Ruby Tap wine bar in Wauwatosa

The Ruby Tap

California may be Wine Country—and possess our oh-so-wrongfully stolen Dairy State title—but Wisconsin is Beer Country through and through. Thanks to two sisters and a husband who fell in love with the Napa Valley and its vino, Wauwatosa is now home to The Ruby Tap (1341 N. Wauwatosa Ave.), whose claim to fame is its self-service concept that allows patrons to try as many as 32 bottles of wine. Goodness knows I like to dabble in wine every now and again, but Milwaukee makes it so easy to drink good craft beer after good craft beer that I all but…

Sabbatic

You may ask what Milwaukee and cargo shorts have in common. Cargo shorts (aside from being the bane of the fashion world’s existence) are brimming with pockets, each possessing the ability to hold something none of the others do. Milwaukee may be one entity, but the pockets that are a part of it—all of its many neighborhoods—each add to the city in their own unique way. But we all know pants with many pockets are sure to have a hidden pocket or two. Or perhaps you’ve put something amazing or valuable in a pocket, only to find it later and…

The Down and Over Pub

Live music-loving venue The Up and Under Pub welcomed a new bar to the family but a few short months ago, allowing patrons of the Brady Street locale to have an excuse for a jaunt down to Bay View. Setting up shop in what was formerly the Bay View Brew Haus, The Down and Over Pub (2535 S. Kinnickinnic Ave.) might be easily overlooked, were it not for the large red sign featuring a black guitar head beneath the white type and treble clef. The giant, light-colored brick building, once a Masonic temple, boasts no exterior adornments. Upon jiggling the…

Estabrook Park Beer Garden

Suburban Shorewood may not normally be a mecca for Milwaukee nightlife, but this village now has something that no neighboring suburb does — its very own beer garden. Brought to you by Hans Weissgerber III of downtown’s Old German Beer Hall, the Estabrook Park beer garden is a welcome oasis from the city streets, where one can be transported into a time and place far from the Midwest. Winding your way back through the trees, you’ll pass sporting fields, playgrounds and a dog park, wondering all the while how — and where — a beer garden could be settled amidst…

Recovering from Summerfest

Hotel Foster photo from thehotelfoster.com While many festivals come and go throughout the summer in Milwaukee, not one makes quite the impression like Summerfest. The anticipation builds all year round, with updates on stage line-ups and Marcus Amphitheater headliners trickling into our email inboxes. Come late June, the city is bursting at the seams with people from all over the states coming not only to see the performers, but also to experience all the madness and excitement that swarms around the fairgrounds. Yesterday marked the last day of this year’s Summerfest, and whether you loved all of the festival’s hullabaloo and…

Zen on Seven

Photo courtesy of Hotel Metro.  Built in a time when the Art Deco reigned supreme—and maintained in that ‘30s fashion when remodeled in 1996—Hotel Metro is the cool kid on the block, as far as downtown Milwaukee hotels are concerned. Long before old-is-new and vintage-is-modern were societal trends, Hotel Metro tapped into that design aesthetic, from the Metro Cab, an old London taxi that serves as a complimentary guest vehicle, to the distinctive stylistic choices of both the exterior and interior of the building. Much to my surprise, the hotel is also home to Zen on Seven: a tropical oasis…

Perching on Patios

There’s no better indication of how much Wisconsinites loves summer than when the first mildly warm day after winter has passed. In that murky in-between period before we’ve even truly reached spring, much less summer, that first day brings swarms of people donning shorts and flip flops, jumping at the opportunity to shed layers and expose our  skin to the sun once more. It’s at this time that the area restaurants, cafés and bars begin to drag their patio furniture out each day, anticipating our growing desire to be outside as much as possible. Now as the days seem to…

The Hamilton

I never saw myself as a “beer” person, but if I’m being honest, I am. Maybe it’s nature, growing up in Wisconsin and all, or maybe it’s hanging out with countless beer aficionados – but more often than not, beer is my drink of choice. (For the record, I’m not talking about anything produced by “The Big Three”.) But yet I find myself drawn to craft cocktails, perhaps thanks to the craft cocktail movement that has slowly but surely establishing a presence in the local bar scene —and not just in Milwaukee. Thanks to some of my favorite Alterra customers,…

España Tapas House

If you haven’t lived for any amount of time in another country, you may not understand how quickly that new place can become like a second home. Spain does that for me. Not only did I visit twice in high school, but I also studied abroad in Sevilla (Seville) in the south of Spain for nine weeks, and I yearn for Seville every single day.  When I first saw a neon sign touting the Spanish national flag on the corner of W. Wells St. and N. Plankinton Ave., I knew I was going to have to spend some time at…

Best Place Tavern

Tucked into the corner of W. Juneau Ave. and N. 9th St. sits a discreetly marked beer hall next to the old Pabst Brewery gift shop and it goes by the name Best Place Tavern. If ever there was a bar made for history lovers, this is most certainly the place. The Pabst Brewing Company, established in 1844 by the German immigrant Jacob Best Sr., put Milwaukee on the map in the beer world, becoming the largest brewer from the late 1800s until 1946. After the brewery in Milwaukee shut down in 1996, Jim Haertel, the current “Steward/Historic Tour Guide,”…