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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Saturday, Nov. 22, 2014

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In Bars & Clubs Commentary

Rules on smoking are far from the only nightlife standard separating Milwaukee and the Big City.

On the town in Milwaukee: Stacking up against NYC


In only eight months, Milwaukee is destined to go smoke-free. While plenty of contentious discussion still surrounds the issue, Milwaukee is by no means at the forefront of this movement; we've had plenty of time to hem and haw over what should be done.

New York City, which went smoke-free in 2002, made the leap and adjusted successfully. The culture in the city that never sleeps promotes late night adventure with 4 a.m. bar times and open-late eateries on every corner.

Last weekend, on a trip out east, I had a preview of the smoke-free world. In the end, all I can say is that it was pretty nice.

But, smoking rules are far from the only difference between Brew City and the big city.

There are, of course, differences in bar time. In Milwaukee, last call is around 1:30 or 2 a.m.; in New York, it turns into a late one when you can stay up sipping cocktails and mingling until 4 or 4:30 a.m.

The pros and cons abound. In New York, there is so much to try and so far to wander, you need those extra hours simply to make a dent in the hundreds of places popping open every season. But, day in and day out, a 4:30 a.m. bedtime equals very early mornings even if you have the luxury of sleeping until 10 a.m.

As for late-night snacking, we've got a decent share of after hours joints offering pizza, gyros and burritos. But, it's no match for the eclectic international tour you can get in New York at any hour of the day. Without even trying, you'll run across diners, ethnic restaurants, tapas bars and hidden eateries on every block of Midtown, Hell's Kitchen and Greenwich Village.

And there's undoubtedly a difference in cocktail creation. New York's artistic skill spills over into the art of bartending as you find cocktail menus teaming with specialty liquors and never-before-heard of combinations. But let's not shortchange Milwaukee.

Places like Bryant's, Roots Cellar, Hinterland's Lounge, ZenDen and the Hi-Hat each boast bartenders dedicated to expanding upon Wisconsin's usual mixers.

But, the one place we've hands down got the NYC beat is on price. You won't find a $4 cocktail in Manhattan and you'll certainly be hard pressed to find $2 cans of Pabst.

Talkbacks

mstodd | Nov. 23, 2009 at 12:06 p.m. (report)

I agree with laugh. Seriously, what was the point of all that article? Neat, you went to NYC last week, go tell a friend. We all know how lame Milwaukee is compared to NYC. This is a website about Milwaukee, right? I wish I knew how this internet 'journalism' worked and the reasons behind writing such things.

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angelamb825 | Nov. 9, 2009 at 1:12 p.m. (report)

Zenden is closed http://www.zendenlounge.com/

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alba | Nov. 7, 2009 at 2:41 p.m. (report)

When I was younger I thought Milwaukee's early bar closing time was terrible, but now I'm fine with it. I've learned that nothing good ever happens after 2:00am.

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MKEabouttown | Nov. 7, 2009 at 10:01 a.m. (report)

Remind me again why Milwaukee had to wait a year to go smoke free after they passed a bill banning smoking??? I recently moved back here from NYC and yes you can find a drink for $4 in the city. There's a place in the East Village that serves $4 drinks until midnight. Also there's a bar that serves a free personal pizza with every drink you buy, hand made not frozen. So the prices aren't so bad.

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i_laugh_at_you | Nov. 7, 2009 at 9:01 a.m. (report)

This article is more than a joke. It is an insult to anyone who has traveled or lived in one of the world's great cities - London, Tokyo, Paris, New York, Mexico City, etc. Milwaukeeans need to stop making comparisons to other cities and just live their lives in peace. We will NEVER, EVER be on the same level as New York, and that is just a fact. What a stupid article.

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