Review of Oak Barrel Milwaukee
Oak Barrel is a brand-new pub house located in downtown Milwaukee that offers its patrons artisan, thin-crust pizzas.
The two-floor restaurant opened in early 2018 and inhabits a renovated building in walking distance of the Milwaukee Bucks’ new arena and plenty of other downtown attractions, including the convention center and Milwaukee Theater.
The location of the new establishment and the building itself are perfect. Sitting right on historical Old World Third Street in downtown Milwaukee is the place to be – more on Oak Barrel’s creative way to stay engaged to summer happening throughout the city later on in the review. The building used to be home to an Italian restaurant on the first floor and a comedy club on the second floor. It was a natural fit for a creative and innovative restaurant to move into the space, and Oak Barrel is doing an outstanding job at utilizing the building in its entirety.
On to the food. The pizza itself has the thin, “cracker-style” crust that so many Milwaukeeians have come to expect. Varieties include seven ultra-creative offerings on the menu, including Thai Chicken (with peanut sauce!), French Connection (yes, there’s truffle oil), Sweet BBQ Chicken, and Mac N Cheese Pizza. Of course, there is also the always-popular build-your-own option, with 16 toppings to choose from – including mango.
In addition to pizza, Oak Barrel serves tacos, “smash butter burgers”, and other classic American entrees. Sides include Scotch Egg, Whiskey Battered Cheese Curds, Dry Rub Wings, Bang Bang Shrimp, Kentucky Fried Bacon, and more. The variety of sides and appetizers is extremely impressive for a pub house focused primarily on pizza and beverages, to be sure.
Speaking of beverages … there are also plenty of whiskeys to choose from, and there’s even a bottle club that awards members a bottle of Jameson whiskey displayed behind the bar with a plaque of their name. The whiskey list includes 25 varieties and is a pleasant surprise for pizza parlor fans that also enjoy themselves a glass of bourbon or Irish whiskey.
The beer list is a great mix of local micro-brews in addition to your traditional domestics and imports. The cocktail menu has 12 varieties listed, and the wine list is solid as well. In other words, there is something for everyone looking to enjoy an adult beverage with their meal.
In a unique twist, Oak Barrel offers shuttles to see the Milwaukee Brewers play at Miller Park as part of their Summerfest promotion beginning two hours before the first pitch of each home game – a genius move for a bar and restaurant that finds itself in the thick of most of the activity in downtown Milwaukee, but still a little ways away from Miller Park. And with the establishment opening just prior to baseball season, the timing is perfect.
If you’re looking for a versatile pub that specializes in the things that pub-goers want most (pizza, American classics, beer, and whiskey, of course), then look no further than Oak Barrel. One of Milwaukee’s newest pizza joints is also one of its very best.