By Joey Taylor
What’s more fun than a glass of beer?
TWO glasses of beer.
On a trip to New York, one of the founders of the Milwaukee Brat House (1013 Old World Third Street) came across a bar that served its beer in pairs of mugs, rather than single glasses. How is it possible that we didn’t think of this in Brew City? Milwaukee may not have invented the paired beer, but the Brat House is doing its best to steal a great idea and make it our own.
Here’s a new drinking custom I think Milwaukee can get behind: for what you pay for a pint of beer anywhere else, the Brat House gives you two hearty — if slightly smaller — mugs, altogether about the equivalent of a big Hacker-Pschorr glass. Weekend specials add a third mug of Schlitz or PBR at no extra cost. While you’re not getting THAT much more beer, the extra glasses piling up in front of you make it seem like you’re getting some serious drinking done, even after just one round.
And the Milwaukee Brat House definitely inspires serious drinking: dark English Pub-style hardwood lining the walls, genial Brit bartenders, and a lean beer-drinker’s selection of taps including Spaten, Franziskaner, Weltenberger, and Lakefront IPA. The menu hits a sweet spot between your standard bar fare and a more upscale gastropub, with more than a little help from Old World Third neighbors Usinger’s. Your local Brat, Polish, Italian, or Dog comes on a delectable pretzel bun, piled high with sauerkraut and served with a side of fries, onion rings, baked beans, or potato salad. If fine Wisconsin sausage isn’t your thing … Well, I can’t fix what’s wrong with you, but the Brat House has a nice selection of sandwiches and salads I’ve never tried on the other side of the menu. The only Wisconsin staple that didn’t quite pass muster: slightly soggy, blandish cheese curds.
As Milwaukee Euro bars go, the Brat House definitely feels more like home — a casual corner hangout, rather than a hipster enclave like Nomad or Cafe Hollander. I enjoyed most of the World Cup with locals who wanted beautiful game ambiance without the East Side hassle, relaxing with their German pours and leaping to their feet at every “GOOOOOAAAL!” A silly little part of me gets that excited every time I order another beer and get a pair instead. That second beer isn’t free, really, but in this economy, even the illusion of 2-for-1 is welcome.
About the Author
My name is Joey Tayler, I’m 29 and have been living and writing in Milwaukee for 10 years. I’ve written about music and food for The Onion and served as the Waukesha Freeman’s film critic. Currently work for a start-up entertainment company based locally and write about music for a new site, rocksposure.com.
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