Battle of the Happy Hours: CLEAR Bar at the Intercontinental Milwaukee

Posted by on Apr 10, 2018

I’m such a fan of a well-done Happy Hour, the golden space that can melt a hectic, exhausting day into a relaxed, buoyant evening.  While most bars and restaurants offer a Happy Hour, some can be lackluster.  When I find a good one, with an ambience that feels fun, a menu that feels like a sampler of the venue’s bright spots and good deals, I’m a loyalist.

This year I’ve become a regular at the Happy Hours of the Pfister’s Blu and Mason Street Grill, but realized I hadn’t yet tried those of the Pfister’s sister hotels, the Hilton and the Intercontinental.

So this week I’ll remedy that serious problem.  Every day Monday-Thursday, I’ll be sharing my experience at these four Happy Hours, some of the very best in a city that prides itself on doing Happy Hour incredibly well.

Come along with me on this trail of cocktails, appetizers and ambience and find your new favorite spots!

Our first stop is CLEAR, the in-lobby bar and lounge of the Intercontinental Milwaukee.

Where: CLEAR at the Intercontinental (139 E. Kilbourn Ave)

Happy Hours: Monday-Friday 4:30-6:30

Drink specials: $3 tap beers, $4 rail cocktails, $5 house wine

Food specials: A diverse list of specialty small plates

Who I Brought: my sister Megan, who deserves a fun Happy Hour to help her decompress after teaching all day


What We Tried: 

Gin and Tonics. They were perfect; stiff enough that the tonic’s bitterness was cut through leaving the simple, refreshing taste that makes the classic G&T my go-to rail cocktail.


Mushroom Chèvre Flatbread. Heavy on the peppery arugula, spread with creamy goat cheese.


Spicy Tuna Tartare Tacos. We found it delightfully flavorful, and definitely more sweet than spicy.


Bacon Wrapped Dates. Sweet and smoky, chewy with a bit of crunch. Simple and so delicious.

Our Favorites: Gin and Tonics and Spicy Tuna Tartare Tacos

This Spot’s Perfect Crowd:

– That big, noisy group who wants to grab a drink together after work

– Pabst Theater goers who have time for a cocktail before the show

– Friends who are looking for a laid back but still classy spot that will please everyone

The Intercontinental is on the corner of Water and Kilbourn, in the heart of downtown.  Much of the charm of Happy Hour here is that you’re right in the thick of things.  When we were there, most of the crowd was dressed in business attire and seemed to have dashed straight over from work.

Tomorrow, let’s try The Monarch Lounge at the Hilton Milwaukee City Center!

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