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Milwaukee’s Bay View neighborhood was once regarded as a working class region that, if you ask certain longtime residents, was a little rough around the edges. Lately though, time and the recognition of the area’s appeal has seen young families, professional types and swanky businesses coat the edges of Kinnickinnic Avenue. Today, Bay View residents are treated to tasty craft cocktails, high-end salons, niche grocers, as well as tremendous cafes and restaurants. Still, a few holdovers of old Bay View remain, preserving the un-homogenized, no-frills feel once emblematic of the neighborhood. Amid the gentrification and gastropubs, bars like At Random,…

Anthony’s on Jefferson

Every day since moving back to Milwaukee last March I’ve passed the brick building on Jefferson in the Third Ward that displayed signs for establishments of yore, Fanatics and Hilo Martini Lounge. I had to do a double take one day last month when I noticed a sign appeared declaring, “Anthony’s.” I hadn’t heard anything about a new bar at 185 N. Jefferson Street, but after employing my internet stalking skills normally reserved for men, I learned Anthony’s on Jefferson opened in February and aims to be a “warm and relaxing” music lounge experience for Milwaukeeans. My friend Cat and…

Foundation Tiki Bar

Images courtesy of Foundation Tiki Bar. When thinking of the islands, a landlocked section of Milwaukee’s Riverwest neighborhood is pretty far down the list of places that springs to mind. While an understated bar three blocks from the banks of the Milwaukee River isn’t exactly akin to the sands of Hawaii, Foundation Tiki Bar (2718 N. Bremen St.) manages to echo the relaxed feel and fruity beverage mainstays of a beach side cantina in a city famous for its frigid temperatures and love of beer. Foundation has been a Riverwest fixture and among the first tiki bars in town long…

The Backyard

Images courtesy of The Backyard. While Mother Nature evidently hasn’t gotten the memo yet, winter is, in fact, over. Spring is weeks old, and with the recent return of Brewers baseball, the joys of summer aren’t far behind. As barbecuing, lawn games and outdoor alcohol consumption return to their rightful place of sweet acceptability, Milwaukeeans are taking to the Miller Park lot, festival grounds, their own lawns and makeshift drinking establishment patios to imbibe under the sun. In that spirit, Bay View bar The Backyard (2155 S. Kinnickinnic Ave.), born just over 18 months ago, is right on time. Repurposing…

Riverwest Filling Station

Images courtesy of the Riverwest Filling Station.  It was a rainy Sunday as I was drove my male companion to Riverwest to check out the recently opened Riverwest Filling Station (701 E. Keefe Ave.). My friend was only in Milwaukee for the weekend, so I felt pressure to keep him entertained. I figured, what guy wouldn’t enjoy a growler bar? After finding street parking right next to the bar, we entered the stand-alone building, walked past a wall of coat hooks and found two seats at the semi-filled bar. In typical 20-something male fashion, within two seconds of sitting down…

The Tequila Cocktail Battle at INdustri

Daniel Dufek by Cody Magee. On Monday evening INdustri Café (524 S 2nd St.) played host to five of Milwaukee’s most creative bartenders in a tequila cocktail competition sponsored by Don Julio as well as the United States Bartenders Guild. In the end, though, it came down to sibling rivalry. “This competition is 40% Dufek,” said Tom Dufek, of Madison’s Merchant . “I’d hate to lose to my brother, but there’s no one else here I’d rather lose to,” he said. His brother Daniel, general manager of the Hi Hat Lounge and Garage (1601 N. Arlington St.) echoed those sentiments. Daniel is the younger…

Fink’s

Image courtesy of Fink’s.  Thanks in large part to a Humboldt Avenue bridge construction project that crawled to completion in June 2010, a handful of restaurants and bars were adversely impacted when one of the primary roads connecting the Brady Street district to Riverwest was cut off. By the time the bridge re-opened, both Bayou and The Good Life were closed.  Sprawling restaurant and craft beer bastion Stubby’s Pub & Grub quickly took over Bayou’s spot. Not long after, hip taco and tequila purveyor Bel Air Cantina occupied The Good Life’s plot. To give potential Cantina customers a place to…

Big Daddy’s Brew & ‘Que

Images via Kaitlin Corner. Perhaps I’m just lazy, but I rarely find myself out of the downtown area Monday through Friday. However, when my friend Mandi offered to pick me up from work to attend happy hour, I found my way to Big Daddy’s Brew & ‘Que at Bayshore Town Center (5900 N. Bayshore Drive). The BBQ joint, which touts its bad-ass barbecue and homegrown craft brews, opened in February in the space formerly occupied by Ovation. Mandi and I arrived shortly before 6 p.m. and were greeted by two women in scantily clad western wear and a male manager…

The Salty Dog

The Milwaukee-adjacent village of Cudahy isn’t exactly renowned for its bar scene. The small, no frills, industrial locale is better known for its lunch meat than its libations, for its forging more than its fun hangouts. Sure, a handful of drinking establishments dot the landscape — many of which open at 6 a.m. to accommodate third shift workers — but few offer the amenities of its burly neighbor to the north. While the opening of The Salty Dog (3479 E. Plankinton Ave.) last August hasn’t exactly changed the region’s reputation, it has brought a unique and carefree corner pub to…

The Parlor

If there was ever a bar I’ve visited that should have its own reality show, it would be The Parlor (1517 S. 2nd St.), which opened in July in the former Bomb Shelter. The Walker’s Point establishment has all the ingredients for an awesome show: a great environment, a unique cast of characters and an underdog story. I learned all of this during a recent visit one Friday evening after work with my friend Christy. From the outside The Parlor looks like any neighborhood bar in Milwaukee with a modest sign on the corner of the building and a few illuminated…