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“Entertaining atmostphere, okay food”
4 of 5 bubbles Review of Safe House

Safe House
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Ranked #18 of 1,504 Restaurants in Milwaukee
Price range: $11 - $30
Cuisines: Bar, Pub, American
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Kids, Families with children, Bar scene, Large groups, Special occasions
Dining options: Dinner, Lunch, Drinks, 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.”
Depere, WI
Level Contributor
49 reviews
29 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
“Entertaining atmostphere, okay food”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 3, 2013

Getting in to the restaurant was interesting. I knew the password, but some of my friends who didn't had to perform the silly request of the "doorkeepers" before they were let in. I like that you can see others at the door trying to get in on the TV screens when you are sitting in the bar. We were told by the hostess that it would be at least an hour wait, so we ordered appetizers at the bar. The appetizers came fairly quickly and were pretty good. We actually didn't get to finish our appetizers before they called our name to sit down for dinner, so we had to take the rest of them with us to the table. The Safe House is really more than just a restaurant, it's some good entertainment too. After we ordered our food, we walked around the restaurant just checking out all the interesting things like secret doors, two-way mirrors, and all kinds of spy decorations. I ordered a burger and fries and the food was just mediocre. The price was higher than I expected, but I supposed you are paying for the experience more than the quality of the food. I'm not sure if this place would be as exciting if I went back a second time.

  • Visited April 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Elise0319
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
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English first
Madison
Level Contributor
50 reviews
33 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
“Most excitement was getting in”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 31, 2013

I rated this a 3 only because other than the thrill of getting in and really cool decor and secret booths and doors. Other than that I was not too impressed, the cheese curds we had were awesome but also over priced. I probably won't go back only because once you seen it, who really cares if you see it again. The staff was good though

  • Visited October 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank BadgerMan1970
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Crystal Lake, Illinois, USA
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 restaurant reviews
“Fun for whole family”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 30, 2013 credit card Amex Card Member Review

We went this time without the kids, and still had a great time. The waitress was engaging and attentive.

Visited August 2013
Helpful?
Thank Angela S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States
1 review
“Great food, Great Atmosphere, Great Staff!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 29, 2013 credit card Amex Card Member Review

I came here for a lunch meeting. I had heard of Safe House, but as someone new to Milwaukee, I had never had the pleasure of visiting. I'll not spoil the surprise for you, but it's fun getting in, the staff is seriously amazing, and the food did not disappoint.

Visited September 2013
Helpful?
Thank Hillary A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Green Bay, Wisconsin
Level Contributor
81 reviews
62 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
“Fun place to stop when in downtown Milwaukee”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 28, 2013

I hadn't been to this bar in probably 25-30 years and I was amazed at how little has changed! The exit was different and the spy phone booth was missing its old pay phone, of course. But everything else was exactly as I remembered it. I knew the password, but my boyfriend did not, so he had to dance a hula in a grass skirt and lei to gain admittance! LOL

  • Visited October 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank sswriter97
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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