Beer gardens in Wisconsin just feel like a natural fit. We love our roots and our beer and we love to spend our few warm months outdoors as much as possible. Though we’ve always loved a festival here in Wisconsin, the idea of large, public beer gardens is a fairly new one, despite the fact that it’s probably something we should have figured out long ago.
We’re just a few weeks from Oktoberfest and then then it’ll be quite a few long, cold, snowy months before we can raise a stein in the beautiful outdoors. Celebrate and enjoy the final few weeks of summer with a trip to one of our great beer gardens.
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
1. Estabrook Beer Garden - Shorewood
Everyone drinking in public beer gardens across the country should be raising a Prost to Estabrook. They were the first public beer garden in the US in more than a century when they opened in 2012. The folks from Old German Beer Hall in Milwaukee put a lot of time and effort into permits, meetings and convincing local government that this wasn't just feasible, but a really, really good idea. They're directly responsible for beer gardens in parks and public spaces and are also an absolutely amazing place to meet with friends and enjoy the best of Milwaukee. Nestled along the river, the location is beautiful, there's pretty much always live music and they continue to add to their menu with everything from schnitzel to soft pretzels. The original. The best. Estabrook.
Located at 4600 Estabrook Pkwy., Milwaukee, WI 53211.
2. Olbrich Biergarten - Madison
Madison's first public beer garden opened this year and its right on the shores of Lake Monona. It's a good mix of adult and family-friendly, with an area to entertain kids that sits away from the the tables a bit. The location offers views of amazing sunsets over the lake and it really seems a perfect fit for Madison.
Located a t3527 Atwood Ave, Madison, WI 53714.
3. Bavarian Bierhaus - Glendale
If Estabrook is the original public beer garden, the Bavarian Bierhaus gets a nod for their long-running Oktoberfest and beer garden tradition. Home to one of the oldest soccer clubs in the state, the restaurant here was revitalized and now the outdoor park and shelter are utilized year-round, not just in September. LaCrosse has the biggest Oktoberfest in the state, but for those on the east side of Wisconsin, this is a close second.
Located at 700 W Lexington Blvd., Glendale, WI 53217.
4. New Glarus Brewery - New Glarus
While public beer gardens continue to pop up, Wisconsin's breweries are no strangers to stellar outdoor experiences. When New Glarus made their new, larger facility a few years ago, they created one of the best outdoor sipping spots in the state. Plenty of roof and sweeping views of the surrounding countryside as well as access to some of the best beers in the state make an afternoon here absolutely worthwhile.
Located at 2400 WI-69, New Glarus, WI 53574.
5. Union Terrace - Madison
Madison's Union Terrace is an institution and though not strictly a beer garden, for all intents and purposes it deserves a place on the list. Breathtaking views of the lake and sunsets, a huge selection of beer and food, an awesome cross-section of Madison locals and college students and live music make this a place every Wisconsinite should experience before they die.
Located at 800 Langdon St., Madison, WI 53706.
6. Lazy Monk Brewing - Eau Claire
Beer gardens certainly seem to be more popular in the southeastern part of the state, but there are a few great places to sit outside with a pint elsewhere in Wisconsin. Lazy Monk has added this cozy, welcoming beer garden to the side of their production facility and it's hopefully just the start of things to come for the area. Sip the house beers, enjoy some bright sunshine and then convince the rest of Eau Claire to sign on for this tradition.
Located at 97 W Madison St., Eau Claire, WI 54702.
7. South Shore Terrace - Milwaukee
We love a beer garden with a view, but none of them can really compete with South Shore Terrace. Sitting above Lake Michigan, there's not a more beautiful, relaxing place to sip a stein than South Shore. Southsiders knew about this hidden and gorgeous piece of the city, but the beer garden has opened it up to a whole new group of people. Once you've relaxed here, you'll find it hard to want to go anywhere else.
Located at 2900 S Shore Dr., Milwaukee, WI 53207.
8. Badger State Brewing - Green Bay
You'll never want for a seat at this awesome side-yard beer garden at Badger State Brewing. Relax with friends, bring some tailgate games and soak up the sun. A perfect place to wile away an afternoon.
Located at 990 Tony Canadeo Run, Green Bay, WI 54304.
9. Whitnall Park Beer Garden - Franklin
No matter where you live in the city of Milwaukee or surrounding areas, you're not far from a wonderful public beer garden. Estabrook laid the groundwork and a few different area parks picked up the mantle. Whitnall Park has so much else to do - the botanical gardens, golf, the nature center - that the beer garden seemed to only make sense. With a constant flow of folks to this area, the beer garden offers a place to whet your whistle before heading home.
Located at 5879 S 92nd St., Franklin, WI 53132.
Otto's Beer and Brat Garden - Minocqua
A trip up north isn't complete without a meal at this Minocqua staple. Authentic German food and beer in a wonderful, Bavarian atmosphere is on tap at Otto's. Relax on their back patio and imagine yourself in Munich.
Located at 509 Oneida St, Minocqua, WI 54548.
11. Petrifying Springs Biergarten - Kenosha
The success of the various Milwaukee-area park beer gardens has shown other cities that the idea is viable for them. This biergarten near the Illinois border is perfect for the laid-back atmosphere of this part of Kenosha. The fire pit is a brilliant addition to the biergarten idea. Petrifying Springs is already a success.
Located at 5555 7th St, Pavilion #1, Kenosha, WI 53144.
12. Stone Arch Brewery - Appleton
These folks took a brewing tradition that dates back to 1858 and revitalized it with a philosophy of local support, community and sustainability. The now-staple in Appleton not only brews great beers, but continues an amazing brewing history - including that of the beer garden.
Located at 1004 S Olde Oneida St., Appleton, WI 54915.
Upper Lake Beer Garden - Port Washington
This beer garden moved to their new home in Upper Lake Park this summer and it's been amazing. Run by the local VFW, The new spot offers a pavilion with protection from the elements, meaning the beer garden that only runs on Saturdays won't be rained out.
Located at 498 North Lake Street, Port Washington, WI 53074.
14. Sprecher Traveling Beer Garden - Milwaukee area
Beyond the embarrassment of riches that Milwaukee has with it's permanent beer gardens, Sprecher Brewery has also converted some old emergency vehicles to bring the beer garden to places all around southeastern Wisconsin. It's been a great way for areas to test out whether a more permanent garden would feasible for them.
For a full list of the traveling beer garden schedule, check
Have you been to any of these awesome beer gardens? Which is your favorite? Are there other beer gardens we left off the list?