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“Go for the experience”
Review of Safe House

Safe House
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Ranked #15 of 1,519 Restaurants in Milwaukee
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $11 - $30
Cuisines: American
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Bar scene, Families with children
Dining options: Lunch, Late Night, Dinner, Reservations
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.”
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Level 3 Contributor
16 reviews
4 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“Go for the experience”
Reviewed March 5, 2014

It is a fun experience, if you have never been. You walk into a room and must figure out how to open the door to get into the restaurant. Although the food is pretty bad and expensive.

  • Visited April 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Food
1 Thank Hannah P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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1,064 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Norwegian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Level 4 Contributor
30 reviews
25 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
“Blind date, best date of my life”
Reviewed March 4, 2014

The atmosphere of the safe house was perfect for this shy guy to meet the woman of his dreams on a blind date. The alibi phone booth and other odd nooks and crannies provided plenty of conversation to get this date going. Great drinks and good food along with the super fun people made it so easy to keep the conversation rolling throughout the evening. We go back quite frequently. We have to as we are celebrating our 30th wedding anniversary.

  • Visited February 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
1 Thank J C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 4 Contributor
33 reviews
19 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
“Unique Experience”
Reviewed March 4, 2014

This local spot is more of a tourist or one time experience. It is very fun to go thru and discover all the unique items to be seen and experienced here. The not knowing the "password" and having to do something dumb to get in the door, the poster and button in ladies restroom, the UFO food delivery system, the unique, keep the glass drink specials, the phone booth exit. It is about the experience, not the food. Be prepared to wait for service and food! Use the time to look around the maze of rooms and see what you can discover. On busier nights I would recommend having a drink, looking around and going for food somewhere else. That being said, this place is like nowhere else and not to be missed under the right conditions (like no crowds).

  • Visited November 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank Dsjrsl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 4 Contributor
29 reviews
18 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Fun atmosphere, good food.”
Reviewed March 4, 2014

We've been here a few times. It's a special treat for the kids. They really enjoy the spy theme and my husband used to come here frequently when he was in college, so he knows where everything is. The food is good, nothing too fancy, but I've never been disappointed.

  • Visited January 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank 65_cupcake
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Level 6 Contributor
105 reviews
38 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 69 helpful votes
“It's Not About the Food, It's About the Experience”
Reviewed March 4, 2014

As a Milwaukeean, this is a place I always love to take visitors. It is a one of kind location that is fun to explore with both adults and kids - if you can find it ;) Once you find the entrance, you either have to know the password or know how to open the secret door to get in. If you don't, expect to perform a silly stunt to earn your way in. Once you are in, be sure to watch the TVs by the bar to chuckle at others who can't find their way in. If you have never been here before ask a bartender for a guide so you dont miss any of the fun features. There are surprises and fun around every corner if you know where to look. Be sure to check out the sexy Burt Reynolds poster in the ladies room, the shifting wall, the trick bar stool, the specialty drinks shaken (not stirred) through a tube in the ceiling, and don't forget to bring a quarter to get access to the exit. If you don't know the password, don't bother asking someone that does - we will never tell :) I have only had the food once and it was pretty standard but you don't come to the Safe House for the food!

Visited March 2014
Thank lilperks
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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