When Brady Street was a less-traveled thoroughfare, I can recall a handful of evenings standing upstairs at Hi-Hat Lounge (1709 N. Arlington) fighting the urge to use my vantage point to rain pretzels down upon the patrons seated below. My only motivation for doing this was envy — of those who had found one of the few coveted seats near the bar or along the walls. I’m sure many of us recall trying to find a good place to stand as cocktail waitresses and servers whipped by with their sweet potato fries or tasty beverage. But there was to be an end to our suffering. In 2001, the Garage sprang up next door to allow us latecomers a place to sit and gain easier access to martinis and microbrews. “We took a storage space and made it something special,” says manager Mikee Edler. Dancing, which was unheard of in Hi-Hat proper due to space limitations, was now encouraged in its annex. Tuesdays with DJ Anacron (Anacron Allen) caught on like fire, making it easily one of the busiest and longest-running SIN (service industry) nights in the city. With a crowd that’s not your typical East Side gentry, things are a little more on the hip-hop side but with a soulful edge. Yes, the days of table envy are over. Long live the Garage!
James Amato’s hand is in the house.
If you’ve listened to electronic dance music in the last 10 years in Milwaukee, it most likely came from, was promoted by or in some other way was connected to James Amato. He’s the Kevin Bacon of house music. In fact, you’d have a tough time finding something relating to Milwaukee’s club scene that he hasn’t had a hand in. The boy from Brown Deer has come a long way since being a nerdy party kid. He’s grown into one of the best DJs and promoters in town. As the talent manager and booking agent for Mantra Lounge’s Friday Nights (Kamasutra), he caught the attention of MTV and URB magazine.
Sadly, our city is losing this purveyor of beats to Illinois. Amato was recently asked to be the Smart Bar/Metro’s music director, no small honor as the venue is one of the core spots for Chicago’s internationally contentious house music scenes.