It’s not uncommon to be frustrated with the realities of modern dating in Milwaukee. Whether you’re hunting for a date in downtown Milwaukee or elsewhere in the rest of the Milwaukee metro area, many singles often ask themselves “How can I find a partner in Milwaukee?” instead of staying home for yet another lonely weekend.
It may seem counterintuitive, but single men and women are actually spoiled for choice in Wisconsin when it comes to finding a variety of available partners. However, the reality of actually meeting single people in Milwaukee, setting up a date, and having a great time together is tougher than ever (you can thank the pandemic for that!).
Is there a solution? Of course, there is and BeyondAges is here to show you the way. With some planning and some effort on your part, finding a date in Milwaukee is substantially easier than in similarly-sized cities. You’ll have to be open-minded enough to explore all of the Milwaukee dating scene (not just the places you’ve already been trying) and make it happen. You will be surprised at what changing your entire outlook can do!
Read on to find the most proven suggestions on where to meet Milwaukee singles, great Milwaukee date ideas to find your bearings, dating apps that give you an advantage, and some of our favorite date spots around Milwaukee.
Table of Contents
What Dating in Milwaukee Is Like Right Now
Let's begin by setting some realistic expectations about what the Milwaukee dating scene is currently like:
First, many singles choose Milwaukee for its great climate, affordable standard of living, and livability index higher than other cities in Wisconsin. With a lot of businesses here like Aurora Health, Kroger’s, and Northwest Mutual, more new people are calling Milwaukee home for its access to economic opportunities.
There is also quite a bit of diversity in the type of partners you can find here, especially for Wisconsin, which makes finding exactly what you are looking for more attainable - that is, if you’re willing to put in the effort.
Here’s a breakdown of what Milwaukee’s single demographics look like:
- Total population: 529,153
- Percentage single: 31.30%
- Total singles: 165,625
- Single men: 80,951
- Single women: 84,674
31.30% of the total population looking for a partner means you’ve got pretty good odds of finding a partner. Now, we know what you’re probably thinking:
If there are so many singles out there in Milwaukee, why am I single?
Having plenty of dating options doesn't necessarily mean that dating in Milwaukee is going to be easy. In fact, it might be even harder with all the competition and the long-term effects of the pandemic. However, a realistic outlook is highly encouraged -if you understand the challenges, you can meet someone sooner rather than later.
Where to Meet Someone to Date in Milwaukee
At BeyondAges, we believe in being as honest as possible to our readers. That’s why we’ll start by mentioning that it's nearly impossible to make a list of the best places to find someone to date in Milwaukee! There’s simply too much going on around town to choose from!
Instead, we’ll share some of the best places that make it much simpler to meet Milwaukee singles that are looking for more than just some casual fun (we have a comprehensive article on where to find Milwaukee hookups if that’s your end-game). These are places that tend to have the following criteria in common when you’re on the lookout for candidates for serious relationships:
- Lots of singles
- Lively atmosphere/ambiance
- Easy to mix and mingle with new people
- The environment is actually quiet enough to have a conversation
- Alcohol is always appreciated
- Relatively cheap and inexpensive
Now, before we get into some specific recommendations, let's quickly turn our attention to apps:
Why you should be using at least one app
Are you using at least one dating app right now? If the answer is “no” or you feel that dating apps don’t get results, then you're really missing out on who’s out there in Milwaukee’s highly-competitive dating scene.
With social distancing guidelines still in effect for many people and those who are choosing to work from home, more Milwaukee singles are relying on apps to screen out those who don’t meet their standards and access a large number of people. For better or worse, dating apps are here to stay.
Does this mean that dating apps in Milwaukee are the only way to go? Of course not, but it can be a struggle if you value your free time and would like to save some money.
If you've struggled in the past with choosing which app works for you, check out our rankings of the best dating apps in Milwaukee to find out which apps best fit the type of partner and relationship you’re looking for. From young professionals, religious types, and those looking for a quick hookup, there are plenty of options to choose from. If you're pressed for time and don’t want to read the full article, these apps are the best options:
- eHarmony is simply the best choice you can make for long-term relationships in Milwaukee. eHarmony features the best track record among all Milwaukee dating apps - try eHarmony today for a free trial!
