New boat taxi service in Milwaukee will offer rides to and from riverfront bars

Service will launch on Saturday

Water Taxi MKE
Water Taxi MKE

A new water taxi service, set to launch on Saturday, will give locals and visitors a new way to hop the bars along the Milwaukee River in downtown Milwaukee.

Water Taxi MKE will offer on-demand boat rides, for up to six people, to any downtown destination, including bars, restaurants, public docks and apartments, situated on the river. 

The service is the brainchild of Redmond Tuttle, who founded the Milwaukee Paddle Tavern early last year. In January, he launched his most recent venture Brew Hop MKE, which buses customers to various craft breweries throughout the city.

Similar to the Paddle Tavern’s river cruise and pub craw concept– which encourages patrons to bring their own drinks and provide their own music– Water Taxi MKE also encourages a party-like atmosphere on board. But instead of offering an organized round-trip cruise, the Water Taxi’s travel route will depend on where customers are, and where they want to go.

“Compared to Uber, it’s just a better view and perspective of the city,” Tuttle said. “It may not be as fast as Uber, but it will get you to where you want to go. There’s nothing like this on the river right now– there are pub crawls and river cruises, but not anything that will take you from place to place.”

Customers can order a ride by calling or texting the Water Taxi, which will meet them at their location. Tickets are $5 per person for short rides and $10 for longer rides, and can be purchased on the boat or on Water Taxi MKE’s website.

Water Taxi MKE

The company during its first month is offering one boat for on-demand rides only, but plans for additional boats and an organized cruise option are in the works, Tuttle said.

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Maredithe has covered retail, restaurants, entertainment and tourism since 2018. Her duties as associate editor include copy editing, page proofing and managing work flow. Meyer earned a degree in journalism from Marquette University and still enjoys attending men’s basketball games to cheer on the Golden Eagles. Also in her free time, Meyer coaches high school field hockey and loves trying out new restaurants in Milwaukee.

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