Tag Archives: Bar

Rock Bottom Brewery before Rockin Out

Before the Peaches show, I grabbed dinner and drinks with friends at Rock Bottom Brewery on Wells and Plankinton. Two of my friends, who had tickets to the Widespread Panic show later that evening, were excited to see that the beer special for the night was “Love Tractor” IPA (named for a song by Panic). Rock Bottom, with over 35 restaurants nationally, takes pride in its beer and it’s rare that you will find any two locations with the same brew menu; they tailor the beers they make and their names to the region the restaurant is located in.

The brewery is big, with brew kettles in the center of the restaurant, surrounded by glass, so patrons can peer in and see where the magic happens. The ceilings are high and décor simple, with lots of wood and an open floor plan. The Grateful Dead, Zeppelin and Phish played over the speakers; I’m not sure if they normally play this type of music or if it was just for the Widespread show, but we sure enjoyed it! I ordered a bourbon veggie burger and a side salad. The burger was topped fried onions and a sweet and tangy bourbon sauce.The salad was huge and had one of my favorite additions, dried cranberries.

Megan likes fish. I really wish I liked fish... :(

Megan likes fish. I really wish I liked fish... 😦

My friend Megan ordered the smoked salmon fish and chips.It was recommended by he waiter and while I’m not a fan of fish, Megan said it was a really tasty twist on a classic. My other friend Devin ordered the chimichurri turkey burger and a Caesar salad. The burger was way bigger than the bun (which is always a good thing) and was topped with a heap of fresh pico…mmmm…. tasty.

Turkey Burger; Thanksgiving birds wish they could be this cool.

We would have hung out longer in our high sided, intimate booth but we had to make sure we got to our respective music venues on time. While I am generally anti-chain, I was pleasantly surprised by Rock Bottom; I am definitely going to have to go back sometime when the weather’s a little warmer and I can enjoy the outdoor seating they have right on the river.

This is my friend Devin. She likes salad and I heart her!


The Stone: Match Tricks and Magic Hat

After downing a delicious dinner made by my friend Megan at her Bay View abode, some friends and I wandered down the street to The Stone bar, just off of KK on Howell Ave. This great, discreet neighborhood joint has everything a Milwaukee drinker could ask for. The jukebox hosts an eclectic selection of tunes to listen too, while you throw a few darts on the cork boards in the back. The beer selection is varied with classic and not so classic brews on tap and in bottles. They also offer trivia, wii bowling, big slices of beef jerky and as many shell on peanuts as you could ever want.

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An over sized coaster I snagged off a table that now adorns my kitchen wall.

While we were there, the bar was running a promo on Magic Hat Brews, with their intoxicating, apricot laced # 9 not so pale ale on special for 4 dollars a pint.  Some Magic Hat promoters were sitting at the table next to us and we started to chat. We definitely choose our seats well that night; each of us got a t shirt and awesome bottle opener along with some mind exercise. One of the guys also showed us this really great brain teaser that I will now share with you…

Take 12 matches (or toothpicks) and set them up like so.

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Now, while only moving ONE match on only the left side of the equation, (leaving the solution/right side alone) make the equation true. You cannot introduce a variable (such as x) and you cannot add or remove matches.

Did you figure it out?  Don’t worry, I’ll post the answer in a few days!

A Short rave about THE RAVE

In 1926 an athletic club/ recreation center was built in downtown Milwaukee sponsored by the Eagles Organization. The Eagles Ballroom and Athletic Club was a pretty hip place to see and be seen in the 20’s thru 50’s and provided patrons not only with a wonderful venue for dancing, but offered them the uses of a pool, boxing ring, bowling alley and much more. The athletic club closed in the 60’s and the space became a men’s shelter until 1980 when it began its reign as one of Milwaukee’s premier music venues.


The Rave (as it is now called) has evolved from the athletic club it once was, to a multi floor, multi venue, music menagerie. The outside of building has remained relatively unchanged with the original intricate stone carvings running along the top of the building and around all the tall recessed windows.  A covered rooftop seating area and balcony provide music lovers (usually smokers and sweaty dancers) a place to escape and revel in the crisp night air.


