In Milwaukee, we are known for many things. Our brats, fish fries and cheese curds are the iconic culinary calling card of the Cream City. The brewing tradition and its continued legacy amongst the flourishing craft brewing scene have lent Milwaukee the title known far and wide as Brew City. And the tantalizing variety of creative cocktails like bloody marys, old fashioneds, Pink Squirrels and so many other wonderfully inventive drinks continue to surprise and delight visitors from all over the world.
Over the past several years, however, the city that beer built has been developing a wide variety of thoughtful mocktails inspired by drinks, beers and ingredients packed with flavor without the hangover.
It's that time of year again! As 2023 races to a close, the ball slowly rings in a new year, and the countdown to 2024 winds, the annual battle of wills is renewed in the form of resolutions. These annual ideals of self-improvement come in many shapes and sizes, ranging from steep fitness goals and mindfulness drills to the ever-popular dry January.
But no one said resolutions couldn’t be fun! Spend your dry January working your way through the ever-growing list of craft mocktail makers throughout the Milwaukee area. Or maybe you are looking for something delicious to sip as you ring in the New Year, tailgate the big game or host your next house party. No matter how you N/A, there’s a maker to help you seize the day!
Bars for a N/A Night Out
Throughout the Milwaukee area, bars offer unique creative versions of mocktails that will offer any sober or sober-curious visitor a sensational N/A drink. Whether you are looking for outstanding live music, shuffleboard or an ambiance for your next night out, Milwaukee has a bar for you.
Opening this year, Discourse will debut the Midwest's first hybrid cocktail bar — Equal Parts. The downtown bar will put a perfect twist on your N/A night out with a single menu of drinks, offered as both alcoholic and non-alcoholic options. Equal Parts lets you imbibe your way with a specialty cocktail for you and your whole crew.
Revel in the smooth sounds of live jazz music at The Jazz Estate on the East Side. Open for more than 40 years, the jazz lounge has played host to some of the biggest names in the genre including Joe Henderson, Cedar Walton, Red Rodney and Eric Alexander, among others. Open Tuesday through Sunday, the bar offers nightly live music and a newly reimagined cocktail program featuring top-notch cocktails and mocktails.
Game on at a Bars & Rec location! Stop by one of the many themed bars throughout the Milwaukee area for an evening of fun and games as well as some sensational mocktails. Head to NorthSouth Club in Walker’s Point for an evening in the polar north or the southern tropics. With games like shuffleboard and axe throwing, the night is sure to be a hit. Meanwhile, on the east side, you will find Axe MKE for an axe-kicking night out and Nine Below, an indoor mini-putt course that you design yourself! All three experiences feature three N/A drinks: Ginger Lime Fizz (Ginger Beer, Lime Juice, and Club Soda), Steelworks (Ginger Beer, Coke, and Angostura Bitters) and the classic Shirley Temple.
Grab a bite and a mocktail while taking in the warm, inviting atmosphere of a Milwaukee food hall. At 3rd Street Market Hall downtown, order from one of the food hall’s many vendors like Paper Plane Pizza, Kompali Tacos Y Tortas or Anytime Arepa for something to eat before stopping at the bar to grab a mocktail like the cleverly titled Teetotaling Julep (Earl Giles Ginger Beer Elixir, Seltzer, and Mint) or the No Proof, No Problem (Bitter orange syrup, cranberry seltzer and lemon peel). Then, spend your time exploring the vendors and activities scattered throughout the space like shuffleboard, a Nintendo wall, cornhole and so much more.
The newly opened North Avenue Market is home to a new speakeasy bar found inside a decommissioned bank safe. Moesler’s Vault is a cocktail bar named after the vault door manufacturer and offers a rotating menu of rare and unique ingredients from Bittercube. The bar, originally a former United Federal Savings & Loan bank vault from 1949, also offers mocktails.
Milwaukee’s bar scene has a little bit of everything. From sleek, upscale bars to dives and everything in between, there’s a bar with an atmosphere suited to your aesthetic and an ambiance to fit every occasion. Found in Bay View, The Sugar Maple’s simple, perfectly curated atmosphere makes for a great evening out. Whether you’re looking to spend time outside on a patio on a warm summer night or a cozy night inside at the bar on a cold winter’s eve, Sugar Maple is the perfect destination for a relaxing night out. The bar offers a wide variety of N/A brews, drinks and mocktails including the local Great Lakes Distillery's juniper N/A botanical spirit.
A bar with one of the best views in the city, Boone and Crockett is situated along the banks of Lake Michigan in Milwaukee’s new Harbor District. The venue features a homey bar and also a venue, The Cooperage, that hosts N/A Day: A “Dry January” Beverage Festival annually as well as other concerts, markets, and events throughout the year. Boone and Crockett offers whimsically titled non-alcoholic cocktails including the Backseat Bingo and the Stranger Danger and boasts the beautiful backdrop of the Hoan Bridge and its dazzling light displays nightly.
For an intimate night out, head to Lost Whale in Bay View for expertly crafted mocktails in the snug and inviting bar of Lost Whale. Serving a wide array of deliciously designed beverages and mocktails including zero-proof rum, whiskey and more, Lost Whale concocts flavorful drinks that taste like the real thing.
Just opened, HoneyBee Sage is the sober and sober-curious headquarters for all your mocktail dreams. Designed as a space to relax and enjoy the company of your group, HoneyBee Sage offers a menu of mocktails and herbal beverages that are both good and good for you. Recently opened, the HoneyBee Sage Wellness & Apothecary Café is accented by walls of the iconic Cream City brick and industrial chic honeycomb décor to create an alluring space beautifully pairing the old and the new.
Whether you’re getting ready to host your next house party, tailgate the big game without missing out or have a go-to drink to sip on your next night in, Milwaukee has just the thing to help you N/A your way!
Milwaukee’s flagship micro-brewery turned regional craft brewery, Lakefront Brewery in the city’s Beerline B neighborhood, has released a series of N/A craft beer designed to taste so much like their original brews, that you’ll have to remind yourself that they’re near beer. There’s the amber lager N/A Riverwest Stein, the N/A IPA called Extended Play and the Bavarian dark lager N/A Eastside Dark. So, no matter what kind of near beer you’re craving, Lakefront Brewery has a brew for you.
Bold and balanced craft bitters company, Bittercube offers carefully researched, flavored bitters designed to elevate your sober drinking experience. The artisanal bitters company, established in 2009, offers a cocktail bar at The Bittercube Bar.