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Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery

Not Rated.
Rock Bottom Restaurant & BreweryRock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery
BA SCORE
81
good

40 Ratings
Ratings: 40
Reviews: 25
rAvg: 3.58
pDev: 12.01%
Active Beers: 467
Beer Ratings: 2,826
Beer Avg: 3.72
Taps: 0
Bottles: 0
Cask: N
Beer-to-Go: Y
[ Brewery, Bar, Eatery ]

740 N Plankinton Ave
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 53203-2403
United States
phone: (414) 276-3030

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap @rockbottom

Notes:
(Linked Listing) None, yet.

(Place added by: Winter)
Place: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 40 | Reviews: 25 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of blue-dream
2.5/5  rDev -30.2%

blue-dream, Jun 16, 2014
Photo of Bodurtha
3/5  rDev -16.2%

Bodurtha, Jul 09, 2014
Photo of BarrelAgedG
3/5  rDev -16.2%

BarrelAgedG, Jul 27, 2014
Photo of botham
3.1/5  rDev -13.4%

rock bottom is a notable stop in downtown milwaukee.

atmosphere was pretty good. the place has good character, with a pseudo-sportsbar/irish pub feel. if this place gets full during a sporting event, it would be wonderful.

quality was decent. the brews were above average and the food was great.

service was sub-par. the server was slow and unfriendly, without any knowledge of beer.

selection was normal. six or seven brews on tap and a few stales in bottles.

food was the best attracter to this place. great quality and perfect portion size.

botham, Apr 23, 2008
Photo of mltobin
3.11/5  rDev -13.1%

For those passing by the river in downtown Milwaukee, this is a convenient stop. And for those who work nearby, I certainly understand the positives. It is a large, bright space, that is good for groups. And they have a full bar, so your colleagues who do not like beer, can order a scotch, cosmo or whatever.
Beer was alright, but nothing great that I tried while there. The scotch ale, I feel was one of their better offerings. A good way to start a bar crawl and maybe eat some pub grub. Friendly staff helped make the visit a positive one.

mltobin, May 23, 2012
Photo of granger10
3.13/5  rDev -12.6%

Visited here with me paps and mum while moving into Mil-town. Beautiful day so we sat outside. Lots of people, not much beer being consumed. Blame lunchtime or Rock Bottom atmosphere?

Yuppyish. Amazing difference between the clietele here and the clientele at the bar we visited next to my apartment. Must check out nighttime.

I got the sampler. 7 offerings, plastic cups half full. Quite a bit. Nothing too good. Seasonals were a hefe and a nail polish flavored IPA. Only beer I would buy a pint of was the Scotch, maybe the Light actually as well.

Service was nothing really, even if this were just a restaurant. But I hear good things about the bartender so I'll have to check that out. She did pour me well.

Rock Bottom food is always good to me. Buffalo fajitas were the bomb and something one doesn't see too often. I must come here some night and see the difference. Riverboat tour looks interesting.

Go for the food, have a beer while there, that's about it.

granger10, Aug 09, 2006
Photo of aschbren
3.23/5  rDev -9.8%

I made a visit to the Rock Bottom Brewery in Milwaukee last weekend. Yes, I know, it's corporate. But I figured that I'd give it a try.

The building is very stately, being directly next to the river. And the neighborhood seems nice with a boardwalk district. The large neon "Rock Bottom" lights would look great on a gentle summer evening, but the forbidding winter temperatures didn't allow me to fully appreciate the atmosphere.

Inside the heavy wooden doors, we were greeted by a clean interior that was made to look like an old neighborhood brewpub. As our host walked us to our table as if he were crawling, the atmosphere took on a more sports bar theme. Flat screen televisions were strategically hung from the ceiling showing ESPN2. At the time that was a track meet and then golf.

The booths are very long and comfortable. They're raised above the floor level slightly, which adds a nice touch. Unfortunately, it was also very cold in the restaurant and all three of us wore our winter coats for much of the meal.

It took so long for the waitress to show up at our table that we were beginning to wonder if she was on break. When she arrived, she clearly had the "let's be friends" style of serving that I find annoying and inappropriate. The menu is too long and doesn't stick to any sort of theme. I ordered a pint of their Stillwater Stout ($4).

