WHAT’S BREWING Santiago Calatrava’s Quadracci Pavilion at the Milwaukee Art Museum. Photo: Kevin J. Miyazaki for The Wall Street Journal

DEEPLY ROOTED in manufacturing, Milwaukee has long been regarded as an industrious city that fixates on its baseball, brats and beer (Miller, Pabst and Schlitz were all birthed here). These days, Wisconsin’s largest municipality has formed some new obsessions: basketball, plant-based restaurants and craft distilleries. “It doesn’t even feel like the old Milwaukee to me in terms of the culture,” said born-and-raised Milwaukeean John Schlifske, CEO of Northwestern Mutual. Across the river from the Milwaukee Art Museum, with its birdlike pavilion, the ambitious $524-million Fiserv Forum opened last summer, more aptly reflecting the Bucks’ ranking among the NBA’s best teams. The complex surrounding the new arena houses energy-infusing new bars and restaurants. In summer, locals gratefully populate the beaches that wrap around the city’s Lake Michigan shoreline and the smattering of beer gardens accessible via bicycle. Here, four denizens share other favorite spots for midsummer, or anytime.

The Sportsman

Jon Horst

General Manager of the Milwaukee Bucks

CAPPUCCINO AL FRESCO / Colectivo Lakefront One of my favorite spots for morning meetings, it has an outdoor seating area right on the lake. 1701 N. Lincoln Memorial Dr., colectivocoffee.com

The Colectivo Lakefront, a coffeehouse in a former Lake Michigan flushing station built in 1888. Photo: Kevin J. Miyazaki for The Wall Street Journal

GAME PLAN / Deer District This new neighborhood includes Fiserv Forum, plus myriad dining options. I like Good City Brewing, a lively spot, and I often take our staff to lunch on the patio at the Mecca Sports Bar and Grill. deerdistrict.com

SPORT JACKET / NL Suits This is my favorite clothier for custom suits. Nas Laine, the owner, is a big Bucks fan. I ordered a new suit there for the playoffs—navy with a subtle dot pattern. 241 N. Broadway, nlsuits.com

NICE AND HIP / Kimpton Journeyman For any visitor who doesn’t stay with us, this is where I point them. It’s in the Third Ward, a hip area, and the people are really nice. 310 E. Chicago St., journeymanhotel.com

Midsummer in Milwaukee

From lakeside cafes to beer gardens, stylish shops to one of the country’s top golf courses, an urban getaway on Lake Michigan.

The bar at Goodkind, a restaurant and bar in the Bay View neighborhood.
Kevin J. Miyazaki for The Wall Street Journal
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The Entrepreneur

Juli Kaufmann

President of Fix Development, a real-estate firm focused on social impact

Chef Caitlin Cullen with her signature fried chicken at the Tandem. Photo: Kevin J. Miyazaki for The Wall Street Journal

TIME FRIES / The Tandem This was a classic Milwaukee German beer hall serving old-time fish fries. It’s been transformed by chef/owner Caitlin Cullen. Get the Memphis whole fried chicken to share. 1848 W. Fond Du Lac Ave., tandemmke.com

EBB AND FLOW / Three Bridges Park This old industrial manufacturing base sat vacant for decades. Now it’s an amazing park in the Menomonee River Valley, and you can fish in the river. 610 S. 35th St., thevalleymke.org

TUNE IN / 88Nine Radio Milwaukee On Thursdays, drop by for free local music in this open-to-the-public studio with an attached coffee shop and bar. The 414 Live series is a quintessential Milwaukee music experience. 158 S. Barclay St., radiomilwaukee.org

POLKA AROUND / Oak Leaf Trail I love to grab a Bublr bike, ride the trail north to Estabrook Beer Garden and listen to a polka band. Lincoln Memorial Dr., oakleaftrail.com

The Chef

Dan Jacobs

Chef and co-owner of Dandan, Esterev and Fauntleroy

HOME COOKING / Goodkind It has a warm, cozy feeling like you’re at home. Go for the rotisserie chicken, crispy Brussels sprouts salad and the best carbonara in town. 2457 S. Wentworth Ave., goodkindbayview.com

PRESENT AND ACCOUNTED FOR / Ursa They sell everything from plants and cologne to soaps, paper goods and pottery. It’s one of my favorite spots to pick up gifts, and a lot of the items are locally sourced. 2534 S. Kinnickinnic, shopursa.com

Milworks, a menswear and home goods shop. Photo: Kevin J. Miyazaki for The Wall Street Journal

LITTLE GUYS / Milworks I’m a big fan of this gentleman’s store. They procure and sell items from small clothing lines and shoes. Recently I bought a blue linen button-down for summer. 143 N. Broadway St.

BAND TOGETHER / The Cooperage We have a great local music scene with a bunch of little clubs. One of them is the Cooperage. Last time I was there I saw the Whips, a local band. 822 S. Water St., cooperagemke.com

The Executive

John Schlifske

CEO of Northwestern Mutual

Estabrook Beer Garden, off the Oak Leaf Trail Photo: Kevin J. Miyazaki for The Wall Street Journal

FREEZE FAME / Kopp’s Frozen Custard In Milwaukee, no one eats ice cream—everyone eats frozen custard. Every month Kopp’s posts online which flavors they’ll have each day. My favorite is red raspberry. 5373 N. Port Washington Rd., Glendale, kopps.com

POWER LUNCH / Elsa’s on the Park You’ll see politicians, business people, entertainers. They had gourmet burgers before anyone talked about gourmet burgers. 833 N. Jefferson St., elsas.com

TEED UP / Erin Hills I’m a 17 handicap, so the whole course—which hosted the 2017 U.S. Open—is challenging. From hole 18, there’s a beautiful view of Holy Hill Basilica. 7169 County Road O, Erin, erinhills.com

GO FISH / Bartolotta’s Lake Park Bistro My wife and I like to dine at the bar. They have Dover sole flown in from Europe and a great French wine list. 3133 E. Newberry Blvd., bartolottas.com

The Milwaukee Art Museum, designed by architect Santiago Calatrava. Photo: Kevin J. Miyazaki for The Wall Street Journal

Plus, Don’t Miss…

Wild Roots Opened this spring, this chef-farmer collaboration serves dishes with heirloom vegetables and unusual foraged finds (think edible moss and cattails). 6807 W. Becher St., West Allis, wildrootsmke.com / Milwaukee Art Museum Arrive just before 10 a.m. to catch the Santiago Calatrava-designed “wings” opening for the day. The best vantage point is from the footbridge leading to Wisconsin Avenue 700 N. Art Museum Dr., mam.org / Twisted Path Distillery Former CIA officer Brian Sammons makes certified organic gin and small-batch whiskeys, both served in the tasting room. 2018 S. 1st St., twistedpathdistillery.com / Destination Kohler An hour north of Milwaukee, you’ll find two terrifically scenic golf courses at Whistling Straits (host of the 2020 Ryder Cup) and cushy lodging at the American Club. Rooms from $417 a night, americanclubresort.com

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