Whew! Summer is here in all her sticky, sweaty glory. I guess we should have expected an extreme temperature swing seeing as our winter and spring were delightfully warmer than normal. But, for us patio hounds, this weather is seriously lacking motivating qualities. Sure, I can bear it for a few minutes, but when your Summer Shandy goes from ice cold to lukewarm in minutes, it's safe to say air conditioned air is the way to go.
The recently opened and latterly refurbished patio at Jackson’s Blue Ribbon Pub (11302 W. Bluemound Rd., Wauwatosa) was oddly quiet on the eve of the summer holiday. The patio itself is based on a fresh slab of concrete that huddles the corner of Bluemound and North 113th Street, but as cars whizzed by on their way home from liquor stores, only a lone man fearlessly battled he heat and humidity. I quickly shuffled to and through the door.
Ahh. Re-circulated cool air is the most amazing thing. The interior of Jackson’s is clean, freshly painted, decorated in the patriotic PBR red white and blue and extensive, much like the patio. The main bar, though smaller in stature than most, provides plenty of belly-up points and angles to the many televisions.
The lovely Natalie greeted me upon my arrival as I ordered a Lakefront IPA – there’s nothing that can compare to a locally brewed pale ale on a hot summer day inside an air conditioned bar watching those poor folks at the Brewers game on TV suffering for their home team.
The other folks around me were very social and drinking lightly as they talked about the heat, of course, and what plans they had coming up for the holiday: parades, beers, family, grilling, water, etc. As I kept one ear on their conversation, one eye on the Brewers’ near collapse, my remaining eye surveyed the beer taps. No major surprises available from the kegs, but a good local variety (Spotted Cow, Tyrena, Summer Shandy, Lakefront IPA, PBR) and some other gems (Guinness, Blue Moon, Stella Artois).
I unfortunately tootled in just after happy hour ended (daily 3-6 p.m. and all day Sunday) and missed out on the two-for-one deal on all taps, rails and wines. I was actually residing in that weird time between specials. Beginning at 7 p.m., it’s $2 tall cans of PBR, Schlitz, Old Milwaukee and High Life.
By this time during my stay, I had to get to work and take some pictures. Unfortunately that required me to venture outside. The lone soldier who I had seen on my way in was still holding his own on the patio and he even acquired a friend! I took some pics, walked around searching for an artsy shot (didn’t have the power to find one) and hurriedly returned to my post and my cold drink.
Back at the bar, the Brewers were causing agony amongst those watching the game, more tables had filled up and I was studying the food menu. Natalie delightedly shared that all the food is made to order with handmade/homemade ingredients, like the hand-cheesed and battered jalapeño poppers. I had ordered the poppers and they are for real! These aren’t your store-bought snacks; these are for the lovers of both cheese and spice. Two high fives!
Knowing a pub takes the time to thoughtfully create and construct delicious and uncommon menu items makes a return visit for a happy hour or evening out much more plausible. I would enjoy the Thursday “You’re killing me Smalls” where double tall cocktails are the price of single smalls. This deal does exclude premium brands but, c’mon, a deal is a deal. For the bombers in the group, Saturday offers $3 Jager and cherry bombs while Sunday provides bottomless mimosas during brunch.
Although the heat of summer is beginning with a wave of days that seem insufferable, we can find respite in the comforts of Jackson’s Blue Ribbon Pub. Whether you are strong enough to battle the sun on their large new patio, or if you just want to grab a drink and the shuttle to the Brewers game, Jackson’s will serve you, and thank you for stopping by and sharing your time.