With literally thousands of bars in and around Milwaukee vying for limited drinking dollars, business owners need to get creative to stay ahead of the competition. Some bar owners draw in customers with great food, live music, relaxing patios, specialty cocktails, or weekly theme nights that shake things up with things like trivia or karaoke. Other establishments take a different approach and simply slash the bejesus out of their prices for certain items on specific nights.
Believe it or not, people can still get a beer for $1 in Milwaukee these days. Sure, it’s almost always a domestic tap beer, and we won’t attest to all these places being worth a visit based on discount alone. But hey, it’s a beer for $1. If you’re between paychecks or just want to go on an economy-sized bender for bargain basement prices, let Milwaukee Record be your guide. If we missed any, feel free to add them in the comments.
Pro: Axel’s Inn has $1 Busch Light from noon through 9 p.m every day. Con: it’s Axel’s.
With exclusively free concerts and liter mugs of Old Milwaukee that can be procured for under $5 on a daily basis, Bremen Cafe is always a bargain. However, the Riverwest standard becomes ever more affordable for women from 9 p.m.-1 a.m. every Monday. Bremen’s “Ladies Night” special includes three free rail drinks. After that, beers can be purchased for only $1.
In addition to employing a sizable portion of Milwaukee’s music scene over the past 20 years and serving up delicious gut-busting guilty pleasures, Comet Cafe also offers one of the more interesting happy hour specials in town. From 3-6 p.m. between Monday and Friday, the popular East Side mainstay declares a state of “Beermergency,” in which taps and bottles of Old Style go for “just one measly buck.” The Beermergency continues into the weekend with $1 Old Styles from 10 p.m.-close Friday and Saturday nights.
Duke’s On Water (and Scooter’s Pub)
With dollar domestic tappers from 3-6 p.m. every Monday through Friday, Duke’s On Water is one of a couple of downtown bars whose prices dip to a buck on weekdays. After that, domestic brews at Duke’s (and Scooter’s Pub, which is adjoining) skyrocket to as much as—get this!—two or three dollars.
Pinball machines. Craft cocktail and a great beer selection. Controversial art. Fink’s has it all. As part of the diminutive drink emporium’s weekly Metal Monday series, Fink’s chases the tunes with select beers priced at just $1.
The dingy and obscured Walker’s Point gem and its eponymous owner/amazing storyteller are a portal to a different time. The beer prices seem to follow that theme too, as you can get cans of Red Dog and Busch Light for $1 all day, every day. (Special subject to George wanting to open the bar)
McGillycuddy’s Bar & Grill
Just across the street from Duke’s is McGillycuddy’s. Though the spacious Water Street property features two bars on as many levels, not to mention a patio, the prices are small…at least during the bar and grill’s tremendous happy hour. Every day from 4-7 p.m., McGillycuddy’s offers domestic pints for $1.
Admittedly, we’ve never been to McKiernan’s. However, Urban Milwaukee paid a visit to the south side tavern last year and found $1 pints of Pabst, High Life, and Miller Lite between 4-6 p.m. every weekday. After that, prices return to (the still quite great) $2.
Even though Bay View’s Puddler’s Hall is Milwaukee’s oldest bar, the local institution is up to some new tricks. Each weekday from 3-4 p.m., select items are marked down to just a buck. The items on sale vary from week to week, but past promotions have offered $1 cans of Hamm’s, Old Milwaukee, and Pabst; Miller Lite taps; bottles of hard root beer; shots of ginger brandy and Clontarf whisky, and more.
Sabbatic has thrived for years in Walker’s Point on account of its prime location, its punk rock appeal, and dirt cheap drink specials. On top of the Pabst and Tullamore Dew package deal on hand most of the time, and the two-for-one special on rails, calls, and taps offered from 5-9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, Sabbatic implores customers to “beat the clock” from 7-7:15p.m. with “almost everything” priced at 99 cents every night but Sunday.
Third Space Brewing
It seems like there’s a new microbrewery opening in Milwaukee every month (mostly because there has been a new one opening nearly every month). Among the din of new brews pouring into town, Third Space could arguably be considered the best of the bunch. Should fortune find you at the spacious and inviting Menomonee Valley brewery at 5:45 p.m. on a Friday, you’ll be able to enjoy $1 pints of a select Third Space beer until the keg blows, as part of the micro’s weekly “Brewmaster’s Toast” event.
This Is It!
This Is It! isn’t only Milwaukee’s oldest gay bar, it’s also the city’s most affordable. Shit, on certain nights it might be one of the cheapest bars in the city, period. Beyond the two-for-one drinks specials whenever a disco ball is spinning, and other great specials every day, Fridays bring about the shockingly great three-for-one drink special on rail drinks and tap beer from 5-9 p.m. That deep discount drops craft beer and tall cocktail prices down to $2 or less and, technically, reduces some domestic pints to $1 apiece.
Wayward Kitchen & Bar
Located on 1st Street and (literally) in the shadow of Rockwell Automation, Wayward is something of a hidden gem. On top of its tasty tacos—among other entrees—and its respectable selection of beer and liquor, the Walker’s Point bar and restaurant also offers some outstanding happy hour specials. Weekdays from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., Wayward sells $1 cans of Old Milwaukee. If that’s not your style, you can get a Pabst tallboy or select craft beers for twice that price.