Barhopping on Water Street can be fun—in moderation. Watching freshly turned 21-year-olds stumbling from bar to bar, or groups of tone-deaf girls belting out Katy Perry songs can be highly entertaining, but it can get old fast. If you’re looking to get away from the bar scene, and no longer feel like battling your way through crowds of people who don’t need to drink anymore, a good option is checking out the many beer gardens throughout the city. There you’ll find liters of beer, scenic views, and everybody’s favorite: big-ass pretzels.
Humboldt Park Beer Garden (3000 S Howell Ave.)
Monday – Friday: 4 – 9 p.m.
Saturday – Sunday: 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.
After overcoming several obstacles, the Humboldt Park Beer Garden is finally open for the season. Operated by St. Francis Brewing Co., the beer garden offers customers a half liter ($5) or full liter ($10) of Lust Weissbier, Envy I.P.A., Gluttony Seasonal, or Wrath Amber Pale. A $6 deposit is required for glassware. Also for sale is a variety of food, including a Giant Bavarian Pretzel, which can be yours for the low price of $9.
Estabrook Beer Garden (4600 Estabrook Dr.)
Monday – Sunday: noon – 10 p.m.
Modeled after modern-day beer gardens in Munich, Germany, the Estabrook Beer Garden is tucked away in a secluded space along the Milwaukee River. Featured are beers imported from local breweries and the Hofbau Munish Brewery, all served in half-liter ($6) or full-liter ($11) glass mugs, which require $5 deposits. Also served are big-ass pretzels, bratwurst, and hot dogs. Visitors are welcome to bring snacks and drinks—non-alcoholic, of course.
Hubbard Park Beer Garden (3565 N. Morris Ave)
Monday – Friday: 3 – 10 p.m.
Saturday – Sunday: noon – 10 p.m.
The newly opened Hubbard Park Beer Garden made a smart play right out of the gate by offering free beer at its grand opening. The 10 beers currently on tap are Spaten Lager, Hacker-Pschorr Weissbier, New Glarus Spotted Cow, Central Waters Hop Rise, Sprecher Black Bavarian, Point Nude Beach, Cider Boys-Gluten Free Cider, Miller Lite, Pabst Blue Ribbon, and Point Root Beer. A $5 deposit is required for all glassware.
As with all other beer gardens, visitors are allowed to bring in non-alcoholic beverages and snacks of their own—but why do that when there’s already beer and big-ass pretzels?
The Landing at Hoyt Park (1800 N. Swan Blvd.)
Wednesday – Sunday: 3 – 9 p.m.
If you think children running around and everyone drunkenly dancing to polka music is a good time, The Landing at Hoyt Park will be your favorite place to drink this summer. This kid-friendly beer garden features a changing menu of local craft and imported beers including MKE Brewing Company’s Pull Chain Pale Ale, Miller Lite, Spaten Oktoberfest, and Angry Orchard Cider. Yep, there’s a $5 deposit for the glass here as well.
This season at The Landing includes live music on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays with performances by Sigmund Snopek, Lost Brew City Ramblers, and Sorry We’re Open, who will all return several times during the season along with other acts.
Traveling Beer Garden (various)
Monday – Friday: 4 – 10 p.m.
Saturday – Sunday: 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.
This summer, Milwaukee County Parks has partnered with Sprecher Brewing Co. to host a traveling beer garden that will be stationed at various parks around the city for 11 days at each stop. Complete with picnic tables and seats made out of kegs, the traveling beer garden serves up Sprecher products including Fire Light, Hefe Weiss, and Witty with the customer’s choice of a pint souvenir glass ($5.50), plastic boot ($10.50), dimple mug ($12.50), or growler ($17.00). Beer flights are also available. And yes, they have pretzels.
July 2 – 13: Doctors Park (1870 E. Fox Ln.)
July 16 – 27: Red Arrow Park (920 N. Water St.)
July 30 – August 10: Greene Park (4235 S. Lipton Ave.)
August 13 – 24: Falk Park (2013 W. Rawson Ave.)