The beer was good, although I could swear that it's a clone brew of Guinness. In other words, it has virtually no roasted flavor and plays a strong hand of malts. There's little to no bittering hops either. The beer only carried a modest head. This beer was fine, but I prefer my stouts flintily dry and crammed full of roasted flavors. On the other hand, this beer has a good sessionability to it.

We had an appetizer of nachos. It came out on a huge oval plate piled at least six inches high with greasy tortillas held together by cheese. The chips themselves were very greasy, and indeed we found a lake of fat on the bottom of the plate. The salsa was timid, as if it didn't want to offend anyone. It didn't have a good balance of flavor, and wasn't even slightly spicy.

I ordered the "meatloaf and mashers." It comes with a nice helping of two slices of meatloaf, a pile of mashed potatoes, and buttery green beans. The meatloaf can be sauced with either stout tomato sauce or brown ale mushroom sauce, and I picked the former because the ketchup-meatloaf combination is traditional. The meatloaf is juicy (they let it rest) and filled with pieces of sautéd mushrooms, which imparted a nice flavor to an otherwise bland dish. The sauce, however, was truly one of the worst sauces I've ever tasted. And believe me, I have an open mind when it comes to experiencing new things. It just tasted bad. The flavor consists of a full-scale battle between the stout reduction component and the tomato component. The stout reduction tasted stale, as if a pan had been sitting on the stove for the last three days. And the tomatoes tasted like they were rotting in the back of their fridge. As I said, the flavors didn't parter either by similarity or contrast in the slightest. To make things worse, the menu boasted that the meatloaf is "made from scratch." If a restaurant has toclaim that they make their own food, you know there are serious problems.

The mash was good, although bland. The menu boasted that the potatoes had white cheddar in them, but I assume they meant the processed cheese variety.

The menu also said the dish would be served with "seasonal vegetables." Since it's January, I was expecting celeriac, squash, or maybe sweet potato. What vegetable did they consider seasonal? Green beans. At least they were well prepared. The vegetables felt firm and were crisp, unlike most green beans that are available at this time of year. Moreover, they had been blanched and shocked in the French manner. Unfortunately, unlike the French they didn't reheat their green beans after shocking them and instead served them cold. Serving them this way should be reserved for hot and humid summer days when you want something light and cool, not in the middle of the winter where it's even cold inside. The green beans were sauced with melted butter. I would have prefered sauce beurre blanc myself. Still, the green beans were the best part of the meal.

With my dinner, I ordered my first tripel. The nose was full of banana and bubble gum. The flavor had a nice balance of banana, bubble gum, and malts. It had a pleasant bitterness to it that I appreciated. Even better, they served it in an appropriate glass. It raised a nice white head that just wouldn't quit. It went great with the green beans. But at over 9% (typical for the style), it was a gracefully big beer.

I'd go there again for beer, but I'm not sure if I'd go there again for food.

aschbren, Feb 09, 2006
Photo of Akrueg7272
3.25/5  rDev -9.2%

Akrueg7272, Jul 23, 2014
Photo of BeerBelcher
3.25/5  rDev -9.2%

I met my wife here for lunch. There seemed to be nothing truly outstanding about the place from a BA perspective, but our food was pretty solid.

It is January in Milwaukee, so I feel I'm likely short-changing this place on the "atmosphere" dimension, as it is right along the walk-way on the river, so I imagine its atmostphere is much cooler in the summertime. Interior is nice, although I found parking to be a hastle. Only later did I learn that the lot store has valet service to Rock Bottom, and after validation parking is only $0.50.

The food was good. My wife and I both had pizza and we split a salad. The pizza crust was particularly good. Beers (IPA and a dubbel, reviewed separately) were OK, but not particularly outstanding. I've been to less nicely appointed brewpubs with worse food and much better beer.

They have a pretty good selection of beer...maybe 8 brews, two of which rotate.

Lunch was about $30 between the two of us...2 x pizzas, 1 x salad, 1 x iced tea, and 2 x beers, which is right on the edge of what I'd consider reasonable.

Not bad, but I probably won't be back.