- AFF is the best dating app in Milwaukee for finding casual fun with some of the best features you’ll find out there. Try AFF’s free trial today! We've tried out over a 100 different apps and sites and this has been the best option for finding casual fun for most, especially regular guys.
After trying out dozens of popular dating apps in Milwaukee, we've learned what actually works out there. Be sure to check out our rankings above for more info. Now, let's talk about our favorite spots around Milwaukee.
The best singles bars in Milwaukee
Using the criteria mentioned earlier, BeyondAges has narrowed down a pretty good list of the best singles bars in Milwaukee. These bars offer the best chances for single people to meet up, have a couple of drinks, and enjoy a comfortable ambiance:
- Taylors in Yankee Hill - 795 N Jefferson St, Milwaukee, WI 53202
- Burnhearts in Bay View - 2599 S Logan Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53207
- Sugar Maple in Bay View - 441 E Lincoln Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53207
- Boone & Crockett in Harbor View - 818 S Water St, Milwaukee, WI 53204
- Bryant's Cocktail Lounge in Historic Mitchell Street - 1579 S 9th St, Milwaukee, WI 53204
- Hunty's Social Club in Hunter’s Point - 734 S 5th St, Milwaukee, WI 53204
- Visit The Outsider if you want to meet a Milwaukee cougar - 310 E Chicago St, Milwaukee, WI 53202
Don’t forget that there are a couple of factors that either make or break a positive bar experience. From the time of day, whether there’s live entertainment, to whether a favorite bartender is working, these places can vary widely. (If you have any suggestions about the best singles bars in Milwaukee, drop a comment below.)
A few other great places to find a date in Milwaukee
Don’t like bars? While there’s a great bar scene in Milwaukee, there are plenty of other options that don’t rely on drinking as much. You can still get great results outside of a bar setting - even during Milwaukee’s humid summers and the snowy winter season.
Take a look at a few more options below that have gotten results for Milwaukee singles. As with anything dating-related, it pays to be open-minded. Don't take things too seriously, and just focus on having a good time. You just might find someone that you might not run into elsewhere in Milwaukee!
- Likewise Coffee in Downtown Milwaukee - 232 E Erie St, Milwaukee, WI 53202
- 600 East Cafe in East Town - 600 E Wisconsin Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53202
- Canary Coffee Bar in Westown - 720 N Old World 3rd St, Milwaukee, WI 53203
- Rochambo Coffee & Tea House in Lower East Side - 1317 E Brady St, Milwaukee, WI 53202
- Alderaan Coffee in Lower East Side - 1560 N Water St, Milwaukee, WI 53202
- Whole Foods, Rupena’s Fine Foods, or Trader Joe’s are great choices to find attractive people in Milwaukee shopping upscale and organic!
- Meetup groups - There are tons of groups throughout Milwaukee that are full of eager singles looking to share their interests, including music, hobbies, tech, sports, and even mixer events for finding your next match
- Again, apps and sites are a good option for just about anyone (check out the best dating sites in Milwaukee here)
What about speed dating in Milwaukee
Wanna give speed dating a shot? Speed dating has become an extremely popular choice for dating in Milwaukee ever since the start of the pandemic. With virtual speed dating now an option as well as the traditional in-person event, it’s never been easier to meet a bunch of people.
If you're busy and have some spare cash (events usually cost anywhere from $30 - $100+ to attend an event), speed dating in Milwaukee is perhaps the most efficient way to meet a dozen or so single people in the space of an hour-plus. And because the time is guaranteed for each conversation, you won’t feel like you should’ve said something more or didn’t have enough time.
Most speed dating events in Milwaukee follow the same pattern:
- First, you preregister online. You’ll receive the rules of the event, as well as what you should expect (ie. dress code, code of conduct, etc.)
- On the day of the event, you show up at the venue. Many bars rent out rooms for speed dating events so there’s some amount of privacy.
