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“I could tell you, but then I'd have to...” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Safe House

Safe House
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Ranked #18 of 1,502 Restaurants in Milwaukee
Price range: $11 - $30
Cuisines: Bar, Pub, American
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Large groups, Families with children, Special occasions, Bar scene, Kids
Dining options: Drinks, Dinner, Lunch, Accepts Mastercard, Accepts Visa, Free Wifi, Full Bar, Highchairs Available, Parking Available, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Street Parking, Waitstaff
Neighborhood: Downtown
Description: In an alleyway near the river, two gas lights and an inconspicuous nameplate—with the name International Exports Ltd.—is all that mark the brick front of this establishment. However, this spy-themed restaurant and bar has been a favorite Milwaukee attraction since its creation in 1966 by founder David Baldwin. Yes, you need the password. No, we cannot divulge it. But rest assured, as soon as you pass your fun clearance test to prove you’re a friendly operative, you will enter a spy’s nest of global espionage and entertainment! Expect intrigue and surprises as you explore the twists and turns of the Safe House, operated by an entity known only as Control. A former jazz club, liquor store and hardware store were bought to expand the Safe House and build out a theme of international sectors. In the German Sector examine the CIA Cold War artifacts display, or make a call from our C.I.A (Crafty Instant Alibi) phone booth. Solve the riddle of the world’s largest mechanical puzzle in the Mediterranean sector. Gather your spy-ring for a brief meeting and order a Great Spytini and watch it whiz through the pneumatic tube system, arriving shaken, not stirred. After a few cocktails you may feel like you’re sinking in your chair—but don’t worry—you’re probably sitting in the lucky ejection seat at the Interpol bar. We can’t tell you much more—but keep in mind—good spies never leave the way he or she came in! Wired Magazine calls the Safe House “one of the hippest places on the planet.” Featured on the History Channel and Food Channel, the Safe House has been visited by Rachael Ray herself! Our menu includes gourmet sandwiches and entree spycials for lunch and dinner, as well as a furtive Friday fish fry. For vegetarian operatives, Control recommends the Hail to the Caesar Salad, among many more. A full selection of cocktails, wine and beer are served in an atmosphere of family fun. Food Network’s Best Of calls it “Too much to pass up.”
St. Paul, Minnesota, United States
Level Contributor
3 reviews
“I could tell you, but then I'd have to...”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 4, 2013

This restaurant was a great addition to an already fabulous trip! I knew the password to get in, but my boyfriend didn't. It was great fun to watch Control suss out if he was a double agent or not. There are multiple tv's around the bar for everyone to watch in the fun. The time and effort that went into the decor is amazing! There are movie posters, to signed "spy" pictures, to Spy games. It was a blast and we hadn't even ordered our food yet. The staff sat us in a cozy booth for two, that was out of the way. The food was great and the spy drinks are phenomenal! They even let you keep the nifty spy glasses for their signature drinks. From start to finish the staff at the Safe House stay in spy character. This is a must do while in Milwaukee. We'll definitely be back!

  • Visited June 2013
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
Thank Ashley N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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1,003 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
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English first
Alexandria VA
Level Contributor
24 reviews
9 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
“Fans of Spies should not miss this bar in downtown Milwaukee”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 31, 2013

Don't go for the food - drinks are good but the atmosphere is the reason to go. If you enjoy spy trivia and memorabilia - from George Smiley to James Bond, Get Smart to Mission Impossible - letters, photos, movie items, books on display. A secret entrance from an alley way requiring a secret password starts the experience. A special experience (separate charge) will put an unsuspecting friend in the hot seat. Usually pretty crowded, not a neighborhood corner tavern (most Milwaukee taverns have pretty mediocre food anyway). Explore the various rooms and wall decoration between drinks. Walk down memory lane with various real and fictional spies. Not sure there is an experience theme like this anywhere else.

  • Visited November 2012
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
Thank DebsAlexandriaVA
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Tosa, WI
Level Contributor
13 reviews
7 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“If you have never been.... it is a must see!”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 31, 2013

I've been to the Safe House multiple times over approx. 20 years. While not someplace I'd select on my own to go, if friends or business associates are looking for a casual and entertaining place to go in Milwaukee, it fills the ticket! Having to know the secret password to get in can be fun - as well as the numerous different oddities and "spy" stuff throughout the safe house.

Visited December 2012
Helpful?
Thank Sunny071
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Pewaukee, Wisconsin
Level Contributor
49 reviews
31 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
“Kitschy fun”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 28, 2013

Knowing the password to get in is just the beginning. Finding all the secret spy things inside and enjoying the curios in the cabinets and moving paintings, etc, makes for an entertaining experience.

Visited April 2013
Helpful?
Thank ann t
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
1 review
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Safehouse”
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 19, 2013

I had a recent visit to The Safehouse in Milwaukee Wisconsin and was less than impressed by the food,service,prices and atmosphere. My party waited for over 30 minutes to place a drink order and another 20 before we could place an appetizer order. We asked several times for drink refills before we actually received them. We had a large party and everyones' food came at different times and some people had to eat alone! Some meals were cold,not warm, but cold. We had to send back some food to be reheated and different food came back ??? The service overall was poor and the mandatory 18 % gratuity only added to the frustration. I do not recommend this resturant and there are several more resturants in the area with better food,better prices and better service.

  • Visited May 2013
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
3 Thank Dave B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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