BeerBelcher, Jan 26, 2007
Photo of stouts4me
3.25/5  rDev -9.2%

Same beers as at most of the franchise, but the location is great, right on the river walk.Food is very good.

stouts4me, Aug 24, 2014
Photo of Alpar
3.25/5  rDev -9.2%

Alpar, Aug 08, 2014
Photo of brdc
3.3/5  rDev -7.8%

This one has a great location; the best one from their chain I know, and the best location in town. Right in front of the water, in a sunny afternoon, a nice place to have a beer, and watch the boats and people passing.
The place inside is quite standard, and I am not sure I would go on a rainy or cold day.
Usual pub fare, nothing special. Decent beer selection covering most major styles, not bad, not great either. Otherwise, a mediocre selection.
Staff has memorized the beer descriptions, but really know nothing about it.
Worthwhile for the location.

brdc, May 04, 2009
Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.35/5  rDev -6.4%

Located in downtown Milwaukee, right on the river, a hip spot, plenty of wood, the usual mix of sports bar and pub atmosphere. Really cool to be out on the patio during the summer. Quality of the brews is decent, especially considering some of the chain breweries on the west coast (not Rock Bottom).

Service was nothing special, nothing terrible. Selection, this rock bottom doesn't branch out as adventurous as some of the ones in California, but the staple styles are usually available and decent enough. Love the chicken wings here, go here on the all you can eat/drink night on Thursday I think if they still do that.

Beerandraiderfan, Feb 02, 2011
Photo of BillyB
3.38/5  rDev -5.6%

This is one of the big Brew Pub chains that have lasted and seems to be doing well because they keep popping up.

The atmosphere was nice. Big spacious bar with nice elegant but earthy interior.

Our bartender was very nice and didn't even charge us for a sampler.

I noticed that the food portions were huge and pretty interesting. A taquito the size of a tire iron.

The beers were just medicre at best though; Greenfield American Light and Seasonal wheat were typical examples of their styles but not impressive.
Honey creek pale ale, raccoon red, naughty scot scotch ale, dark lager, and catcher in the rye beer were all just typical chain brew pub fare. Nothing special but nothing horrible either.
Their Prankster Saison did not really meet the requirements of a typical Saison, not showing any fruity esters or flavors at all. It tasted
more like a belgian pale that was mis-labled.
Nice time for someone who isn't more informed, but lacking good quality beer and a little soul.

BillyB, Jun 18, 2006
Photo of beerwolf77
3.38/5  rDev -5.6%

Stoped in here with a group of friends recently. It's a chain and everyone knows it. They aren't trying to be anything other than that so I give credit.

Typical brew pub. Tons of pub tables, high back chairs and booths. Smallish bar. Plenty of TV's to check the scores. We popped in downstairs to see what was happening. Unfortunately it was filled with what seemed like a frat party. Loud music, beer pong and a fullly packed bar. Immediate 180 back up the stairs we went.

Service in the main bar was decent. We didn't eat while visiting this time. However I have eaten here before and it's solid pub grub.

Overall I'm not a big fan of the place but it serves it's purpose.

beerwolf77, Sep 06, 2011
Photo of crossovert
3.41/5  rDev -4.7%

This place is your prototypical chain, and even a plainer one than most. It was packed to the gills on a Saturday night, at least 40-50 people waiting, all inside because it was pretty cold out.

I just stayed long enough to finish a sampler of the 9 beers with friends. It is actually not the worst brewpub stuff but the lager was diacetyl-ridden. The ales were all done to an average quality but nothing was really terrible.

The bartender I had was attractive and attentive, there was one other there that was not so much.

Overall a weak place if you are going for beer and atmosphere but good if you want a cheap fix.

crossovert, Feb 13, 2012
Photo of Pauly2X
3.48/5  rDev -2.8%

Went here for a late lunch with an old friend / fellow beer lover. We sat outside due to the nice weather at pub table right on the river so the scenery was very pleasant.

Due to the temperature being in the 80's we both had the Honey Creek Pale Ale (check out my review for more on this beer). The waitress was quite knowledgeable about the selection. The only problem I had with the selction was, no oktoberfest, wtf?! In the middle of september I thought this would be standard anywhere.

