The term intermezzo classically refers to a musical intermission between operatic movements. But Don Hoffman, owner of Walker’s Point’s Intermezzo Wine Martini Lounge (703 S. Second St.), almost had to endure a finale when the Common Council made his plans for the bar difficult, to say the least. Luckily for all of us, he was […]
The term intermezzo classically refers to a musical intermission between operatic movements. But Don Hoffman, owner of Walker’s Point’s Intermezzo Wine Martini Lounge (703 S. Second St.), almost had to endure a finale when the Common Council made his plans for the bar difficult, to say the least. Luckily for all of us, he was able to overcome the bureaucratic obstacles, and Intermezzo now offers all of us an intermission between our own operatic movements.
“People always tell me that I can’t do something or that it’s impossible, but then I make it happen.” says Hoffman, beaming with the quiet satisfaction of victory. With Intermezzo’s catch phrase in place, “One hundred wines, one hundred beers, one hundred reasons to visit,” you could spend several weekends over the course of the year sampling from its list of libations.
Being one of the few people in Milwaukee who doesn’t like beer, it was peculiar to find myself enthralled by Hansa, a beer from Bergen, Norway. I could not argue with the brew’s taste or the policy behind all of Intermezzo’s spirits — the lounge only serves alcohol from states, nations or countries that recognize and support same-sex marriages and civil unions.
Muted orange walls are sparsely covered with paintings by local artists, brass-colored ductwork hangs overhead and a pine bar — formerly the non-kinetic end of a bowling alley — supports your elbows and your cocktail. There’s only seating for 54, but this is a trend in larger cities to become a bit more specialized. “We are a meeting place for the community,” says Hoffman. There are no specialty themed nights, which allows for a more organic flow of events and clientele. A waiting piano may tempt you to display those formal lessons that you’ve wasted up until now, and if you aren’t brave enough for that, DJs will supply the crowd with sounds. Overall, Intermezzo would be the perfect beginning, middle or ending for any night.
In a world where house music rules, one woman attempts to move the crowd with a bit of a different tune. Erika Bock , 25, is a DJ and shameless self-promoter. Originally from Whitewater, she packed her bags and moved to the “little big city” in 1999. “I am a sort of DJ,” she says. “I’m a DJ in the most classic sense of the word. I don’t do all the trickery, but I don’t just slap in a CD like some guy at a wedding either. My music depends on where I’m playing.” Bok revels in the chance to foist her musical will on the audience, which can go from the now obscure Oasis and the Happy Mondays all the way to Skinny Puppy and punky elektro-clash. Her weekly residency at Rm. 434 on Wednesday nights and Club Anything has whet her appetite for transforming more venues. The era of the female DJ in Milwaukee is here — get used to it, fellas