparkling Cosmo. Some other showstoppers can be seen on the starter’s menu, containing fresh Wisconsin burrata and artisanal cheese and cured meat charcuterie boards. Saint Kate also offers a signature Neapolitan-style pizza restaurant which delivers straight to the bar hall. No matter if you decide to test out the classic Margherita or something more venturesome, you will leave feeling satisfied with your evening and continue dancing into the downtown lights. For a closer look at all of the menus and the upcoming live music lineup, visit saintkatearts.com.
The Packing House
Locally owned and operated since 1974, The Packing House is not only a prime destination for live Music in Milwaukee but also home to an award-winning garlic-stuffed filet and famous BBQ ribs. From dinner until dusk every weekend The Packing House hosts live music artists to help amplify the ambiance of your experience. This eatery and bar ensure that guests feel at home as they maintain traditions of using only the finest ingredients and a noticeably homemade touch. The stakes are high at The Packing House, as all steaks are hand-selected and bestowed by Milwaukee’s family-owned Gahn Meat Company. Definitely keep a lookout for the legendary garlic-stuffed filet, loaded with slivered garlic, wrapped in bacon and seared; this steak is a Wisconsin staple, winning “Best of the Show” at the Wisconsin State Fair. And make sure to pair your meal with a savory sip by testing out a sweet sparkling wine or a specialty cocktail. Some eye-catching mixes include the Pomegranate Martini and the signature Packing House Rhubarb Sangria. For more information and a look at the weekly live music schedule, visit packinghousemke.com.
The Jazz Estate
Jazz it up a little this summer by listening to live music in Milwaukee at The Jazz Estate. This music lounge and bar has earned its name by hosting some of the best local and national jazz artists for nearly 50 years and is a necessity when navigating Milwaukee’s live music scene. Located in the Eastside since 1977, The Jazz Estate puts on shows Tuesday through Saturday every week. The lineup is ever-changing and transgresses the realms of indie, folk and, of course, jazz. The live music begins at 5 p.m. and will have you rocking until close. At the same time, the bar hosts a double cocktail hour every night of the week, the earlier lasting from 5 to 7 p.m., and the late-night lasting from 11:30 p.m. until 1 a.m. Whether you’re into bottles, wine pours or highballs, The Jazz Estate has something for everyone. The specialty cocktails rotate seasonally, so make sure to stop by this live music cocktail lounge before the summer ends if you want to experience a refreshing beverage to beat the heat. For more information and a peek at the upcoming live music lineup, visit jazzestate.com.