I had the Hickory Burger which was a bacon cheddar cheeseburger with thier own barbeque sauce which was based from thier stout. The sauce is what made the difference between average and quite good. My friend had the mac and cheese which may sound pedestrian, however I can assure you was anything but. It was spicey with chicken and was sprinkled with parmesan chese.

All in all a great experience mostly due to siting on the river. Expect less of an experience if you're sitting inside but still nice nevertheless. I'll be back again.

Pauly2X, Sep 19, 2007
Photo of t0rin0
3.5/5  rDev -2.2%

Visited 10/10/2010 (Sunday night). 9 house taps.

Surprisingly busy for a Sunday night. I parked about a half mile away near Milwaukee Ale house and hiked over to Rock Bottom afterwards. Sitting at the bar with my sampler set of course started some conversations and I ended up talking to a person that used to live where I live now, a couple from somewhere on the east coast (can't remember), and a local. Nice people.

The service was nice too. They were happy to answer any questions they could but for the most part left me alone to talk amongst themselves.

9 beers to choose from and some were decent. Didn't try the food. Great location, right on the water.

t0rin0, Dec 20, 2010
Photo of atone315
3.5/5  rDev -2.2%

atone315, Oct 16, 2013
Photo of Eman17
3.5/5  rDev -2.2%

Eman17, Oct 07, 2014
Photo of derkfromwi
3.5/5  rDev -2.2%

derkfromwi, May 27, 2014
Photo of KBomb
3.53/5  rDev -1.4%

We were in town for a concert and this spot was less than a block a way. The location right next to the river is great, we had a nice view of great architecture and pleasure boats. The food is really delicious--it defies you're inclination to write it off as a kind of a typical bar&grill chain. I had smoked salmon fish and chips that were bursting with flavor! The wifey liked her mahi mahi tacos that were authentically wood grilled. I had the lager and the red ale. Neither blew me away but neither were all that bad either. Service was a little unremarkable.

Come for the food and wash it down with decent beer, but don't expect mind blowing brews.

KBomb, Jul 22, 2008
Photo of younger35
3.56/5  rDev -0.6%

My girlfriend and I stopped by Rock Bottom on a recent trip to Milwaukee to spend a long weekend. The location of this one is really nice right on the river with a decent view of the Milwaukee skyline. It's a fairly big place as well.
When we showed up we were promptly seated out on the patio at a nice table right by the water (got lucky because it was busy). The server was really busy as well though so I had to go up to the bar to order our beer. Like all the Rock Bottoms they had the whole gamut of beer styles and I got the Scotch Ale which was just average. My girlfriend got the American Wheat which was much better. Then it started raining and we went inside for one more beer before our dinner reservations. The porter that I got inside was darn tasty and the service was really good. They seemed to be understaffed outside and overstaffed inside. All in all it was pretty good and much better to have an average craft beer than no craft beer.

younger35, Aug 01, 2008
Photo of Yetiman420
3.63/5  rDev +1.4%

Stop #404 on my world brewery tour.

Yeah, it's a chain - I know. Been to quite a few RB's when there's not much else to choose from. Always liked the ability of the brewer to create some of their own creations. In this case, I went with a very well done spiced pumpkin ale. Imperial pint was too much as a night cap so while it was very good, I wasn't able to drink the whole thing.

Got the fish taco small plate which was tasty.

Server was nice but as is expected, not a beer connoisseur. There was a high school team of about 40 people who came in after me and she made sure my food order got in before them.

Yetiman420, Nov 03, 2013
Photo of Beerfayce
3.68/5  rDev +2.8%

Rock Bottom is my go-to place for lunch from work if it is a nice day; the patio area is completely worth it. I have also spent some beautiful summer evenings there with my friends and a few pitchers.
The atmosphere is pretty standard, a clean and expansive place with comfortable seating. I have had both good and bad service there, although on the whole it has been a good impression for me. The food is of decent variety, on the pricey side of reasonable but not bad at all for a nice downtown brewpub.
The beer is decent, I will usually get the Pale Ale or Seasonal. fresh beer is nice and their brews are not offensive. As previously mentioned, add decent beer to a great patio and the overall experience is very pleasant. Check it out during one of the few warm months in MKE.

Beerfayce, Jun 15, 2010
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Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery in Milwaukee, WI
81 out of 100 based on 40 ratings.