- With everyone arriving and getting comfortable, the host makes a short announcement about the rules of conduct and starts the process of "mini-dates" each lasting approximately 5 minutes, where participants make conversation. The idea is that first impressions tend to be a good indicator of whether there’s any chemistry for compatibility. (Don’t worry if you don’t get a positive reaction each time; people are choosier than ever!).
- Once 5 minutes is over, a bell sounds indicating the men to move to the next table where a woman remains seated (sometimes women swap seats just so they don’t get tired).
- This 5-minute process repeats until the entire event elapses or until everyone gets a chance to meet one another.
As the event progresses, both participants make a list of the people they want to see again. If both singles want to see each other again, the speed dating organizer gives you the other match’s contact info (usually by the next day). Simple, no?
If this sounds like a fun and efficient way to meet new singles in Milwaukee, the following are the best Milwaukee speed dating groups worth checking out:
Now that we’ve covered the essentials about finding a date, let's jump into how to have a great date in Milwaukee!
Our Best Date Ideas in Milwaukee - and Why They’re Great
Once you've met someone special, it’s now time to plan a date to see if the both of you are a good match. Many people default to the unfortunately all-too-common “dinner and a movie” and that's a big mistake for modern dating in Milwaukee!
- A dinner date between two strangers often turns into a pseudo-interview and eating makes people lethargic
- A movie doesn’t involve any conversation and requires you to sit still for 90 minutes or more. It can be awkward sitting next to someone that’s practically still a stranger.
Instead, we have a few rules that all of our date ideas in Milwaukee generally follow. You can use these as a guide for when you’re planning your date. A great date idea in Milwaukee tends to be one that:
- Doesn’t require traveling far
- Focuses on new, fun, and interesting experiences
- Things are happening around you that make great conversation topics
- Doesn't involve sitting face-to-face for a long time
- Requires some physical activity or moving
- Isn't too expensive or requires expensive equipment to participate
- Doesn't last for hours (you can bail or course-correct if you’re not feeling it)
- Enables you both to feel at ease and comfortable
- Involves a little friendly competition
Here’s a useful tip: It helps to know what your date is into beforehand. For example, if you know your date loves animals, going to a zoo is a solid choice. Or, if you’re date is fit and loves a little physical activity, they’ll probably have a good time at an ice skating rink. A quick look at their social media profile or something they mentioned when you met them will definitely help you.
It’s best to keep an open mind and do things that would create a memorable experience that you both share. To get started, here are some great dating ideas in Milwaukee:
- Go ice skating
- Have fun with a few rounds of miniature golf
- Learn some new moves by taking a group dance class
- Hit a bullseye at an archery range
- Work on your swing at a driving range
- Hit up the zoo or wildlife refuge
- Check out a street fair (Milwaukee has tons)
- Explore a farmer’s market
- Try your hand at axe throwing
- Test your quick thinking in an escape room
- Go rollerskating
- Take a walk with your dog somewhere fun (if you have one)
- Take a painting class (preferably with some adult beverages to loosen up your creativity)
- Explore museums and botanical gardens
Use this list to plan a date in Milwaukee or at least get an idea of what other singles in Milwaukee are doing on their dates. Each of the above activities barely requires any athletic skill to enjoy or at least attempt, so there’s little to no pressure to be good at any of them - plus, it’s really exciting to learn that your date is great at archery!
The first date idea that we always recommend
The ideas above can be great first dates but we have a better idea. When people ask our team what the best first date in Milwaukee is we always tell them the same thing, meet up at a laid-back lounge or coffee shop and get to know each other a bit.
A full-blown date is a lot of pressure and isn't cheap. It takes time to plan and might involve you taking a bus around town to get there. Before you make that kind of investment you want to know that you and your interest have at least some level of compatibility. The last thing you want is to get stuck for hours on a date that you knew 10 minutes in, wasn't going anywhere.
Instead, tell them that you're really busy but would love to meet up for a drink to get to know each other a bit. If things go well you can always extend the date to one of the activities above. If it doesn't, you haven't lost much. This also takes a lot of pressure off both of you so you can both relax and be yourselves.
