The Lost Whale (2151 S. Kinnickinnic Ave., the old site of Boone & Crockett) brings a new concept to Milwaukee – the green bar. To help support sustainability, the business uses compostable straws, recycled-fiber paper products and what might otherwise be wasted food to make ingredients for drinks. The patio features a separate bar and food truck fare (a menu of skewered shrimp, chicken, pork and more) by Iron Grate BBQ Co.
Owners/long-time mixologists Tripper Duval (most recently with Badger Liquor) and Daniel Beres (former beverage director for Stand Eat Drink Hospitality, which operates Hotel Madrid) make up a libation dream team. Previous collaborations built a friendship between the two, and when the opportunity to open Lost Whale arose, Duval says he knew who to approach as a business partner.
The bar’s name comes from an April Fool’s Day joke about whale sightings in Lake Michigan. After Duval saw the joke in a published article, he was drawn to the comments section, where, he says, “half of the people were like, ‘Hahaha this is so funny’ and the other half were like, ‘Holy crap, there’s whales in Lake Michigan?’ I couldn’t stop laughing. I just loved that story so the name popped into my head.”
But using that name for the bar has a deeper meaning, highlighting the importance of sustainability, he says. “‘Lost Whale’ is kind of rooted in individuality, being yourself and doing what is right for you. When Dan and I were putting the pieces of the puzzle together, we were both immediately on top of, ‘How can we be better and different for our community and for the people that are going to come in here?’”
Their cocktail menu includes familiar drinks like the Wisco Old Fashioned (Torres 10-year brandy, Door County cherry, Brew City lemon-lime soda and Lost Whale Bitters Blend) and Harvey Wallbanger (Wheatley Vodka, orange, Galliano and Bittercube cherry bark vanilla bitters), $9 each. On the most unusual side, there’s Oops Not Berry’s (shown in photo), with Buffalo Trace bourbon, Sazerac 6-year rye, Crunch Berry-infused coconut milk, lemon, Jolly Good Fruit Punch, Lazzaroni amaretto and Blue Whales candies ($10).
As for the bar’s interior, Duval says they decided to “do the opposite of what anyone thinks we’re going to do.” Unlike the speakeasy vibe or “super dark vibe” popular in bars, the partners decided on a lighter, “more nautical” color and vibe.
While going to great lengths to save the environment can be more costly, Duval says they plan to keep sustainability practices a priority. Besides biodegradable straws, they us compost bins behind the bar, trash cans with compostable bags and recycled fiber toiletries in the restroom. Says Duval, “We’ll spend a little more for that stuff, so we can make a bigger impact later on.”
Hours: Mon-Fri 4 p.m.-2 a.m.; Sat 4 p.m.-2:30 a.m.; Sat noon-2:30 a.m.; Sun noon-2 a.m.