Pabst-teatern
Pabst-teatern

Pabst-teatern

144 E. Wells St., Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 53202

The basics

Over 100 years ago, Milwaukee had the largest population of Germans outside of Germany—German beer halls, German newspapers, German schools, and German-inspired architecture were all common. The Pabst Theater is a remnant of this era, when “Brew City” was earning its name and folks like Frederick Pabst were still growing their fortunes.

Today, the Pabst remains as opulent as ever: You won’t miss the two-ton Austrian crystal chandelier over the auditorium, the Italian Carrera marble staircase, and the gold-leafed proscenium arch. The 1,300-seat venue puts on roughly 100 shows annually, from comedians and musicians to writers.

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Things to know before you go

  • All tickets include the option of discounted parking at nearby garages.

  • The venue has several ADA-accessible seating areas.

  • Only small bags—roughly the size of a piece of paper—are allowed inside the theatre.

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How to get there

If you have tickets, you’ll have the option of including discounted parking with your purchase. Park in the Mac Structure at 777 N. Milwaukee St. or the BMO Tower Garage at 771 N. Broadway St., and make sure your pass is displayed in your window. Otherwise, the Milwaukee Streetcar can get you within a few blocks, or you can nab a taxi or rideshare.

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When to get there

Most visitors will arrive at the Pabst Theater with tickets to that night’s performance. If that’s you, come at least 30 minutes in advance to appreciate the structure’s elegant details. Doors are typically locked outside showtimes—without tickets, you’ll have to settle for a glance inside during a show or admire the theatre from its exterior.

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Sprechen sie Deutsch?

In the mid-1800s, Milwaukee was known as “Deutsche Athen,” or German Athens. The town was so German the Pabst Theatre ran exclusively German-language productions for nearly 20 years. Eventually, that fell out of vogue, forcing the venue to run English programming. Today, vestiges of Germany—in beer halls, fish fries, and German schools—hang on in Brew City.

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