In case you missed the first few posts of the Summer Neighborhood Series, here's the scoop: My brand new handsome She Devil bike and I will be spending the rest of the summer exploring every nook and cranny of Milwaukee’s neighborhoods to share local secrets with you in hopes of inspiring you to explore, too.
Bay View has no shortage of kitsch or coffee shops. Where else in this city can you find a haberdashery, the Tip Top Atomic Shop and the Shape up Shoppe?
If you head south on Water Street long enough, you’ll notice it morphs into Kinnickinnic Ave. (or colloquially KK) near Beecher Street, marking your arrival in Bay View. KK is the main vein of the neighborhood, saturated with salons, bars and a miscellany of storefronts that make you feel like you’ve fallen back to the ‘70s.
The Bay View Neighborhood Association (BVNA) is a great resource and responsible for organizing great events in partnership with the Milwaukee County Parks like Chill on the Hill and the new Film on the Hill. Paul Cebar drew the largest weekly turn out to date with more than 4,000 people in attendance at Humboldt Park.
“We have such a great mix of people Bay View – young families who are new to the neighborhood as well as the old generation who remember the rich history of our working-class neighborhood,” says Kate Fowdy, Bay View’s biggest cheerleader and president of the neighborhood association. “There is also a great mix of artists, professionals and everything in between who live, work and spend their time and hard earned money making Bay View the best it can be.”
Like Kate will tell you, there are so many reasons why this has become one of Milwaukee’s favorite up-and-coming neighborhoods for young professionals, families and entertainment seekers. Here are just a few of my favorites:
Best Park – It’s a tie - South Shore Park right at the lakefront hosts an amazing Farmers Market and the wacky carnival Follies in July, but Humboldt Park, just west of KK, is home to Global Union, Chill on the Hill, a fishing pond, a playground and tennis courts.
Best Date Spot – Visit Pastiche Bistro and Wine Bar for a classically decadent French meal or Odd Duck to share small plates of locally sourced and creative morsels. The ambiance is cozy and comfortable at both places. If you are just having a cocktail, there is no better place than At Random. Step back in time when Three’s Company was all the rage and plastic and vinyl was the fabric of choice for furniture and décor. If you share a Tiki Love Bowl, there is no telling what might happen.
Best Festival – Bay View Bash (11 a.m.-10 p.m.) and Global Union (12-6 p.m.) fall on the same day every year - September 21, in this case - but since the times overlap there is no problem hitting up both. Bay View Bash is an all-volunteer street festival and Alverno Presents’ Global Union features bands from Pakistan, Argentina, Haiti, Quebec and Algeria, with some surprise guests from the 414. I am personally most excited for the international hip hop collective Nomadic Massive that will cap off the afternoon. Best of all, both events are free.
Best Shopping – What are you looking for? A rare record? Hit up Acme Records. Something crafty and locally-made? Sparrow Collective is your source. Need a new or vintage look? ReThreads is your affordable answer.
Best Place for Live Music – Club Girabaldi, Cactus Club - Not the nicest or biggest venues, but they continue to get great live acts – both local and national.
Best Coffee Shop – Seriously, don’t make me choose! Anodyne, Hi-Fi, Stone Creek, Sven’s, or Colectivo (formerly Alterra, in case you haven’t heard yet). It’s ridiculous how many good, local coffee roasters and shops are in Bay View.
Best Bar – Burnhearts has a full menu of specialty cocktails and pretty much every time I check their Facebook page they are tapping another keg of hard-to-find craft beer. And did I mention they host a huge block party in the summer and Mitten Fest in the winter?
Do you have a favorite spot in Bay View? Use the comments feature to let me and other readers know.
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