We pulled up in the loading zone and popped out to examine the enlarged menu outside Casablanca (728 E. Brady St.). Pleased with the selection, I parked legally, and we were the first customers of the evening and the only customers for a while. But it was 4 p.m. on a Monday. Our server offered us a hookah ($15) when we sat down, but we decided to wait until after dinner.
So, we took our leftovers to a table next to the bar and each ordered another glass of wine. We were pleased with our choices of pinot noir and malbec. “This wine is perfect,” my companion continually repeated. Our server then suggested a dark grape or watermelon for the tobacco flavor. We opted for the grape and soaked in the Arabic string music with our surroundings. Casablanca recently remodeled the restaurant with new booths and mosaic accents on the red walls. The bar area is dark and sleek with red sheer curtains and a black bar. The silver Casablanca signage hangs beautifully above the liquor shelves.
A couple next to us shared a hookah with their dinner, and two friends met at the bar over a cup of tea and a hummus plate. The televisions played muted Arabic music videos and outside the draped windows, Brady Street traffic was constant but nearly silent from our candlelit table.
Our server kept us filled up with water, and my companion inquired about the effects of the smoking ban on the restaurant. “It’s going to be a big hit if we loose the hookah,” he says. The restaurant is currently working with an attorney to draft a bill that would hopefully make Casablanca exempt from the law. Just as cigar bars are exempt because of their significance to American culture, Casablanca hopes to be exempt in honor of the Middle Eastern culture, he says. The hookah is a part of the whole dining experience, and Casablanca will build an upstairs patio or separate room if it must. Currently, the restaurant does not allow any cigarette or cigar smoking, only the sweet smells of the flavored tobacco.
Before we left, we found out about a few specials. Tuesday nights offer half-price bottles of wine. Try $5 martinis and $10 hookahs on Thursdays. And don’t miss the belly dancing on Friday nights.
Benno’s Genuine Bar & Grill
7413 W. Greenfield Ave.
$1 off all taps, and three sliders for $3.
223 N. Water St.
I’m excited about this one. From 9 p.m.-close, take advantage of $1 slice night.
3007 S. Kinnickinnic Ave.
Blackbird offers one of my new favorite happy hour specials: Free tacos from Hector’s, 4-8 p.m., or until supplies last. Also, $4 margaritas and $2 Pacifico and Corona.
Polish Falcon’s Nest 725
801 E. Clarke St.
Open Bowl on the oldest lanes in town. And it only costs $3.25 a game plus $1 for shoes.
1905 North Ave.
Hey ladies! Free drinks until midnight. Everyone else pays $3 for Stoli drinks. Not bad. No cover.
Hi Hat Lounge & Garage
1701 N. Arlington Pl.
Ladies Night: DJs Kid Cut Up and Steve Marxx. Two complimentary drinks for the ladies.
Kenadee’s Ultra Pub
718 N. Milwaukee St.
Bitch Pleeze Fridays: Ladies drink free mixers every Friday from 10 p.m.-midnight. Kenny Perez provides the music. No cover. No dress code.
720 N. Milwaukee St.
Doors open at 10 p.m. with music by Kenny Perez and $100 bottles of Belvedere vodka.
Brocach Irish Pub and Restaurant
1850 N. Water St.
From 3:30 to 6 p.m., try happy hour: half off all top-shelf Irish and scotch whiskies. 20 oz. pint of Guinness and shot of Powers for $6.25. $5 wines by the glass.
2265 S. Howell Ave.
Join the Lulu crew and watch “Cash Cab” from 4-5 p.m. Enjoy $1 off all rail drinks, tap beer and wine.
Bryant’s Cocktail Lounge
1579 S. 9th St.
Old-Fashioned Cocktail Hour from 5-9 p.m. Half-price Depression-era cocktails, including the signature Old-Fashioned.