After a weekend of tailgating in South Bend, Ind., I decided to take a break from the Miller and Busch Lite and opted for a more sophisticated night out in Milwaukee. So my friend Eric and I chose to test out what I’ve heard termed the city’s “gem in the sky.”
Blu, located on the 23rd floor of the Pfister Hotel (424 E. Wisconsin Ave.), is the perfect spot to relax and enjoy a cocktail. It has a breathtaking view of downtown, which we viewed from a plush loveseat. The large windows that occupy the entire outer wall are definitely the main attraction of this classy sky-bar.
The clientele at Blu varies greatly. I saw a wedding party celebrating with cigars and wine, business partners discussing whatever over a few drinks, couples whispering over the romantic candles and martinis, tuxedo-clad men escorting elegantly dressed women after a show downtown and a few people in jeans and T-shirts sipping beers.
Live entertainment is offered on Fridays and Saturdays. The music was soft and added to the overall cozy and elegant ambiance of the bar. The band could easily be heard in the surprisingly small venue, which occupies half of the 23rd floor. Each table also had a bowl of cashews that, unlike at other bars, I was not afraid to munch on.
While Blu offers an extensive wine list comprised of red, white and dessert choices, in addition to their beer and cocktail menus, their real specialty is their distinctive martinis.
Eric stuck to the classic Old Fashioned ($7) while I tried the Fall Harvest Martini ($12) after a strong recommendation. It had chai and caramel liquors shaken and poured at our table into my cinnamon sugar rimmed martini glass. I love chai tea, but it had a mysterious aftertaste of bananas that I was not particularly fond of.
Other martinis to try: Blu Martini is their signature drink and made with Bombay Sapphire Gin, dry vermouth and topped with an olive or lemon twist. Apple Martini is a blend of Skyy Vodka, Apple Pucker, Midori and Southern Comfort served with a slice of a Granny Smith apple. Godiva Martini is comprised of equal parts of white and dark Godiva chocolate liquor and Absolut Vodka served with a cherry. Key Lime Martini is made with key lime cream liquor, Midori and Citrus Vodka mixed with sweet and sour poured into a cinnamon sugar rimmed glass. Espresso Martini includes a shot of espresso, Stolichnaya Vanil and Godiva cappuccino liquor.
Don’t let your fear of heights frighten you away from this lush perch in Milwaukee’s skyline. At any rate, the strong martinis will help you get over those fears very quickly.