The biggest venue within the rave is the Eagles Ballroom. The 25,000 square foot dance hall is the one venue that remains closest to its original state. The domed ceiling is gorgeous with intricate gold leaf edging and a mural in the center.  Headliners sell out the ballroom on a regular basis and everyone from the Jonas Brothers to Bob Dylan have played here.  While I have seen a lot of great shows at the Eagles Ballroom, I am no a fan of the acoustic, as they can be a bit echo-ey at times. The room can also be rented for special events and seats around 1,500 people.

The second largest venue (where I have spent many a night) is The Rave Hall. This smaller more modern hall has a more intimate feel and a VIP second floor wrap around balcony complete with its own bar.  The Rave has 3 other venues… the Rave Bar, the Eagles Hall and the Rave Vibe Room. Don’t underestimate these smaller venues; the Rave Bar has GREAT acoustics and acts like Nirvana and Dave Matthews Band have played here.

I like the rave a lot and with a packed schedule of acts almost all the time, your sure to find something for your tastes at the rave.

Clear Lounge + Chocolate Brown = Happy Tummy

We choose to skip the strip club for a more chic atmosphere and found just what we were looking for in Clear Lounge at The Intercontinental Hotel. The bar is sleek and sophisticated in design, with the focal point being the bar made of tiered glass liquor shelves lined up against massive glass windows overlooking Water Street and the Marcus Center. While the drinks aren’t the cheapest, they are pretty tasty. My friend ordered a glass of champagne. I immediately cringed when I saw the bottle; it was bearing the infamous Ed Hardy label. Christian Audigier has his brand name all over everything from lighters to mouse pads; does he really need his own champagne? BUT, don’t judge a book by its cover, cause this stuff tasted gggoooddd.  I ordered the Autumn cocktail, which tasted just like the season. This concoction consisted of tazo chai, ginger beer and vanilla Grey Goose vodka. Delicioso!

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The real shinning star of Clear is their unique Chocolate Bar. A long table stands in the middle of the bar, adorned with an amazing array of chocolate delicacies. From chocolate truffles and bon bons, to cookies and rice crispy treats just waiting to take a dip in the chocolate fountain, this original edible display is a chocolate lovers dream and a dieters nightmare.  Clear also has a nice small plates menu (Served till 11pm) if your craving a savory treat for your palate.

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Clear Lounge

139 E Kilbourn Ave

Milwaukee, WI

(414) 276-8686

Atmosphere: Chic, Trendy

Price: 5-25 bucks

Serving: Drinks, Desert and Small Plates

Miss Katie’s Diner Lives up to its Name.

A week ago, my dad came into town for a little father/daughter date. When trying to decide where to go for lunch, a friend suggested Miss Katie’s Diner, and what a perfect suggestion it was. After years of studying and nights at bars, my mind had completely forgotten about the time my family and I visited Miss Katie’s when I was younger. And I, being a lover of nostalgia, immediately wanted to go back. As a little girl, who was thoroughly obsessed with the 50’s culture and movies like Grease, I thought Miss Katie’s was the coolest thing ever. And even though I have traded in my saddle shoes for a pair of Chuck Taylors, the place is still rockin enough to share its name with me.

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South of the Marquette Campus and just across the street from 794, Miss Katie’s Diner is just on the edge of “downtown.” The restaurant resembles and old diner car and looks deceptively small from the outside. But once inside, you find that there is plenty of room for hungry guests. The décor is simple retro, and while nothing is really “dirty” or “rundown” it sure seems like the tables and booths have been there since the place opened. And from what I saw, I’m guessing the waitresses have been there even longer. Most of the ladies waiting tables were in there 50’s and wore venerable poodle skirts with careworn faces. I don’t want to give you the wrong impression, the service was swift and polite, but gusto was lacking a bit. I almost think this made me like Miss Katie’s even more; I would rather have an aloof waitress over an overtly perky one.

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While a boy of about 5 fiddled with the quarter a song jukebox, my dad and I ordered. I got the Bar-B-Q Chicken Breast Luncheon with Pitch’s (they own Miss Katie’s and have another restaurant in Milwaukee) famous BBQ sauce. It came with green beans (topped with bacon and butter), a roll and side salad. I got the green beans instead of fries cause I was trying to “healthy,” but it’s a diner and I guess I should have known better. My dad ordered the BBQ pork sandwich (which is their most popular) with a side of creamy slaw. Both dishes were pretty tasty and I really appreciated that my chicken had been cooked over an open flame, allowing all those cancer causing carcinogens I love so much to develop.

