This local guide will tell you all of the best bars Lake Geneva has to offer!
Welcome to the lively and spirited world of Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, where the sun sets on the sparkling waters, and the night comes alive with the clinking of glasses and laughter. As someone whose family has been in the area since the 1930s, I’ll be your trusty local guide, here to spill the beans on the most happening bars in Lake Geneva, Fontana, and Williams Bay. So, grab a seat, and let’s embark on a journey to the best watering holes this picturesque region has to offer.
Kicking off our list is a local gem that has been a staple in the Lake Geneva scene for decades – Chucks Lakeshore Inn. This beloved casual bar welcomes you with its laid-back atmosphere, friendly patrons, and stunning views of the lake.
Enjoy an ice-cold brew or sip on their famous Bloody Mary, lovingly garnished with all the fixings. Chucks Lakeshore Inn is the perfect spot to kick back, relax, and enjoy the company of fellow lake enthusiasts. This quintessential lakeside bar embodies the true spirit of Lake Geneva, and is the closest to a “Cheers” type of bar in the area.
If you are staying at the Abbey or going to the Fontana beach, this bar is only a short 2 block walk away!
Nestled in the heart of downtown Lake Geneva, the Flat Iron Tap is a local favorite for craft beer enthusiasts. This cozy and unpretentious bar boasts an impressive selection of craft beers on tap, providing a paradise for beer connoisseurs.
While the space may be small the portions are large! In addition to having over 100 beers on tap this place has a huge variety of amazing burgers with tasty shoestring potatoes and is located in downtown Lake Geneva. My family always chooses this place or Chucks when we want a burger.
For a true taste of Lake Geneva’s craft beer culture, look no further than Geneva Tap House. This is not only a bar, but an experience! They have over 50 self serve taps in the heart of downtown Lake Geneva, and offer an impressive array of craft beers in an industrial-chic space.
As for food they offer a few shareable cheese boards and appetizers, plus few panini options….but you are really here for the drinks! This is a fun spot to bring visitors or when you want great drinks with something a little more unique 🙂
Magpies Den & Pen has the best outdoor patio in downtown Lake Geneva! In addition to great food and drinks, the have an astroturf massive outdoor space with an area for bags, lounge chairs, a foosball table, fire pit, outdoor seating, outdoor bar and live music on the weekends!
They are also known for their famous Northwoods fried pickles….a MUST try! This Instagramable treat is a large dill pickle, wrapped in pepperjack cheese then fried in a wonton wrapper. I was a bit suspect but am now a true believer! The patio also makes it a family friendly place during the day- my two boys loved playing some of the games and it gave us some time as adults to relax and enjoy our food.
For the wine enthusiasts seeking a refined and sophisticated experience, Barrique Bistro & Wine Bar is a true gem. Located in downtown Lake Geneva this elegant wine bar offers an impressive selection of fine wines with a view of the lake! This is a great thing to do for couples or during a girls trip or bachelorette party in Lake Geneva!
Their knowledgeable sommeliers are always on hand to offer guidance and recommendations tailored to your preferences. Indulge in a wine flight, paired with delectable charcuterie and cheese, as you relish in the art of wine appreciation, another one of the top things to do in Lake Geneva, WI.
This local bar has been on the scene for more than 45 years and is the place to visit if you are looking for a DJ or dancing! They tout themselves as the “Best Party in Town” so if you are looking to let loose head here around 9pm Fridays and Saturdays!
They also have frequent theme party nights like 80s night or a Disco party; check their event calander here for all the details!
Tuesday is dog friendly night where you can bring your dog and they have dog friendly treats. Thursday is the ultimate ladies night where ladies pay $5 cover but then DRINK FREE from 9pm-midnight!
Perfect for a Lake Geneva bachelorette party or girls weekend!
Harpoon Willies is located in downtown Williams bay, right across from the lake! This casual local bar is open for lunch and dinner 7 days a week. It’s kitschy décor is filled with fishing and nautical pieces and it is a favorite for locals and visitors alike. They are known for their pizzas, have a screened in outdoor patio, and are a family friendly spot everyone can enjoy.
Every Thursday they have live music starting at 8:30pm which can turn into a mini dance party!
Step back in time to the era of Prohibition at basement The Speakeasy at Maxwell Mansion. Located within the historic Maxwell Mansion, this hidden gem offers a speakeasy-style experience with a modern twist – one of the most popular Lake Geneva attractions.
The intimate and dimly lit ambiance sets the stage for an evening of mystery and allure. Sip on handcrafted cocktails that pay homage to the classic drinks of the Prohibition era, with a contemporary twist. The Speakeasy at Maxwell Mansion is a one-of-a-kind experience that transports you to a time when revelry was a secret delight, offering a range of things to do in Lake Geneva WI. Every guest needs a password to enter which can be found on their facebook page!
Pier 290 – Williams Bay, WI
In my insider opinion Pier 290 is the best restaurant/bar on the entire lake. This upmarket American inspired restaurant offer craft cocktails, free valet parking, indoor and outdoor seating, a gift shop and breathtaking lakeviews make it a local favorite. Another bonus is you can come by boat, dock in front of the restaurant, have lunch and then enjoy the rest of the day on the water.
I recommend sitting outside (in the heated covered patio) and taking in the beautiful views while having a craft cocktail. They also have a small stretch of “beach” in front of the restaurant so you can have drinks almost on the water!
With live music Wednesdays-Sundays Pier 290 elevates your evening to a whole new level of sophistication and enjoyment and is a must visit. The famous Geneva Lake Shore path also runs right in front of the property! Bonus: THEY TAKE RESERVATIONS!
Last but not least, Topsy Turvy Brewery is a hidden gem for craft beer enthusiasts seeking something unique. Located in the heart of Lake Geneva in an old church, this brewery offers a rotating selection of artisanal beers brewed on-site.
Step into the rustic-chic taproom and sample their innovative brews, ranging from hoppy IPAs to rich stouts. The knowledgeable staff is passionate about their craft, and you can indulge in a tasting flight to explore the diverse flavors. They also have live music most Fridays and Saturdays and a great outdoor patio! For beer lovers seeking new adventures, Topsy Turvy Brewery is a must-visit destination and one of the top bars in Lake Geneva.
The Little Bar is exactly that–a small cozy bar right across the street from the Abbey resort that has become a favorite with locals in Fontana! Serving pizzas and cocktails this small bar gets packed due to their outdoor space and firepits. Only a few blocks from the lake stop here for a relaxing drink and sit back and enjoy the day. They are only open Wednesday-Sunday starting at 4pm so get their early to guarantee a spot and some pizza!
As your local in the know, I’ve shared the inside scoop on the best bars in Lake Geneva, Fontana, and Williams Bay. From the lakeside charm of Chucks Lakeshore Inn to the speakeasy allure of The Speakeasy at Maxwell Mansion, and the wine-lover’s paradise at Barrique Wine Bar to the cozy intimacy of Little Bar, each destination offers a unique and unforgettable experience.
Whether you’re a local seeking a new favorite spot or a visitor exploring the vibrant bar scene, these watering holes will make you feel right at home in the heart of Wisconsin’s lakeside paradise. Cheers to good times and unforgettable memories!