Best Date Bars in Milwaukee (Especially for Fun First Dates)
Milwaukee is known for its wonderful beer scene and plenty of great bars, so choosing a bar is an obvious choice for an exciting date. Whether you want to spend hours in a comfy lounge or barhop to a new venue to keep things lively, Milwaukee’s bar scene offers a lot of versatility when it comes to planning your date.
With this in mind, finding a great date bar in Milwaukee simply comes down to what type of night you’re looking to have. Whether you hit up a dive bar to chill, an elegant cocktail lounge that’s perfect for showing off your wardrobe, or even have some friendly competition at a “barcade”, Milwaukee has plenty of options to impress your date.
Take a look at the list below, as we’ll focus on Milwaukee bars with the best drink specials, live entertainment, and more:
- Up-Down MKE in Lower East Side - 615 E Brady St, Milwaukee, WI 53202
- Truth Lounge in Westown - 1111 N Doctor M.L.K. Jr Dr, Milwaukee, WI 53203
- Stir Cocktail Lounge in Westown - 112 W Wisconsin Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53203
- BrownStone Social Lounge in East Town - 524 N Water St, Milwaukee, WI 53202
- Blu in East Town - 424 E Wisconsin Ave 23rd Floor, Milwaukee, WI 53202
- Walker’s Lounge MKE in Walker’s Point - 626 S 5th St, Milwaukee, WI 53204
- Bryant's Cocktail Lounge in Historic Mitchell Street - 1579 S 9th St, Milwaukee, WI 53204
Milwaukee’s bar scene means that you’ll find plenty of bars within walking distance of one another. If you feel the energy of the date waning or maybe you want to find a better vibe, don’t be afraid to go for a walk to another bar (typically right around the corner) or Uber to the other side of town to keep things interesting!
Best Date Night Restaurants in Milwaukee that Should Be Your First Choice
Here’s a little-known secret for dating in Milwaukee: Skip the traditional “dinner date” for your first few dates.
To be blunt, dinner dates tend to be pretty dull. Even at some of Milwaukee's best restaurants, you’ll also have a tough time trying to make a connection with a new person over drink refills, deciding what appetizers to eat, and dessert. Plus, there’s always the issue of who pays for the check - something you probably want to avoid.
Nevertheless, if you’ve developed some chemistry and are already having a good time, we've got some solid restaurant choices in Milwaukee that offer great ambiance and affordable plates:
- El Tsunami in Lincoln Village - 2222 South 13th Street, Milwaukee, WI 53215
- Crafty Cow in Bay View - 2675 S Kinnickinnic Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53207
- Honeypie Cafe in Bay View - 2569 S Kinnickinnic Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53207
- Onesto in Historic Third Ward - 221 N Broadway, Milwaukee, WI 53202
- La Merenda in Harbor View - 125 E National Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53204
- The National Cafe in Walker Square - 839 W National Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53204
More Date Spots in Milwaukee We Love
You’re probably aware that dating is more than just eating, drinking, and people-watching. Successful dating in Milwaukee means enjoying each other’s company in all the spots that Milwaukee has to offer. Based on our experience and research, singles in Milwaukee have had great dates at the following date spots in Milwaukee - and we're absolutely confident you can do the same:
- Go ice skating at Wilson Ice Arena
- Watch the Milkmen play at Ballpark Commons
- Visit Milwaukee Public Museum and the Grohmann Museum for one-of-a-kind exhibits and events
- Check out some fascinating wildlife at the Milwaukee County Zoo
- Try a group dance lesson at Milwaukee Ballroom Dance
- Shoot some targets together at Kinnickinnic Archery Range
- Stroll through vendor booths at the many art fairs throughout Milwaukee
- Shop for fresh groceries and taste homemade food at the Milwaukee Farmers Market
- Solve a puzzle at 60 To Escape - Milwaukee Escape Rooms
- Catch live music and more at The Miramar Theatre
Note: Because of Milwaukee's climate, make sure to take a look at weather forecasts before plotting your next date. You wouldn't want to plan an outdoor date only to be met with freezing temperatures come evening!