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Diner food at its best!

While we didn’t see Bill Clinton, Rachel Ray, John Kerry or former German chancellor Helmut Kohl (who have all eaten at Miss Katie’s) while we were there, my dad and I enjoyed ourselves. I might sneak back sometime for a game of shuffle board and a brew when no one is looking.fall 09 172

Hipster Hideouts Chapter 2: The Palm Tavern

Across the street from Lee’s is another great drinking establishment, The Palm Tavern. The Palm is related to The Sugar Maple, and the bars share some similar characteristics. Firstly, they both promote breathing and lung health; smoking is not allowed. They also both offer an extensive selection of beer; The Palm has 25 world brews on tap, as well as over 200 bottled beers to choose from. The two joints also have the same style of antique cash register that add to the ambiance of the bars.

One of the best things, I think, about The Palm is what it doesn’t have. There’s no flashy sign out front marking the entrance. So, if you’re trying out The Palm for the first time, look for the place that doesn’t look like a bar, cause that IS the bar. They also don’t have much to distract you from the ever so important task of drinking; there are no pool tables, dart boards, a jukebox etc. Words of wisdom: when making a trek to The Palm, bring some good company. If the conversation quickly takes a dive south, you’ll have nothing to do to try and revive the situation but order another drink , which I guess isn’t such a bad thing after all. I’m sure a few of you started cringing when I noted that there was no jukebox at The Palm. It’s ok to be shocked, I was too when I first found out. But have no fear my dears, owner Bruno Johnson plays some really good soul/jazz tunes from the 1930’s-70’s that seem to somehow make the beer go down smoother. Johnson has owned the legendary Chicago jazz label Okka Disk for over nine years and plays the kinds of tunes he likes, hoping his costumers will like them too.

The bar itself is small and cozy, occupying the first floor of an old house. The lighting is dim and the colors, dark and rich. While anyone would feel comfortable grabbing a drink at the palm, I’ve mostly seen the seats at the bar filled by younger (20-30) trendsetters or those still sharply dressed in the day’s business attire. I will be honest, the drinks here are pricey, which makes The Palm an ideal place for an after dinner cocktail, or a nightcap before you hit the hay.

The Palm Tavern

2989 S Kinnickinnic Ave
Milwaukee, WI 53207-2518

(414) 744-0393

Price: 5-25 bucks

Serving: Drinks, Jazz and Dark Corners

Hipster Hideouts Chapter 1: Lee’s Luxury Lounge

Around the time the blue collar workers of Bay View finish up their last can of Blatz and head home, a different crowd of drinkers flood into Lee’s Luxury Lounge on KK.  Lee’s has been serving the citizens of Bay View for a while now and the building shows “experience”. I don’t know what this says about me, but my favorite bars, like The Plaza in Madison, all tend to look like a friend’s parent’s basement.  When you walk into Lee’s, the first thing you’ll notice is how huge the place is; the second is the stellar wood paneling (just a shade or two lighter than the stuff that lined the basement walls of my childhood home). The whole bar seems stuck in a time warp with its psychedelic light fixtures and a groovy curved wrap around bar.  The “basement” theme continues towards the back of the bar with foosball tables, dart boards, and pool tables littering the joint.

An above ground basement bar

An above ground basement bar

When my accomplice and I  graced Lee’s with our presence, we had the pleasure of meeting several Milwaukeeans: a middle aged carpenter and a 20 something guy. The only thing tighter than this young gent’s wallet was his pants. Between dodging pick up lines from the carpenter and wondering how our hiptser acquaintance still had circulation in his legs, my friend and I enjoyed a couple of ice cold cans of PBR.  Were it a Wednesday, we could have enjoyed (minus the smoke) “The South Side Special,” which includes a can of PBR, a shot of Jack and a single Marlboro Light; all for 5 dollars.

The Blue Ribbon

It's like a pot-o-gold in a can

This smoky hideout is a great place to meet up with a big group of friends, drink some cheap brews or tinis, eat a basket or two of complimentrary pretzels and spot one or two Bukowksi reciting cool kids. Get there and check it out or be square.

Lee’s Luxury Lounge

2988 S. Kinnickinnic Ave

Bay View, WI  53207

(414) 481-2080

Atmosphere: Retro/Casual

Serving: Drinks, Pretzels and Nostalgia